It can be hard to predict if a final is going to live up to the hype or fall flat on its face. The 2010 World Cup final had the makings of an entertaining game.
We had the solidity and organisation of the Netherlands squaring up with Spain’s beautiful freestyle football. However, it was a bit of damp squib with the Netherlands doing their best to kick Spain off the pitch.
On the other hand, this year’s FA Cup final looked like it could be a procession with league champions Chelsea taking on an Arsenal team they had brushed aside in February. However, it turned out to be a fantastic and pulsating game which saw Arsenal come out on top.
Sunday’s Confederations Cup final, between Chile and Germany, is one of those games that could potentially go either way. It features some star players, two excellent managers as well as some potential future stars.
It is, of course, not a tournament with the same cache or reputation as the Copa America or World Cup, which these two sides won to qualify for the Confederations Cup. However, that could work in this game’s favour.
The finals often struggle to match their hype due to enormous pressure on the sides competing in them. Both the World Cup, which Germany won, and the Copa America, which Chile won, had low scoring finals as both sides in those matches seemed to be scared of losing.
However, neither side will worry too much about this Confederations Cup game. It is a trophy they would love to win, but if they fail to, they will not look upon it with too much regret. This should allow both sides to feel relaxed and confident to play free-flowing attacking football.
Germany have reached the Confederations Cup final with a squad that could loosely be described as a ‘b’ team. Superstar players like Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Manuel Neuer have all been left in Germany by Coach Joachim Loew, but many of the players he has brought with him have shone.
Striker Timo Werner, who was crucial as RB Leipzig secured a shock 2nd place, finish in the Bundesliga, and Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka have done particularly well with both recording three goals so far.
Germany eased into the final with a 4-1 win over Mexico. Loew’s squad features a number of future stars with only two players in the starting eleven against Mexico being over the age of 25; the future looks very bright for Germany.
Chile faced a tougher test in making the final. They lined up against European Champions Portugal, but Man City’s much-maligned Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was the hero as, after a 0-0 draw, he saved three penalties to take Chile to their third international final in three years.
Their squad has more established stars than Germany with Bravo joined by Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Gary Medel amongst others. Their coach, Juan Antonio Pizzi, is another in a long line of managers who once played for Barcelona and was apparently on their shortlist as a Luis Enrique replacement according to Catalan daily newspaper Sport.
We have then, a fascinating set up for the final. Two relatively attacking, tactically astute coaches who have both led their teams to international glory face off.
One with a squad full of established stars, the other with a young and hungry team with players desperate to prove they deserve a spot in Russia next year. It is a tough game to predict as both sides clearly have their merits.
For the record, I think Germany will just squeeze out a win, they just know how to win matches, and I feel they will win the Confederations Cup for the first time on Sunday.