Germany was overtly intent on respecting Brazil and its people even before the start of the 2014 World Cup. Die Mannschaft and jersey sponsor adidas decided to create red and black hooped kit for the away jersey. The look was a tribute to the Rio de Janeiro based club Flamengo who wear a similar jersey.
The decision to bring this red and black hooped jersey rather than the more traditional green jersey was all the Germans were willing to do to flatter their hosts, however. They had no mercy in defeating Brazil 7-1 in the semifinal on Tuesday.
Germany will come full circle when they head to Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium for the World Cup Final on Sunday. It is hard to imagine when designing the away jersey that a team in Rio was not selected.
The flattery ended when Germany took the field and had no mercy on their host in their 7-1 semifinal win. Germany, however, was very humble in their easy win and after the game not wanting to add insult to injury and the locals will be all behind the European side claiming their 4th World Cup title.
It is not because they want Germany to win so much as they can not bear the thought of regional rival, Argentina, hoisting the trophy on Brazilian soil.
While the match has yet to be played there is already one winner, Adidas. Supplying both with their uniforms for decades, the executives of the German based company are smiling ear to ear as the entire world will see the 3-Stripes on both teams, on the official match ball, the Brazuca, officials, and in stadium signage.
Adidas is wasting no time asserting their superiority of its on field success. And not just teams, but individuals as well; the adidas F50 adiZero has claimed the mantle of scoring in the most goals, and adidas holds an edge among all the silos.
Sports app theScore broadcasts that players wearing Adidas boots have scored 78 of 166 World Cup goals so far (excluding penalties), including five of Germany’s seven semi-final goals against Brazil. Nike has 73 and other brands 15.
The Battle Pack colorways Adidas made specifically for this tourney are worn by top World Cup scorers including Colombia’s James Rodriguez, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Thomas Mueller and Andre Schuerrle of Germany. So with three of the top scorers in the final, more goals should be the result.
Regardless who scores and what shoes they wear, it is the contest and the final result the viewing world awaits. Meeting for the third time in the ultimate match of the tournament, each has a victory over the other. This will be the tiebreaker to allow bragging rights for these superpowers until such an occurrence (realistically conceivable) is earned again.
But Sunday is what matters. Adidas has already won and either Argentina or Germany will join them on top of the world. Regardless of jerseys, I am confident that Argentina will extend the streak of South American sides winning when the World Cup is hosted in the Americas and no colors, hoops, verticals, stripes or mind games will change that.
Patrick Johnston is a freelance photojournalist and the author of The Odyssey of a Soccer Junkie which is available on his website thelanguageofsoccer.com or on Amazon.com. He has been to seven World Cups and will be at the final in the Maracana on Sunday. He coaches the women’s team at Sewanee: The University of the South and serves as a consultant for the NSCAA Club Standards Project.