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World Cup final: Germany, Argentina face off in battle of the titans

By Holly Yan, CNN
updated 3:24 PM EDT, Sun July 13, 2014
German players celebrate with the World Cup trophy after they defeated Argentina 1-0 in the tournament's final match Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Mario Gotze's goal in extra time was the difference. German players celebrate with the World Cup trophy after they defeated Argentina 1-0 in the tournament's final match Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Mario Gotze's goal in extra time was the difference.
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Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
Best photos from the World Cup final
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Argentina and Germany have met in the World Cup finals twice before
  • Germany demolished host country Brazil in a 7-1 rout to get to the final
  • Argentina defeated the Netherlands 4-2 after a penalty shootout to earn its spot

(CNN) -- This time, Paul the Octopus won't be able to predict the winner.

In a World Cup already marked by stunning victories and catastrophic defeats, trying to guess the next World Cup champion is pretty much moot.

Germany's rebuilt team may win World Cup
Germany and Argentina face off in Rio
World Cup final: Calm before the storm

Germany is riding high after annihilating host country Brazil 7-1 in their semifinal, a defeat so brutal that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said she'd never imagined such a horror in her worst nightmares.

Of course the Germans would love a repeat against Argentina. But if anyone can show grit and then calm under pressure, it's the Argentinians.

Their semifinal against the Netherlands came down to a heart-pounding penalty shootout, and Argentina's 4-2 victory cemented the team's first trip to the World Cup final in 24 years.

Germans and Argentinians have faced each other in the World Cup finals twice before. Back when West Germany was still a country, it lost to Argentina in 1986. Four years later, Argentina lost to West Germany in 1990.

Sadly, unlike the last World Cup in 2010, there is no psychic cephalopod placing its bets on this year's victor.

In that tournament, Paul the Octopus correctly predicted the outcome of eight consecutive matches, dooming Germany's hopes when he picked Spain in the semifinal and then also in the final. Paul died in his German aquarium later that year.

No matter what happens Sunday, it's unlikely either squad will be as heartbroken as host team Brazil.

As if their semifinal demolition by Germany wasn't humiliating enough, the Brazilians didn't score a single goal in their attempt at redemption during Saturday's third-place match. The Dutch finished off the Brazilians, 3-0.

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CNN's James Masters contributed to this report.

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