Former World Cup winners Germany and Argentina are the two countries that will fight for glory in Sunday's World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, Germany looking for a fourth success while Argentina are hoping to match them with a third crown.
History shows that this is the third time the pair will meet in Brazil, both sides having also beaten each other on their way to the last World Cup title they won. West Germany were crowned champions after defeating the Argentines 1-0 in 1990, while the 1986 final saw Argentina lift the trophy after edging West Germany in Mexico during a 3-2 thriller.
Although a 4-0 humbling in 2010 in South Africa by Germany and a penalty shoot-out win in 2006 beg to differ, the overall head-to-head statistics say that Argentina have the advantage with nine wins to Germany's six, both having put a total of 28 goals past each other over the course of those contests.
The betting odds for both sides is equally as unpredictable, Bet365 placing Argentina with odds of 5/2 for success after a very steady route to the final. The group stages saw Argentina never look in full flow or display their usual South American flamboyance, and it took their star man Lionel Messi to make the difference in their opening two games thanks to a superb solo effort against Bosnia and a curling strike in added-time to seal victory against Iran.
A fighting 3-2 win over Nigeria was also aided by a Messi brace as Argentina topped the group, but it took them until the 118th minute of their second round clash against Switzerland to progress as Angel di Maria sent them into the quarter-finals. Gonzalo Higuain finally showed himself with a fine strike against Belgium to help Argentina win their quarter-final 1-0, and they then kept calmest in a tense penalty shoot-out against the Netherlands to make it to Sunday's final.
Germany have looked menacing from the outset, and their massive enhanced odds 6/1 with Betfair (new customers only) to win the World Cup look mightily generous when you consider their attacking and technical play in the tournament so far. Their intentions were made clear as Thomas Muller scored a hat-trick during the side's 4-0 rout of fancied Portugal in the group stages, followed by a 2-2 draw with Ghana and a decisive Muller strike to see them through to the second round in a 1-0 victory over the USA.
Germany needed extra time against a resurgent Algeria to win 2-1 in the last-16 clash, before a Mats Hummels goal helped them beat France 1-0 in the quarter-finals. Their semi-final match against Brazil was set to be a classic, but the 7-1 scoreline Germany inflicted on the host nation instead made history and stunned the hapless Brazilians. Miroslav Klose became the World Cup's top goalscorer of all time ahead of Brazil's Ronaldo during the match, and Germany will enter in a feisty frame of mind as their frustrated reaction to letting Brazil have a 90th-minute consolation goal showed quite visibly.
Muller is now two goals away from claiming back-to-back Golden Boot honours also, and 10/3 with Paddy Power to beat James Rodriguez to the award. The in-form Bayern Munich man will be the most fancied goalscorer betting tip of the final also, at 6/1 odds to score first with Ladbrokes. Argentina's Messi would need a hat-trick to take top scorer accolades, but his superlative trickery and known technical ability make the Barcelona man a crucial player for the Argentines this Sunday
Messi is 5/1 to score first with Betfair and while Argentina have not exactly lit the blue touch paper in terms of goalscoring, Germany have seemed unable to stop hitting the back of the net. A total of eight players have scored during the 2014 World Cup and eight have also provided assists, Muller leading those stats with five goals and three assists respectively.
Germany would make history as the first ever European side to win a World Cup on Latin American soil if they triumphed in Rio. One thing that you can predict however, is that Sunday's final will be entirely unpredictable.
2014 World Cup Matches
Germany W W W W W W Argentina W W W W W W
2014 World Cup Goal Scorers
Muller - 5 (1 Penalty, 3 First Goalscorer)
Schurrle - 3 (0 Penalties, 1 First Goalscorer)
Kroos - 2 (0 Penalties, 0 First Goalscorer)
Hummels - 2 (0 Penalties, 1 First Goalscorer)
Klose - 2 (0 Penalties, 0 First Goalscorer)
Gotze – 1 (0 Penalties, 1 First Goalscorer)
Ozil - 1 (0 Penalties, 0 First Goalscorer)
Khedira - 1 (0 Penalties, 0 First Goalscorer)
Messi – 4 (0 Penalties, 2 First Goalscorer)
Rojo – 1 (0 Penalties, 0 First Goalscorer)
Di Maria – 1 (0 Penalties, 1 First Goalscorer)
Higuain - 1 (0 Penalties, 1 First Goalscorer)
2014 Word Cup Goal Assists
Muller - 3
Lahm - 2
Gotze – 1
Schurrle – 1
Hummels - 1
Kroos - 1
Khedira - 1
Higuain - 1
Lavezzi – 1
Messi - 1
Di Maria - 1