RIO DE JANEIRO — No European team has ever won a World Cup played in the Americas. Just one more source of motivation for Germany ahead of Sunday's final against Argentina.
"We know we can write history," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "South Americans have always dominated on their continent and this is an extra incentive for us."
The geographical disadvantage is one of the few things going against Germany at the moment. The team has all the momentum after its 7-1 win over Brazil in the semifinals, and also contains many of the same players that beat Argentina 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup.
But Loew isn't expecting that kind of easy victory at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday — and neither should anyone else, he said.
"Whoever does that hasn't studied Argentina closely," Loew said. "Argentina here is a very strong team. It's very compact and its defense is much better organized" than in 2010.
The teams also met in the 2006 quarterfinals, when Germany won a penalty shootout and players then came to blows afterward.
That game won't be in the minds of the players, though, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said.
"Miroslav Klose is the only one (from 2006) still on our team," Schweinsteiger said of Germany's 36-year-old veteran striker.
Klose is also the only player who remains from the team that lost the 2002 World Cup final to Brazil. However, the entire team has plenty of experience from big matches, including major cup finals in club competitions.
"We don't have pressure, we know how to deal with such a situation," Schweinsteiger said. "We are focusing on what makes us strong. We have to remain calm and we have to be patient. It's surely not going to be simple, Argentina deserves to be in the final."
As for anyone who plays Argentina, the key for Germany will be to stop Lionel Messi. But the Barcelona star is far from the only thing the team has to worry about, Loew said.
"They are very strong in winning the ball and counterattack very quickly," the coach said. "They attack you early, they put you under pressure and they have a very fast transition."
That means it will be a matchup of two fairly even teams, he added. Although Loew is among those who think Germany has the edge.
"We have a healthy dose of confidence and if we manage to play our game impose our style, we will win," Loew said.
Netherlands rolls in consolation match
Robin van Persie and Daley Blind scored early goals to help give the Netherlands a 3-0 win over host Brazil in the third-place match at the World Cup on Saturday.
With the result, the Netherlands finishes a World Cup unbeaten in regular play for the first time, having lost to Argentina on penalties in the semifinals. After finishing runner-up in 2010, the third place is the best position for the Dutch squad since it lost the final in 1974 and 1978.
The loss added to Brazil's frustration at the home tournament following the disastrous 7-1 defeat to Germany. After the final whistle, the team was loudly booed by the nearly 70,000 fans that attended the match at the National Stadium in Brasilia. Many had already left even before the late third goal by the Dutch.
"It's a terrible feeling, I don't know what to say," Oscar said. "After a huge loss to Germany, today we tried our best from the beginning to win third place but it wasn't our day. We have to see what went wrong so we can improve for the future."
Van Persie converted a penalty kick three minutes into the match after Arjen Robben was brought down by Brazil captain Thiago Silva on the edge of the area. Blind added to the lead in the 17th with a shot from near the penalty spot after defender David Luiz made a mistake while trying to clear a cross in front of the goal. Georginio Wijnaldum rounded off the win in injury time with a shot inside the near post.
"The most beautiful was our resilience. We were knocked out but we came back and finished third," Wijnaldum said. "We wanted to close it out well."
Brazil looked lost from the start, making many of the same defensive mistakes that marked the historic defeat to the Germans four days ago. The Netherlands took advantage with quick passes and speed in the attack.
Blind added to the lead after Luiz failed to clear a cross, heading the ball right back to the Dutch defender for an easy goal.
Wijnaldum closed the scoring in injury time with a goal from inside the area after a cross by Daryl Janmaat.
"It is a good end," Robben said. "You can wipe away the hangover (of the lost semifinal). I'm so proud. Compliments to this team. It's a party to work with this team. We deserved more."