Some random observations after the final game:
Germany 1-0 Argentina (aet): The Magician vs. The Machine. For Argentina the game plan was pretty simple: defend deep and make quick breaks. The Albiceleste conceded the middle third of the pitch to the Germans, then closed down the ball when they got to the final third. Argentina was finding some success attacking down Germany’s left flank; it was much easier taking on Benedikt Höwedes and Mesut Oezil than it was taking on Phillip Lahm and Thomas Mueller on the opposite flank. Argentina, particularly The Magician, was anything but magical, missing easy conversions in the box at least four times. The telling stat of the game is the ten shots Argentina took – but none on target! Also telling, as throughout the entire tournament, the lack of meaningful contributions from Argentina’s strikers Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain; if either of them were able to finish just a few of their chances it would be Argentina holding up that trophy. The two best defenses in the tournament met in this final, and they both played like it. Argentina gave up way too much possession, and against a team like Germany, which is the best at short passing and long, organized attacking buildup, it eventually was going to make a difference. German coach Joachim Loew was the best throughout tournament with his substituions, and this game was no different. It’s instructive to note that the two substitutes (André Schürrle, who himself had to come on early for an injured Cristoph Kramer, and Mario Goetze) were the ones to score the goal that got Germany the World Cup (tired Argentine legs clearly contributed to it, also). A great and uncharacteristic defensive performance from Argentina throughout the tournament, but eventually not enough against an efficient and world-class organized attack from the Germans. Even without Marco Reus and and injured Sami Khedira in the final, the best team over 31 days won the World Cup.