ONE of the largest security operations ever will be mounted tomorrow for the final of what is regarded by many as the most exciting World Cup in generations, with Germany slight favourites against Argentina.
If the Germans score a victory - matching the thinking of bookmakers - it would be the first time a European nation has won in South America during the 84-year history of the World Cup.
Police in Rio de Janeiro, while downplaying the possibility of violence at tonight’s final, are still deploying almost 26,000 officers on the streets.
Soldiers and firefighters will also join the operation, and 25 naval ships are expected to monitor the coast.
The match will be attended by numerous VIPs, including the Brazil president Dilma Rousseff, German leader Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country will controversially host the 2018 tournament.
Senior local government official Jose Mariano Beltrane said: “We need to ensure that this event goes off like all the other games in the World Cup.”
Army General Jamil Megid added: “I prefer to have a large number of men ready than to be taken by surprise. There is extra work as some heads of state the the president will be at the game.”
Merkel and Putin are expected to have lunch with Rouseff before heading to the match.
Around 75,000 fans are expected to watch the final at Rio’s Maracana stadium, with around 100,000 Argentine supporters and tens of thousands of Germans expected to watch the game on big screens across the city.
Germany favourites with bookies
Most bookies and experts are predicting that Germany will go on to win the World Cup:
Both William Hill and Ladbrokes are making Germany 13/10 favourites. Argentina is at 23/10 with William Hill and 12/5 with Ladbrokes.
A draw is 21/10 with both.
The Brazil World Cup has been the dubbed the most entertaining for decades, with its final match set to pit the man seen by many as the best in the world - Argentina’s Lionel Messi - against a hotly-tipped German side with few perceived weaknesses.
There is also the matter of settling a historical score. Argentina and West Germany played each other in two straight World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990, games that are well remembered in the sports psyche of both countries.
Diego Maradona and Argentina won the first, the Germans took the second.
Germany reached the final with an astounding 7-1 drubbing of host Brazil in the semifinals, having previously beaten Portugal, the USA, Algeria and France.
Argentina qualified after eking out a penalty shootout win over the Netherlands following a 0-0 draw through 120 minutes, following wins over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria, Switzerland and Belgium.