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Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: Argentina’s 5 Keys to Winning the Final

2014 World Cup: Argentina's 5 Keys to Winning the Final

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Not since the theatricality and wonder of Diego Maradona have Argentina been able to lift the coveted World Cup. Luckily for them, they have Maradona's successor in the form of Lionel Messi. But as good as Messi is, Argentina will need to be perfect in all facets of the match. Find out what Argentina need to focus on to defeat the Germans.

5. Replacing Angel di Maria

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5. Replacing Angel di Maria

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Up until his injury, Angel di Maria was arguably Argentina's best player (even above Lionel Messi). His speed and dribbling were key in getting Argentina to the semifinals. Argentina must find a way to try and replicate what he produces. Enzo Perez will likely start in place of him, but players like Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain need to play at a much higher level to replace di Maria's contributions to the team.

4. Making the Right Substitutions

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4. Making the Right Substitutions

sergio aguero gonzalo higuain argentina
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In the game against the Netherlands, it seemed that Argentina lost possession of the ball when coach Alejandro Sabella made his substitutions. Against Germany, he'll have to be on point in choosing which fresh legs take the field. In a game that will likely be an all out war, whoever comes on as a substitute must make a difference and be a definitive game-changer.

3. Mental Preparation

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3. Mental Preparation

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For 10 minutes, Brazil lost their cool against Germany and were in a complete state of shock. The result? Four German goals in those 10 minutes. Argentina have to be prepared for anything that could happen. If they get scored on, they can't give up like Brazil did. If they score first, they can't get complacent and let Germany have the ball. As much as the match is played on the field, the mental war between the two will be just as interesting.

2. No Mistakes on Defense

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2. No Mistakes on Defense

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The Germans have proven that they're a team that pounces on every little mistake a defense gives them. With players like Muller, Ozil and Gotze, they only need a few mistakes to score. Argentina's defense played almost perfect against the Netherlands, and they'll be hoping for a repeat performance. They erased Robben and van Persie from the last game and must look to do the same against the well-oiled German attack.

1. Lionel Messi Must Show Up

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1. Lionel Messi Must Show Up

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Above all, Lionel Messi has to show up for Argentina. He is the best player in the world and can't afford to take days off like he did against Netherlands. Argentina are completely Messi-dependant, and they'll need "La Pulga" to be at the very top of his game. Naturally, Germany will have a plan to defend him, but Messi must prove to the world that there's no way to stop him. This night could very well define his career.