Germany and Argentina at 0-0 at 60 minutes

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Lionel Messi missed an early
second-half chance Sunday, shooting wide to leave the World Cup final
between Argentina and Germany even at 0-0 after an hour.
Messi
broke free on the left side and tried to go for the far post but the
ball rolled wide of the Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and his net.
Argentina had the better chances in the first half, and forward Gonzalo Higuain was the most dangerous
player.
The
Napoli striker missed a great chance to put his team ahead in the 21st
minute, shooting wide after an errant headed backpass. He then had a
goal ruled out for offside in the 30th.
Germany was forced to play
without Sami Khedira, who pulled out of the starting lineup minutes
before kickoff and was replaced by Christoph Kramer.
Kramer,
however, was first injured in the 18th minute and then was replaced by
Andre Schuerrle in the 32nd with what appeared to be head injury.
Schuerrle,
who scored the last two goals against Brazil in the 7-1 semifinal rout
as a substitute, then had Germany’s best chance in the 37th, but
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero made the block.
Benedikt Hoewedes had an injury-time header hit the post.
The
match at the Maracana Stadium kicked off with Germany wearing its
traditional white shirts and Argentina playing in dark blue.
With
Messi in the starting lineup, Argentina has one of the best players in
history on the field. The four-time world player of the year has had a
stellar World Cup so far, and a win on Sunday will give him the one
major title he is missing.
For Germany, a team led by Philipp Lahm
and Bastian Schweinsteiger is trying to finally win a major trophy
after a nearly 20-year wait.
The Germans, whose last major title
came at the 1996 European Championship, reached the World Cup final in
2002 and the semifinals in 2006. They also reached the final at Euro
2008 and the semifinals at Euro 2012.
Historically, however,
Germany has been a consistent winner. The national team is trying to win
its fourth World Cup, but the first for a united country. West Germany
won in 1954, 1974 and 1990, while a united Germany lost in the 2002
final to Brazil.
Argentina is a two-time champion, winning titles in 1978 and 1986.
The
last World Cup title for each team came against the other. The
Argentines, led by Diego Maradona, beat West Germany in Mexico in the
1986 final, while the Germans leveled the series by winning four years
later in Italy.
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