Low: Argentina more than just Messi
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Ahead of Sunday's World Cup final, Germany manager Joachim Low said that there is more to opponents Argentina than just Lionel Messi.
Four years ago, Argentina was eliminated from the World Cup by Germany at the quarterfinal stage, with the Nationalmannschaft prevailing 4-0. Low is expecting a much different encounter this time around.
"They have been well organized and compact," said Low about Argentina. "They are much stronger now in the defense than the were in 2010."
Argentina has conceded just three goals during this tournament, and has yet give up a goal during the knockout stages. The attack, meanwhile, has struggled, scoring just twice in the last three games. Yet Low retains a healthy respect for the rest of Argentina's attack, a group that includes Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, though Angel Di Maria remains doubtful because of a thigh injury. Defensively, midfielder Javier Mascherano has been immense in helping Argentina keep three consecutive clean sheets.
"This team is not only Messi," said Low. "If you believe that it's a mistake ... of course Messi is a player that can determine a match. But this team is much better organized team and that's what they've shown in this tournament."
Germany is attempting to win the World Cup for the first time in 24 years. If it fails to win on Sunday that will mark increase to a minimum of 28 years, the longest such stretch since the old West Germany claimed its first World Cup title back in 1954. There have been plenty of near misses in recent years as well. Germany has fallen in the semifinals of the last two World Cups and was beaten by Brazil in the 2002 final.
But German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger insisted he and his teammates aren't haunted by past failures, and will benefit from the experience of playing so many high-level matches at both international and club level.
"We have no pressure," he said. "We have lots of players in the 23 that have played finals of high rank. We know how to handle that, and we have Miroslav Klose who has played a final. We just have to think about one thing, the job e have to do tomorrow. When the ref blows the whistle we have to concentrate on what makes us strong. You're head must be clear and concentrating solely on football."