Argentina and Germany start final preparations

Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:05pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Argentina and Germany were both back at work on Thursday, secretly hatching their plans for Sunday's World Cup final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

While their contrasting styles promise a classic battle between Europe and South America, they have left both teams with plenty to think about as they put the finishing touches to their preparations.

Lionel Messi and his Argentina team mates had a light workout after they returned to their base camp in Belo Horizonte after Wednesday's dramatic penalty shootout win over the Netherlands.

Germany were also back on the training pitch at their secluded base camp in Santo Andre after taking Wednesday off following their 7-1 thrashing of host-nation Brazil on Tuesday.

Defender Mats Hummels was cleared to rejoin his team mates after undergoing treatment for a knee injury that prompted him to miss the second half of the semi.

With the team only having a gentle run-out, Germany's assistant coach Hansi Flick said Hummels was free to do what he wanted.

"All the players will be able to train, whether it's on an exercise bike or on the pitch - whichever they prefer," Flick said. "It's up to each individual to decide what they want to do in training."

Germany's biggest challenge remains how to contain Messi, who has been heavily marked throughout the tournament but still looms as the big danger.   Continued...

Argentina's national soccer team coach Alejandro Sabella (R) gestures as he talks to players during a training session ahead of their 2014 World Cup final match against Germany in Vespasiano, July 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci