Sports Mole's rolling news coverage of day 29 of the World Cup in Brazil.
By Joe Fish, Reporter Filed: Friday, July 11, 2014 at 12:05 UK
Last Updated: Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 11:31 UK
Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's rolling news coverage of day 29 of the 2014 World Cup.
We will be bringing you all of the latest news, gossip and opinions from Brazil ahead of Sunday's final between Argentina and Germany at the Maracana.
Stay tuned to SM throughout the day to get your World Cup fix, with only three days of the tournament remaining!
12.08pmAfternoon, all, on the third to last day of a World Cup that has given us a some thrilling matches, a new all-time leading finals goalscorer and the most extraordinary semi-final. I don't want it to end!
12.10pmAnd yet the best is still to come. On Sunday, Germany and Argentina will meet in Rio to decide who will be crowned world champions, and we will be bringing you the latest from both camps.
12.14pmThere is also Saturday's third-place playoff between Netherlands and Brazil to look forward to. How will the Neymar-less hosts react to their humiliating last-four thrashing by Joachim Low's side?
12.20pmA reminder of some overnight headlines, with injured Neymar still dominating the newsreel.
12.40pmZico has claimed that Scolari was too one-dimensional with his tactics at the World Cup, and has urged Brazil to replace the 65-year-old with someone who will have them play with more flair.
12.48pmThe man who represented Brazil at three World Cups even suggested who should succeed Scolari - Sao Paolo coach Ramalho, who was believed to be offered the job before Dunga in 2010.
1.01pmHe's had a lot to say this afternoon, has Zico, and not much of it has been positive. He has questioned the calibre of the current Brazil squad by pointing out that many do not star at domestic level.
1.15pmClearly Zico and the rest of the Brazilian fans are still hurting from their semi-final thrashing, but I'm not sure it can compare to the pain felt by Javier Mascherano when he suffered a rather unique injury in helping Argentina record a last-four penalty-shootout victory over Netherlands.
1.28pmThe Barcelona midfielder has revealed that he 'stretched his anus' while making a match-saving, stoppage-time tackle on Arjen Robben which helped them book a date with Germany at the Maracana.
1.42pmSome more bad news for the Argentines, but news that probably won't provoke as much discussion in the pubs this evening. They have been fined £200,000 for breaching World Cup media and marketing regulations, by failing to have a player attend pre-match press conferences.
1.58pmSticking with Argentina, and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has claimed that all the pressure will be on Germany when the two teams meet in the World Cup final on Sunday. Joachim Low's side have been installed as 8-11 favourites with most bookmakers following their thrashing of Brazil.
2.08pmAlejandro Sabella's side can be backed at around 13-10 with most major bookmakers, who favour the Germans, perhaps due to their less demanding semi-final and their extra day of rest.
2.20pmIt would be foolish, though, to back confidently against any side containing Lionel Messi, who, despite having not reached top form according to most observers, has four goals in the tournament.
2.34pmMessi may have Angel di Maria for company too, with the Real Madrid midfielder said to be "training at 80%" as he tries to recover from the thigh injury that ruled him out against the Dutch.
2.48pmThe Barcelona star, who still has an outside chance of winning the golden boot, currently trailing Colombia's James Rodriguez by two goals, can truly cement his legacy as one of the all-time greats by following in the footsteps of Diego Maradona and inspiring Argentina to World Cup glory.
2.58pmThat's it from me. Shane Callaghan will have plenty more World Cup news for you throughout the afternoon, though, including an in-depth preview of the third-place playoff.
3.12pmCheers Joe. Before Mr Fish left he did us the honour of knocking up a preview for Sunday's World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. Click here to read what the tournament has in store for us before it goes into hibernation for another FOUR years. I know, right.
3.15pmLast, but by no means least, we will also preview Saturday's third-place place off between Brazil and the Netherlands so stay tuned for that and plenty more news as the World Cup draws to a close. If you love it you have to let it go.
3.39pmLooking ahead to the final once again and Sergio Aguero says that he is unfazed by what Arjen Robben has had to say on Argentina's chances of winning the World Cup. The Netherlands winger recently claimed that the South Americans stood no chance of beating Germany in Sunday's final.
4.28pmRight, we all know all about the final, but spare a thought for the third-place playoff in Brasilia tomorrow night. Here, Sports Mole previews the encounter as Brazil face the Netherlands in a redemption tale for the host nation.
4.47pmFranz Beckenbauer has warned Germany that "one stroke of genius" from Argentina star Lionel Messi could dash their World Cup hopes in Sunday's final in Rio. The South Americans booked their place at the Maracana after producing a solid defensive performance en route to beating the Netherlands in a penalty shootout on Wednesday.
5.06pmColombia legend Carlos Valderrama has encouraged Real Madrid to move for James Rodriguez after his compatriot's impressive World Cup displays. The 22-year-old is odds-on favourite to win the Golden Boot in the tournament after his six goals helped the South Americans reach the quarter-final stage in Brazil this summer.
5.20pmHansi Flick has revealed how Germany have devised a "special plan" to thwart Lionel Messi in Sunday's World Cup final with Argentina. Messi endured a quiet night in the 0-0 draw with the Netherlands on Wednesday, failing to register a single touch inside the opposition penalty area during the 120 minutes of play.
5.33pmPhilipp Lahm has called on his Germany teammates to use their experience of winning trophies at club level to help their nation seal World Cup glory on Sunday. Joachim Low's side face Argentina at the Maracana this weekend knowing that victory would see Die Mannschaaft end a 24-year barren spell at the finals.
5.53pmSome build-up to Saturday's third-place playoff now, and Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari wants his troops to restore some pride by beating the Netherlands to end their campaign on a positive note.
6.20pmSome big news emerging from Argentina folks, and Alejandro Sabella's agent has confirmed that his client will quit his post as Argentina coach after Sunday's World Cup final. Will such an announcement have a positive or negative effect on his playing staff ahead of what is arguably the biggest day of their lives? Time will tell!
6.40pmThomas Muller says that Germany boast a good-luck omen ahead of Sunday's World Cup final with Argentina by revealing that he has never been on the losing side against Lionel Messi. I think Messi and co will be a little more frightened at the fact they beat Brazil 7-1, though!
7.00pmRight, that's your lot from me ladies and gentlemen. Callum Mulvihill will be here very shortly to guide you through everything World Cup-related for the next three hours or so. All the best.
7.09pmThanks Shane. I'll begin my stint in the chair with some news from FIFA. Vice-president Jim Boyce has defended the standard of refereeing at this summer's World Cup, and has suggested that officials were not told to be lenient on players in Brazil.
7.22pmFIFA have announced the shortlist for Golden Ball award. There are some predictable names included on the list - Angel di Maria, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Thomas Muller, Neymar, Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez
7.42pmMore on the news of the award shortlists for this summer's World Cup. Memphis Depay, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane are battling it out for the Best Young Player gong, while Manuel Neuer, Keylor Navas and Sergio Romero are in the running for the Golden Glove award. You can read a full roundup of the World Cup awards on the site now.
7.58pmMiroslav Klose may be 36, but the legendary German striker has insisted that retiring from international football after the World Cup is not a decision that has already been made. To be honest, I could see him finding the back of the net in his 70s.
8.11pmLouis van Gaal will manage the Netherlands for the final time on Saturday night in the third-place playoff against Brazil, and he's hoping that his players can give him the perfect leaving present as he prepares to begin his reign at Manchester United. Can they pile more misery on the hosts?
8.37pmAngel di Maria's agent has attempted to give Argentina's supporters a boost by suggesting that his client will be doing everything possible to make a full recovery for the World Cup final. There has been suggestions that the midfielder is currently at 80%, but Alejandro Sabella will want all of his key men firing.
8.56pmThe debate will go on forever. Who is the greatest player of all time? Well, Jose Mourinho has had his say by claiming that the honour does not belong to Lionel Messi ahead of his appearance in the World Cup final. The Argentine could write another chapter in a great career with a match-winning display, though.
9.10pmHorst Eckel, one of the members of the victorious West Germany squad in 1954, has underlined the importance of staying as close to Lionel Messi as possible at the Maracana on Sunday. Mourinho may be right, but it seems like everyone is only talking about one player ahead of the World Cup final.
9.26pmOne of Joachim Low's closest assistants, Oliver Bierhoff, has suggested that avoiding entering into an aggressive game with Argentina is crucial on Sunday as Germany go in search of their fourth World Cup title.
9.41pmIt's worth remembering that Germany have beaten Argentina in the previous two World Cups, and Maxi Rodriguez admits that it's difficult to forget those disappointments as he searches for revenge on Sunday at the Maracana.
9.57pmMore from Mr Mourinho before we finish our coverage for the night. The Chelsea boss has claimed that Netherlands winger Arjen Robben has performed better than any other player at this summer's tournament. Will he collect the Golden Ball award?
10.00pmThanks for joining me tonight. It's been another day filled with plenty of news, but the football will be back tomorrow when Brazil face the Netherlands in the third-place playoff. Jack will be back in the chair at 11am.