First of all, I want to say that I’m sorry for not doing anything at all for the last 36 years (rough estimate). I really try to do more, but it’s not as easy as it looks, especially for me.
Second of all, I want to apologize for apologizing at the beginning of almost every one of these. It’s annoying, so I’ll give the stock explanation right now, and hope that you remember this for later: I’m not a professional journalist. I’m an amateur writer (not even really a “sports writer,” just a “writer”) and soccer fan, who likes to analyze soccer and put the best of his analysis on his blog. Sometimes I pretend I’m a journalist, intentionally or more likely unintentionally, but I am not a journalist. I’m supplemental. I’m here to give an extra opinion after you’ve already read/watched/heard the opinions of people who get paid to do this.
Also, this is all free of charge to everyone. You aren’t paying any money to see this (you never will have to), and I’m not receiving any money to make this (as of yet). If you’ve came in with expectations of a long article a day, that’s (switch to Jürgen Klinsmann voice) unrealistic. I’m not at that next level. It’s a working progress.
(Switch back to American voice.)
IT’S THE WORLD CUP FINAL!!! So I kind of have to do something. Despite the combination of my laziness and the fact that I have a violent case of writer’s block, the World Cup Final is a special occasion. Not only will I do an “As It Happened” for this, but I’ll do one for the Seattle-Portland game later today (10 eastern, on ESPN2 nationally here in the US). Oh, and shortly I’m going to do a good bit of “World Cup Review” stuff, plus I will begin my weekly MLS article, and my European previews won’t be long as well, plus I will have some special features as well that will be good to see. That’s a lot of stuff.
Enough talk. Let’s do this!
The Argentine national anthem may or may not have words. Earlier they made a list of the 4 countries that have national anthems without lyrics, and Argentina wasn’t on the list. The point is, they never sing the words. The Argentine fans just say “oooo” as if about to engage in Mexican profanity, except they’re doing it to the music, and they’re about to engage in a World Cup final. This might just be me, but it just seems like a scenario to slip away into a daydream. I wonder what Messi is daydreaming about.
1’ – The game has begun.
4’ – Free kick for Germany. Half the German population gathers around the free kick. They do their prepared routine, and it doesn’t really work out. Argentina send a shot narrowly wide on the counter-attack.
7’ – Germany seem to clearly be the better team, but that means little in this sport. Especially when the weaker team has Messi.
9’ – Argentina seem to be fine letting Germany pass around, and then pressuring in the final third, and then going on the counter-attack, as they did just then. Messi made Hummels look as slow as me, but Germany defend as a team; Schweinsteiger with the clearance.
16’ – The Argentines have identified that Germany’s left side is their weakness. Their left-midfielder is Mesut Özil, who isn’t quite fond of defending, while their left-back is Benedikt Höwedes, who is out of position; he’s really a center-back.
18’ – Cristoph Kramer, who came on as an injury replacement himself for Sami Khedira, just went down with a head injury. They will obviously disregard things like “player safety” and bring him back on, because FIFA.
21’ – That is a horrific defensive header by Toni Kroos, Higuaín ALL ALONE!!! WHAT A MISS!!!!! He was one-on-one with the goalkeeper! This proves that even the best miss sometimes, people-who-have-overly-criticized-Chris-Wondolowski.
29’ – Yellow card for Bastian Schweinsteiger. He took down Lavezzi. This means that he’ll have to be careful, which is worrying considering that as a defensive midfielder he patrols a well-trafficked area.
30’ – Messi, to Lavezzi out wide in space, TO HIGUAÍN, GOOOAAALLL!!! NO! Gonzalo Higuaín makes the perfect finish, but he’s unnecessarily offside! Still scoreless in Rio.
31’ – Kramer is coming off with that head injury. They should’ve never let him back on.
33’ – Höwedes yellow. That might should’ve been a red!
36’ – Messi with the ball, and he tries to thread it through for Higuaín in space, but Schweinsteiger with the clearance!
37’ – Schürrle with the shot, incredible save from Sergio Romero!
40’ – Messi goes forward and Argentina almost score, but Jerome Boateng clears the ball away. Germany just stuffs the attack.
43’ – Nifty move by Özil to keep the ball and set up Toni Kroos, but Kroos sends the shot right to Romero.
45+2’ – Corner by Kroos, Höwedes GETS IT, G–NO?!? How does he miss that? It goes off the crossbar. He’ll be thinking about that at half-time.
45+2’ – End of the first half. That was a quality half. Both teams looked fairly close to scoring on multiple occasions. I have less idea of who will win, and I had no idea beforehand. I’m not sure how that’s possible; which is fitting, because this World Cup has been about impossible-type things.
46’ – The second half has begun! Argentina have added Sergio Aguero for Lavezzi. Aguero is great when healthy, although is he healthy? Either way, it’s an attacking sub and if it works it will open up space for Messi, and it will add another player near the goal for rebounds and crosses and such.
47’ – Messi with the ball! Shoots! Just wide!
50’ – Aguero heads it down for Higuaín, but the Napoli man couldn’t make good enough contact on the volley.
51’ – Jerome Boateng has done well. Huh, he’s in the World Cup final, doing great, while his brother Kevin-Prince, who chose to play for Ghana instead of Germany, got exiled by a team that finished last in their group.
56’ – Neuer comes in to punch the ball, and Higuaín, who comes to get the ball as well, gets knocked down in the process. I don’t think it’s a foul by either, but it’s certainly not a foul by Higuaín. They call it a foul by Higuaín. Now, Higuaín looks hurt. Oh, it’s another head injury. And of course they let him play on, because FIFA.
61’ – Someone is about to win the World Cup.
62’ – Ian Darke: “If you’ve been enjoying the World Cup, you’ll like MLS” unless you’re a shameless Eurosnob. MLS on DSE. If you’re American, read it, or I will eliminate your US citizenship.
62’ – Back to the game, a promising attack for Germany becomes nothing due to a somewhat poor choice of pass by Andre Schürrle.
65’ – I think that’s what you call a “forward’s tackle.” Yellow to Aguero.
70’ – Not sure what Höwedes was trying to do with that cross. Benedikt Höwedes: the German Space Program.
72’ – I’m sitting on my sofa, with my laptop literally on my lap. It almost fell down. That means someone is going to score in the next 5 minutes.
75’ – Nifty build-up play by Argentina and Messi. Messi couldn’t get the shot on target.
78’ – Rodrigo Palacio comes on for Higuaín. Apparently I was wrong about the “scoring in the next 5 minutes” thing.
80’ – Benedikt Höwedes can’t get the shot off in the box. He’s read the script; he knows that him scoring the winner wouldn’t be as good of a story. (This will look really stupid if Höwedes ends up scoring the winner…yeah, I think I’m willing to take that risk.)
86’ – Fernando Gago comes on for Perez. This is Argentina’s final sub.
88’ – Here comes Mario Götze for Miroslav Klose. The 36-year-old Klose has scored more goals in the World Cup than anyone else. This most likely marks the end of one of the best World Cup careers ever. Germany has one substitution left. Götze should be able to mix it up a bit as Die Mannschaft goes for the winner.
90’ – The board announces 3 minutes of added time. Either we go to extra time, or someone becomes a legend.
90+3’ – End of full time! 0-0! We go to extra time! 30 more minutes of the World Cup final! Will someone get the winner? Will we go to…penalties?
91’ – Well, that’s amazing how extra time started. Andre Schürrle almost scored! Nice save by Romero. They go on the counter, but Jerome Boateng stops the attack.
97’ – Palacio receives the ball with his chest, and attempts to chip it over Neuer, but it’s off target.
104’ – Javier Mascherano is indeed doing well in this World Cup.
105’ – Intermission. 15 minutes to make history. Or more, if it goes to…penalties.
106’ – Second period of extra time has started.
112’ – Aguero collides with Schweinsteiger, and Schweinsteiger begins to bleed. He’s back on now.
113’ – Schürrle, the cross, chest control by Mario Götze, SHOT, GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!!! MARIO GÖTZE, THE 22-YEAR-OLD SUBSTITUTE FROM BAYERN MUNICH, WITH THE BIGGEST GOAL OF HIS LIFE!!!!
116’ – That was a horrific pass by Biglia to Messi. It didn’t even stay in play. You can’t blame Argentina’s failure to win on Messi. He’s by far Argentina’s best midfielder and best forward, and he certainly can’t do both against Germany’s defense. Especially when his teammates are mostly terrible. Messi hasn’t been at Maradona-level this tournament, but his attacking teammates have been mediocre at best the entire tournament.
120+2’ – Messi taken down by Schweinsteiger. Free kick for Argentina. Messi to take it, it seems. He takes it, and misses. Not even Maradona can be expected to make a free kick from that range. Remember my picture earlier that depicted Messi’s teammates as 6-year-olds? That is so accurate.
120+4’ – The Germans want them to blow the whistle…THEY’VE BLOWN THE WHISTLE! GERMANY HAVE WON THE 2014 WORLD CUP!!!
More to come in the following days, here on Daniel’s Soccer Emporium.