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World Cup Finals 2014
Match of the Day Live: Final
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Twenty-five days after Brazil’s nervously thrilling overture in Sao Paulo, the 2014 World Cup arrives at the Estadio de Maracana in Rio de Janeiro for its curtain call. Brazil’s heat was meant to encourage slow, risk-averse football. Instead, the sun – and occasional tropical torrent – has beaten down on a nonstop party of attacking spirit, one of the best tournaments yet. England’s wilting aside, this tournament has exuded a warmth that will have Russia’s 2018 organisers shivering.
Ahead of the final act, individual performances deserve a mention: Colombia’s James Rodriguez showed that South American football, even in the era of YouTube montages, can still wrong-foot the rest of the world; Tim Howard’s heroics could finally have the USA hooked on soccer for good; the Flying Dutchman Van Persie ghosted in for the first of many World Cup shocks.
Perhaps the 22-year-old, bleach-topped Neymar typifies what has made this World Cup one of the best ever. In a vastly complicated country, he and his fellow showmen have made their every move look so simple.
Germany v Argentina (Kick-off 8.00pm). Coverage of the final at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, where the successors to 2010 champions Spain are crowned. This 20th staging of the tournament has been largely lauded as a great success, with a glut of goals, attacking football and some of the leading players in the world bringing their club form to the international stage, though it will perhaps best be remembered for the host nation's capitulation against a rampant Germany in the opening semi-final. Joachim Low's men raced into a 5-0 lead after just 29 minutes and the match ended 7-1, despite Brazil remarkably having not lost a competitive home fixture in 39 years prior to that match. That result arguably leaves the Germans as favourites to lift the trophy for the first time since 1990, but they will know they cannot rest on their laurels against a side they have faced twice in the final before. In the event of extra-time and penalties, subsequent programmes are subject to change.
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