The curtain on the month-long football carnival is set to come down at the historical Maracana Stadium in Brazil with a grand finale between South American giants Argentina and European powerhouse Germany on July 13.
Germany start as firm favourites after their 7-1 hammering of the hosts in the semifinal, but they do not expect a cakewalk against a resurgent Argentina, who defeated the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties to make the final.
It was a sheer coincidence that both teams' last World Cup triumphs came against each other. Argentina lifted the coveted the title beating Germany 3-2 in 1986, while Germany won the Cup defeating Argentina 1-0 in 1990.
So the title clash offers both the team an opportunity to end long title draught. Argentina enjoy a statistical edge over their European rivals, winning nine out of the total 15 meetings so far. However, the German community in Oman believes that Philipp Lahm and company have made a tall claim for the title even before kick-off, thanks to their mesmerising show against Brazil in the semifinal.
'It is our turn'
Franz Josef Dicken, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Muscat, feels that German players are at the peak of their form and no one can stop them from claiming the title. "We had lost to Argentina in the 1986 final, but this time we will reclaim title. It is our turn to bring home the glory. Germany put up splendid shows from the beginning of the competition. We scored plenty of goals, and we played like a team. On the contrary, Argentina depended mostly on the individual brilliance of a couple of World-renowned players," he said.
The diplomat, who followed all matches in the World Cup with his colleagues, felt every player in the German squad contributed to the success of the team. "Germany appeared as a well-knit team, and every player contributed to its success."
Franz Josef Dicken said all his colleagues have been sharing their joy with family and friends back in home country. "Unfortunately it is not possible to fly back home to watch the final. But we are all looking forward to enjoy the match in beautiful Oman," he said.
'We are not infallible'
Though her team lost to Argentina in the semifinal on Thursday, Barbara Joziasse, Ambassador of The Netherlands to Oman, felt that the Dutch were not infallible as the World saw them in the semifinal. "They were active, worked as a team and didn't shy away from difficult situations. They were strategically and tactically – as every one saw during the match against Costa Rica - very competent, well organised. But I felt really sad, as they succumbed in a crucial match on penalties."
An avid football lover who doesn't miss any of The Netherlands matches, she feels that Robin van Persie and company have a great chance to grab the third place by overcoming hosts Brazil in the losers' final on Saturday. "The Dutch will be honoured to play against hosts Brazil. I am quite sure that it will be fun to watch the match as both teams like virtuosity as a main ingredient in their style of playing football. Unlike diplomacy, where we tend to look for win-win solutions, football is a zero sum game when it comes to results. However, when it comes to the true nature of the sport, it brings people together."
The ambassador revealed the Dutch community in Oman enjoyed the 2014 edition of the World Cup. "We watched many matches together, enjoying notoriously delicious Dutch bitterballs, some snacks and Orange decoration. Moreover, the Dutch fans had funny and outrageous kinds of Orange coloured outfits. Watching the World Cup matches in Muscat has been a true pleasure. Plenty of Omanis love the Dutch team. A couple of weeks ago when we watched one of the matches at a public place, we saw plenty of people cheering the Dutch wearing Oranje outfits."
And the ambassador wished good luck to the finalists Argentina and Germany. "I wish them good luck and good legs."