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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Jul 13, 2014

Khedira out of final, Kramer steps in

Lionel Messi's resume is expansive, but ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman and Alejandro Moreno take a look at Argentina's organization behind the ball and hope for a better World Cup final than 2010 in South Africa.

Germany midfielder Sami Khedira pulled out of the World Cup final against Argentina shortly before kick-off due to a calf injury, with Christoph Kramer taking his place in the starting lineup.

Khedira was named in Joachim Low's original XI -- which was unchanged from the 7-1 semifinal defeat of Brazil -- only for the German Football Association (DFB) to confirm the change moments before the teams came out of the tunnel at the Maracana.

The loss of Khedira is a huge blow to Low given the Real Madrid player's impressive display in the semifinal win.

Kramer of Borussia Monchengladbach has played just a handful of minutes at the World Cup, coming off the bench in the defeats of Algeria and France. The midfielder, who has four caps for Germany, is making his first competitive start.

Meanwhile, Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria has failed to return to fitness in time to start the final as Alejandro Sabella names an unchanged lineup from the semifinal defeat of Netherlands.

Di Maria sustained a thigh injury in the Albiceleste's quarterfinal win over Belgium and failed to feature in the last-four clash as a result.

There had been talk that the Real Madrid player, who netted his side's late winner in the round-of-16 victory against Switzerland, may be risked for the final by Sabella, yet the Argentina boss has decided to keep faith in the team that saw off the Oranje with Enzo Perez keeping his place.

Sergio Aguero, who has been struggling with his fitness throughout the tournament, had also been tipped to start, but he must settle for a place on the bench.

Germany's main injury concern in the build-up to Sunday's game at the Maracana had been Mats Hummels, after he came off at half-time during the defeat of Brazil.

The Borussia Dortmund defender has, however, managed to shake off his knee injury and starts ahead of Per Mertesacker at the heart of Joachim Low's defence.

Starting lineups:

Germany: Neuer, Lahm, Hummels, Boateng, Howedes, Schweinsteiger, Kramer, Muller, Kroos, Ozil, Klose.

Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo, Biglia, Mascherano, Perez, Lavezzi, Messi, Higuain.

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