Argentina will win the World Cup

Messi & Co. hold key advantages over Germany on both sides of field

Updated: July 12, 2014, 2:59 PM ET
By Adrian Melville | ESPN Insider

Lionel MessiRonald Martinez/Getty ImagesLionel Messi and Argentina look to win the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

The World Cup final between Germany and Argentina is a matchup between two of the most complete teams in the tournament, as both sides possess some of the best talent in the world from both an attacking and defensive perspective.

Germany's shocking 7-1 semifinal win over Brazil is still the most prevalent storyline coming into the final, and its thorough victory over the host nation has boosted the team to a 61 percent chance of winning the World Cup, according to the updated SPI.

However, there are distinct offensive and defensive advantages that Argentina can exploit versus Germany. Here is a look at Argentina's biggest tactical advantages heading into the World Cup final, and an explanation of how these will likely lead to Argentina claiming a third World Cup trophy.


Exploiting Germany's left side of defense

Throughout the tournament, many have considered German defender Benedikt Howedes to be the most vulnerable player in Germany's starting lineup. This has less to do with the Schalke defender's skill set, and more to do with his lack of experience in a left-back role. Howedes made 26 combined appearances with Schalke in the 2013-14 Bundesliga and Champions League, and 23 of those appearances came as a central defender.

Meanwhile, Argentina's Lionel Messi enjoys drifting over to the right side of the field when he finds things to be overly crowded centrally, and the semifinal game against the Netherlands was a specific example of his positional preferences in games where he is tightly marked.