Feature: The 2005 Generation meets The Class of ’09

“When the 22 players representing Germany and Argentina step out onto the Maracan√£ pitch for Sunday’s World Cup final, roughly half will be fulfilling prophecies made in the previous decade. From Argentina captain Lionel Messi to Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the team-sheets will reflect the fact that glory for both teams has been in the pipeline for some time. The backbone of the Germany team who eviscerated hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals was drawn from the Under-21 side that triumphed at the European Championship in 2009. The source of Argentina’s achievements in Brazil, meanwhile, can be traced back even further, to the World Youth Championship — later rechristened the Under-20 World Cup — in the Netherlands in 2005.”

My piece for AFP on the two gilded generations that will face off in Sunday’s World Cup final can be read here.

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