Friday July 11th, 2014

Sunday's World Cup Final in Rio de Janeiro pits high-powered Germany against defensively-sound Argentina in the biggest sporting event of the year.

Germany has established itself as the favorite to win the World Cup after ousting former tournament favorite Brazil with a 7-1 blowout.

Germany is a +120 favorite to win the game without the need for extra time. Argentina is going off at +240 to win the game and +230 to send it into extra time.

The two-way line for regulation play has Germany as a -170 favorite over Argentina at +140.

Brazil's dreams turned to nightmares on Tuesday as Germany lashed the host country with five goals in the first half hour of a stunning demolition. It looked as if the German side was toying with Brazil, passing and shooting the ball at will as Brazilian defenders just stood around in shock.

Germany's performance was the harshest in semifinal history, reducing fans and players to tears and crushing Brazil’s previous worst World Cup defeat (3-0 to France in 1998).

Planet Futbol
World Cup Final 101: All you need to know about Germany - Argentina

Five Germans scored in the rout including the team's leading goal scorer, Thomas Muller, and Miroslav Klose, who became the highest scorer in World Cup history with his goal. Muller remains a threat to win the Golden Boot if he can score Sunday, but he is the second betting choice behind Colombia’s James Rodriguez.

What makes Germany so difficult to defend is how many different ways it can attack you; with so many dangerous players on the pitch and such fluid ball movement, defenders can't afford to hone in on any one player.

Will Argentina's defense be able to solve the Germany attack? Injuries to Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria have forced Argentina to take a more defensive approach to its games in this year's World Cup, and a defense that was once considered a potential weak spot of this team has suddenly become its strength.

Argentina hasn't allowed a goal since the 47th minute of its last group stage game against Nigeria, putting up three straight clean sheets in the knockout stage.

Lionel Messi, who was co-favorite to be the game’s first goal scorer, has had his production dip as the team has focused more on its defense in recent games. Messi scored four goals in three group stage games but hasn't found the back of the net since.

Going up against a Germany team that isn't likely to be shut down completely, Messi could need to pull off some of his trademark magic to lead his team to an upset.

Germany looked the part of an unbeatable machine in the semifinals, but part of what led to that explosion of goals was Brazil's willingness to try to out-attack Germany instead of focusing on defending. That won't be the case in the World Cup final, where Argentina knows that it must continue to be extremely strong in the defensive zone to have a shot.

This figures to be an excellent match between two very deserving finalists. Germany's form on offense and Argentina's form on defense set the tone for a very interesting battle.

Germany vs. Argentina World Cup final prediction: 2-0 Germany

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.