Argentina vs Germany: Can Lionel Messi Mesmerise As Rio Get Ready for World Cup 2014 Final?

A victory for Argentina would give their captain Messi his first World Cup and elevate the four-time world footballer of the year among the game's greats such as fellow Argentine Diego Maradona and Brazil's Pele.

Updated: July 13, 2014 21:59 IST
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Argentina and Germany face each other for the coveted FIFA World Cup 2014 trophy


Rio de Jeneiro: A global fever built up on Sunday ahead of the World Cup final between Lionel Messi's Argentina and a formidable German team seeking a fourth title. (Germany vs Argentina, World Cup final Updates)

As about 100,000 Argentines poured into Rio de Janeiro, a record global television audience is expected for the finale of the 20th tournament and the result will be a landmark whichever country wins. (Shakira to dazzle in closing ceremony)

The game starts in the historic Maracana Stadium at 12.30 pm IST (1900 GMT) in front of 73,500 fans but under an unprecedented international spotlight. (Messi One Step Away from Undisputed Greatness)

With national excitement mounting after their country's 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semi-final, up to 200,000 German fans were to pack a fan zone around the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin. Millions more were to huddle in front of screens in beer gardens, bars, sports clubs and homes across the country.

On top of huge numbers heading for Brazil, tens of thousands of Argentines were expected to pack the Plaza San Martin in Buenos Aires, which was drenched by heavy rain on Saturday. (Messi ready for 'most important

' match)

The football fiesta has turned into a global party with World Cup events organized in virtually every country. One Bangladesh farmer made a 3.5km (2.2 mile) long German flag which is surrounding a stadium in the western Bangladesh town of Magura.

Germany start as favourites to win the trophy and become the first European side to win a World Cup in the Americas.

A victory for Argentina would give their captain Messi his first World Cup and elevate the four-time world footballer of the year among the game's greats such as fellow Argentine Diego Maradona and Brazil's Pele.

"Tomorrow, we will play the most important match of our lives for our country," Messi wrote in a message on his official Facebook page late Saturday.

"My dreams and my hopes are being fulfilled due to the hard work and sacrifice of a team that has given everything from match one.

"We knew it was possible. Our people, the Argentines, they have carried us here. But the dream is not over yet. Tomorrow we want to win, and we are ready!"

Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella said the South Americans will have to produce a perfect game to overcome the talented Germans.

"Germany are always very strong physically and tactically. For that reason they are the team that has won most titles along with Brazil and Italy.

"They use the ball very well and play the ball between the lines. They also use the space behind full-backs very well, especially with (Philipp) Lahm. We have to play a perfect match."

Germany coach Joachim Loew believes his team is ready to claim a place in history as they attempt to end a run of four major tournaments where they have reached either the semi-finals or the final only to fall short.

"Regardless of what has happened in the past, it is a matter of winning now and we know we can write history, because Latin American sides have been able to dominate on home soil," said Loew.

Brazilian authorities are preparing their biggest ever security operation for the final with about 25,800 police, soldiers and private security guards on duty in the city and at the Maracana.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, whose country will host the 2018 World Cup finals, will join Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff for the game.

In a bid to avoid violence, bars around the Maracana stadium will be ordered to stop selling alcohol two hours before Sunday's match. Police blockades around the stadium were in place on Saturday.

Brazil is basking in the glow of one of the best World Cups in history despite the humiliation of its national side, who were beaten again in the third place playoff 3-0 by Netherlands.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva issued a new apology to the nation after the defeat through a penalty by Robin van Persie and goals by Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Brazil fans were devastated by the second big home defeat in five days. "It is a moment of great sadness, because we tried everything and didn't get the outcome we dreamed of. It is difficult to go home and say to your family: 'Sorry, I didn't manage it'," declared Silva.

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he was leaving his fate up to the Brazilian federation.

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