Before a ball was kicked in the 2014 World Cup, quite a few people would have had Germany and Argentina down as potential tournament winners. Germany have a plethora of amazing creative midfielders and a world-class goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer to rely on, while Argentina’s exciting attack is spearheaded by the goal machine that is Lionel Messi.
Both got to the final in very different ways. Germany blasted their way past hapless hosts Brazil in a 7-1 victory, while to overcome the Netherlands, Alejandro Sabella’s Argentine side needed penalties.
Nevertheless, both sides are evenly-matched, which should make for an intriguing final on Sunday, but what were the chances of these two teams meeting pre-tournament?
Backed by history
As former winners of the tournament, both teams have excellent pedigree in the tournament. They also both managed to sail through qualifying, banging in the goals against dangerous opposition.
Given their history and the quality of players that both teams have to choose from, it wasn’t too surprising that they would eventually cross paths in the business end of the World Cup.
Prediction isn’t something that’s easy to do for any major football tournament, but using a head-to-head tool and going on how each team would fare against one another going on the draw, the outcome revealed that Germany would meet Argentina in the World Cup Final.
In the final itself, it’s hard to gauge who has the better chance of winning.
How it worked
The tool used to predict the outcome used historical data from World Cup qualifying and previous tournaments including goals scored and conceded per game.
It also had previous meetings between each of the 32 teams in major tournaments to help come up with an eventual predicted score. Interestingly, the tool said that Brazil would lose out to Germany in the semis, but not 7-1!
This scientific approach didn’t get everything right, but by picking the two correct finalists, it shows that going through the stats can be fruitful.
As for the earlier rounds, it had Ghana losing to the Argentines on the head-to-head record on penalty shootouts after a 1-1 score after extra time.
It also had Ecuador and Cote d’Ivoire reaching the quarter-finals, something neither side actually did.
Football can be hard to second-guess at the best of times, but usually, the cream rises to the top, as it has done in Brazil this year.