Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Will the Germans have an advantage because of the extra day's rest?

Will the extra day off really make a difference? We're not quite sure...

After the Germans razed Brazil’s football foundations to the ground on Tuesday evening, crushing the overmatched and overemotional hosts 7-1, they could sit back and watch with something approaching glee as Argentina and the Netherlands tore lumps out of each other for 120 minutes.

Read more: Lionel Messi watches and waits for final chance to be a legend like El Diego
Philipp Lahm banks on German experience

The Argentinians, of course, eventually progressed through to the final by a penalty shootout that was as bruising on the nerves as the previous two hours had been on the legs.

But does that necessarily mean that their opponents will have a physical advantage in the Maracana on Sunday night? A glance at history suggests yes and no…

The World Cup has alternated through its history between the semi-final and second group stage formats. Often, those semis have occurred on the same day, though since 1990 this has only once been the case, at USA 94.

The 1966 World Cup was the first to feature semi-finals played on different days. West Germany faced the Soviet Union on 25 July 1966, followed by England’s game against Portugal a day later. The extra 24 hours’ rest did the Germans no good, however- Alf Ramsay’s side famously triumphed 4-2 in extra time. Perhaps home advantage and the raucous atmosphere inside the old Wembley negated the added freshness in the German legs.

The World Cup semi-finals were not held on different days again until Italia 90. There, both the Argentines and West Germans were forced to play on into extra-time with the Argentines’ contest against Italy coming a day earlier, on 3 July.

It didn’t help them, however- West Germany won the final 1-0. The Argentines were hampered not by fatigue but by the combined effects of suspension and injury- perhaps these are more important factors than the extra day’s rest a team may receive.

In 1998, Brazil concluded their semi-final against the Dutch a day before the French progressed by beating Croatia. However, the Brazilians required extra-time in order to despatch Bergkamp, De Boer and co, whilst the French needed only regulation time. In addition, the Brazilians were thrown into turmoil minutes before the final by the mysterious saga of Ronaldo, who should never have started the game.

Again, it seems, many more factors than fatigue can affect a team’s performance in a World Cup final.

In 2002, the team with the earlier semi-final were again defeated when it came to the main event. Germany bested South Korea 1-0 on 25 June, and Brazil defeated Turkey by the same scoreline a day later. But that single day’s discrepancy was not enough to make up for the difference in quality between the Brazil of Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and one of the poorest sides ever to reach a World Cup final. Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli will take charge of the World Cup final between Argentina and Germany Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli will take charge of Sunday's final

In 2006, the team granted an added 24 hours’ recuperation finally prevailed. Italy played their semi-final exactly a day before France, and went on to beat the French on penalties in the final. But given that they only emerged victorious after another 120 minutes of football- and via the lottery of penalties, too- perhaps the French weren’t unduly affected by lacking a day of recovery.

In 2010, the familiar pattern was resumed. Spain played their semi-final a day later than the Netherlands and went on to beat them 1-0 in the final courtesy of Andres Iniesta’s extra-time strike. The Spanish may well have been in better shape come the final- but the gap in technical quality between the two sides can hardly have hurt their chances.

An extra day's recuperation surely cannot hurt a team- but as this potted history shows, it's probably much less of a help than it might seem. If Germany do the expected and beat Argentina on Sunday night, it will be more down to the gulf in ability and nous between the two teams- and far less due to the Germans' fresher legs.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific