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Argentina, Germany to Meet in World Cup Final

Argentina's Lionel Messi, left, kicks the ball next to teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi during an official training session at Vasco da Gama Stadium a day before the World Cup soccer final between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 12, 2014.

European football (soccer) superpower Germany faces an Argentina team led by superstar Lionel Messi at Sunday's World Cup championship game in Rio de Janeiro.

Argentina and Germany have met twice in the World Cup title game. Argentina won in 1986, and the Germans won in 1990. No European team has ever won a World Cup championship in the seven times the tournament has been played in the Americas. A South American team has prevailed each time.

On Saturday, the Netherlands handed Brazil its second straight devastating loss, topping the World Cup's host country, 3-0, to capture third place in the tournament.

The Netherlands' Robin van Persie and Daley Blind scored in the early minutes, demoralizing a heavily partisan Brazilian crowd in Brasilia. Georginio Wijnaldum added a late insurance goal.

Brazil, a consensus favorite to win the tournament, suffered an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals.

Van Persie scored in the third minute on a penalty kick, hooking the ball into the upper corner of the net past diving goalie Julio Cesar. It appeared that Brazil's Thiago Silva had yanked van Persie down outside the box, but the referee awarded a penalty kick.

In the 17th minute, Brazilian defender David Luiz mistakenly headed the ball to Blind, who punched it through uncontested for a 2-0 lead.

Brazil played catch up from there, trying a series of free kicks that failed.

With Saturday's win, the Netherlands finished the tournament unbeaten in regular play.

The Dutch were coming off a 4-2 penalty shootout loss to Argentina in the semifinals that followed a scoreless draw. They finished second at the World Cup in South Africa four years ago and were looking to again place in the top three.

For the second straight game, the Brazilians played without star striker Neymar, who fractured a vertebra in the quarterfinals against Colombia and was lost for the tournament. Silva, Brazil's captain, was back on the field after serving a one-game suspension for earning his second yellow card.

The Dutch played without one of their top scoring threats, midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who suffered an injury during the pre-match warm-up.