We're just over a week away from the World Cup Final. After today's matches, here's who's left in contention.
Germany versus Brazil
Germany has remained one of the odds on favorites to win the whole shebang. They play efficiently, completely. Manuel Neuer, their goalkeeper, is one of the best in the game and anchors a stellar defense. Plus, the United States played them to a draw so there's a moral victory there (we suppose). Keep in mind, a European team has never won a World Cup played in the Americas.
Brazil is looking to absolve themselves of their past failings. The last time the country hosted the World Cup was 1950 when the team made it all the way to the final, only be upset by Uruguay in a match that somehow still haunts the country. It will be difficult without their star Neymar, who was lost for the tournament after
having his back broken by a Colombian player injuring his back during play last night. The team hasn't played impressively, but they're still the hometown favorite.
Argentina versus the Netherlands
Argentina has reached its first World Cup semifinal match in 24 years. They're facing some dismaying news going into Wednesday's match: Their star midfielder Ángel di María will reportedly miss the next game and possibly the rest of the tournament after tearing his right thigh muscle in their victory against Belgium. But they still have Lionel Messi, a veritable football demigod.
The Netherlands outlasted the Costa Rican side in penalty kicks this afternoon to advance. They have three elite level players, including Arjen Robben, who has had an unbelievable tournament. They attack (having scored the most goals in the tournament), they're mutable with their position players, and they also made it to the final in the last World Cup.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.