Want the Winner? Look to Germany

Will Germany determine the winner?

If you’re looking to pick the winner of this year’s World Cup, look no further than Germany.

Well, don’t look at Germany – look at who they’re playing.

In the past three World Cups, Germany has lost in the knockout round to the eventual winner: in 2002, they were runners-up to Brazil in the final; in 2006, they lost to Italy in the semifinals; and in 2010, they lost to Spain in the semifinals.

Given their track record, a loss by Germany today suggests that Brazil will win the title. Meanwhile, if Germany wins, look to the winner of the Argentina/Netherlands match to win it all.

…unless, of course, Germany can break their losing streak – as we noted yesterday, it’s up to the Soccer Gods.

Football's Final Four

What’s At Stake

After nearly a month of non-stop soccer, the 2014 World Cup championships are in sight. Four teams in particular have their eyes on the prize: Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and the Netherlands – the last four teams left.

Obviously, all four are playing to win. But what’s their motivation? What are the specific elements that are pushing them towards a win?

Brazil: Win for Their Country

Brazil seeks to win its sixth title on home turf.
Brazil is the most successful country in World Cup history, winning five titles since 1958. But perhaps the most memorable Cup for Brazilians is one they didn’t win – in 1950, when Brazil last hosted the World Cup, the home team lost to rival (and neighbor) Uruguay by 2-1. Over 60 years later, the Cup is back on Brazilian soil – and Brazil is hoping it can win the title on home turf.

Germany: Close it Out

Germany: always the World Cup bridesmaid.
The last three World Cups have not been kind to Germany. In 2002, they were the runner-up to Brazil. In 2006 and 2010, they came in third place, losing to eventual champions Italy and Spain (respectively) in the semi-finals. This year, Germany is hoping to break that streak, and break the conception that they’re always a World Cup bridesmaid, never a World Cup bride.

Argentina: Do It for Messi

Messi hopes to win his first World Cup.
Lionel Messi is arguably the most popular and successful soccer player in the world today. But with all of the titles, the awards, the praise, there’s one prize that’s alluded him: a World Cup title. A contender for the Golden Boot award, given to the player who scores the most goals, Messi’s surely hoping to score not only the award, but a title for Argentina.

Netherlands: Avenge their Loss

Netherlands hopes to avenge their 2010 loss against Spain.
The Dutch came within one match of winning the 2010 World Cup, falling to Spain in the final 1-0. But with the defending champions knocked out in the group stage of this year’s Cup, the Dutch are hoping that they can avenge their loss and finish the job they couldn’t four years ago.

Photo of the Day

World Cup: July 8, 2014

Showdown in Belo Horizonte.
A TV crew member holds a director’s clapboard showing the flags of semi-finalists Brazil and Germany during Germany’s training session at Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte July 7, 2014. Germany will play Brazil in their 2014 World Cup semi-final match on July 8 in Belo Horizonte. (Reuters)

Germany (1-0) France

Battle of the Neighbors, Part 2 (UPDATE: France Falls)


Next neighbor up for France: Germany.

UPDATE: France may have beaten their other neighbor Switzerland 5-2, but the same magic wasn’t happening in their match against Germany, which they lost 1-0. Germany moves on to the semifinals, and has a chance to knock out the home team, Brazil.

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France already faced one of their neighbors earlier in the tournament, when they blew out Belgium 5-2 in the group stage. In the quarterfinal, France faces yet another neighbor as they take on Germany. Will France best yet another one of their neighbors, or will Germany have the upper hand? Find out at 12 PM ET (4 PM UTC).

For play-by-play, minute-by-minute coverage of every ball touch, throw-in, direct kick, indirect kick, yellow card, red card, corner kick, goal kick and every other possible football feat in every World Cup match, tap into VOA’s multilingual, multinational analysis.

Click here to follow the action live, or follow along on Facebook, or on Twitter with #WorldCupVOA.

And for even more exclusive VOA coverage with a special focus on Africa’s national teams, check out VOA’s Francophone blog.

Historical Rivalry

France-Germany: A Grand Classic in the Church of Football

German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher, left, and defender Hans-Peter Briegel, right, stop France's William Ayache during the World Cup semifinal in Guadalajara, Mexico, on June 25, 1986.

Harald Schumacher, the German goalkeeper, and defender Hans-Peter Briegel (right) stop William Ayache of France in the semifinals of the 1986 World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. (AP)

As luck would have it, Rio’s Estadio Maracana, considered a “temple” of world football, will host this classic dream match between two giants of world football: France and Germany. The neighbors will meet Friday for the fourth time in World Cup history. Their two previous meetings in 1982 and 1986, won by West Germany, were memorable.

France - Allemagne.

Manfred Kaltz of West Germany (left) hits the ball beyond Gérard Janvion of France, in the semifinals of between West Germany and France, in Seville, Spain, on July 8, 1982. (AP)

July 8, 1982. semifinals. Seville, Spain. 

An unforgettable match in the warm night of Seville. The two teams are tied at one apiece at halftime, but then the game switches into madness. France quickly takes the lead, sending Tresor and Giresse into ecstatic joy. But the Germans then equalized and snapped a shot on goal. Thirty-two years later, the night in Seville is legend.

June 25, 1986. semifinals. Guadalajara, Mexico.

At Jalisco Monumental, Germany beats France 2-0. The “Platini Generation” lets slip a last chance to win the World Cup.

July 4, 2014. quarterfinals. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

France has a better face with a young and dynamic team: watch Benzema, Pogba and Sakho closely.  But the Mannschaft which has not lost its status as favorites.

(Material from AFP was used in this report)