World Cup championship: What Germany needs to do to win

Germany, the best team at World Cup no matter what happens Sunday, needs to do more than show up vs. Argentina

With the seven goals Germany scored against Brazil on Tuesday still playing on an endless loop in the minds of World Cup watchers, it might be tempting to begin and end a list on what the Germans must accomplish to win the whole shebang with this:

1. Show up on time for kickoff.

The more sober-minded are aware that the tournament's best team regardless of today's result against Argentina is assured of nothing without crossing off several items on its to-do list. Here are five:

-- Contain Lionel Messi. Let's dispense quickly with the obvious, even if there are several means to this end. Bastian Schweinsteiger likely will mark Messi full-time in the midfield while teammates pitch in, which induces the Argentine star to distribute to mostly unthreatening teammates.

-- Capitalize on a height edge on set pieces. The Germans, uncanny at headers, are stone-cold killers on corners and free kicks. They could take target practice against the shorter Argentines.

-- Score first. Argentina has yet to trail and would be drawn out of its defensive posture by yielding the initial goal. Germany has mastered the quick strike, having scored in the first quarter-hour of three matches.

-- Keep substitutes Andre Schuerrle and Mario Goetze at the ready. Midfielder Mesut Ozil has been a World Cup rare bird -- a disappointment in a German uniform. Either alternative could spark a goal if Ozil continues not to.

-- Avoid overconfidence. The Germans seem wizened enough to dismiss the semifinal rout as a quirk, and some amnesia would be beneficial. For all of its stretches of mediocrity, Argentina is undefeated, with Planet Futbol's finest player.

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