The past two World Cup finals have been between European teams, and it’s shaping up that way yet again. The final four is packed full of heavyweights between Argentina, the Netherlands, Brazil and Germany, but it’s the European clubs that have weathered the competition the best.
Brazil and Argentina are both plagued with the injury bug. Argentina are missing their midfield catalyst Angel Di Maria, and Brazil are without Neymar and Thiago Silva.
On the other side of the spectrum, Germany and the Netherlands have zero missing players and will have their entire arsenal at their disposal.
Normally an injury or two won’t completely derail a team, especially teams of this caliber, and these won’t be completely detrimental, but the effects will be obvious. It’s not like Brazil and Argentina are going to look completely unrecognizable and play well below their standard, but these injuries are just enough to be a thorn in the side of their progress.
These teams are all very evenly matched at full health. I still believe that Germany are the true heavyweights; they just haven’t broken out of their shell yet. The Netherlands have to worry about the return of Sergio Aguero and the ever-dangerous Lionel Messi, but they don’t have the midfield presence without Di Maria.
They will obviously still be good games, but these injuries are setbacks on teams whose opposition has no setbacks to speak of. Each South American squad is missing a key piece of their attack, and they are extremely attack oriented teams. While the odds are still in favor of the South Americans, I believe that the Europeans will prove their dominance.