Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: How Argentina’s final threat is dependent on six secret weapons

Argentina look to Lionel Messi but there are six other players just as important

For all the talk of Lionel Messi's magic, Alejandro Sabella’s unsung heroes are just as vital to their hopes of glory

Read more: Lionel Messi watches and waits for final chance to be a legend like El Diego
Philipp Lahm banks on German experience
Germany conquers the world
A cup of shocks, shame and lots of acclaim

Ezequiel Garay

Garay has always threatened to be among the best centre-backs in the game, and now, on the eve of the World Cup final, he is close to winning the big prize at least. Garay’s club career has never quite delivered on his obvious talent. He left Benfica this summer for Andre Villas-Boas’s Zenit St Petersburg, after three years in Lisbon in which he was on the losing side in two Europa League finals, winning just one league title. During his spell at Benfica, Garay did at least show the poise, natural reading of the game and athletic ability that made him such a celebrated youngster, and which finally secured his place in the Argentina side.

Lucas Biglia

Javier Mascherano has been heroic in the Argentina engine room, but he has been ably helped out by willing assistant Lucas Biglia, an honest, hard-working combative player who has usurped the rather more refined Fernando Gago in Argentina’s last few games. Like many of those in Alejandro Sabella’s team, the 28-year-old Biglia’s club career has been admirable but unremarkable. He plays his club football for Lazio, whom he joined last summer after seven seasons at Anderlecht. He won four Belgian titles, but was always looking for a step up to a bigger league.

Rodrigo Palacio

With Sergio Aguero injured and Carlos Tevez out of favour, Argentina have had to look elsewhere to bolster their attacking options. Sabella has turned to Rodrigo Palacio, a rather limited scurrier who came on against the Netherlands on Wednesday, causing some problems in extra-time.  Palacio is recognisableby his rat-tail hairstyle. Unlike many Argentine players, Palacio did not leave to play in Europe until the age of 28, but in five seasons in Italy – three with Genoa and two with Internazionale – he has been a success, scoring 17 Serie A goals last season, as many as Argentina’s main striker Gonzalo Higuain at Napoli.

Marcos Rojo

In an Argentina team rather short on pace and width, powerful young left-back Marcos Rojo has provided both. Operating up and down the  left-flank, Rojo has tried to replicate what the far more familiar Pablo Zabaleta gives them on the opposite side, and has often been let down by the lack of bodies in the opposition’s box. Rojo started off at Estudiantes and, as is increasingly common, was picked up by an eastern European club – Spartak Moscow. After one year there he joined Sporting Lisbon, and at 24 must be a likely target for one of Europe’s elite clubs.

Enzo Perez

The very difficult task of replacing the brilliant Angel di Maria has fallen to Enzo Perez, who came on for him against Belgium and kept his place for the semi-final. Perez does not have Di Maria’s pace or technical ability but is a hard-working and selfless player, who characterises the reliable values of this Argentina team. It is no surprise that Sabella trusts Perez: he was in the Estudiantes midfield, along with Juan Sebastian Veron, when Sabella led them to the Copa Libertadores in 2009. No-one else from that side is in this Argentina team. Perez now plays for Benfica, and he won Portugal’s player of the season this year.

Sergio Romero

Romero was the hero of the semi-finals, saving two of the Dutch penalties to win the shoot-out for Argentina. The 27-year-old was presented with the match ball afterwards, saying it was the best moment of his career, coming at the end of an emotional season in which he played just three league games. Romero went out on Monaco from Sampdoria, but had been barely involved, having been first choice at Sampdoria for the past two seasons. Before then he had won the Dutch title with AZ Alkmaar, managed by a certain Louis van Gaal.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week