Germany icon Franz Beckenbauer has warned his compatriots that Argentina star Lionel Messi could decide Sunday's World Cup final with one stroke of genius.
The Barcelona star impressed in the group stages with four goals in three games and also set up the winner in the round of 16 win over Switzerland.
Messi failed to make an impact in the quarter-final and semi-final encounters with Belgium and Netherlands respectively, missing a one-on-one opportunity late in the former, but Beckenbauer has stressed that the forward is always capable of making the difference.
"Argentina can be dangerous. Look at the Dutch, how during the tournament they were a convincing side with their strikers Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie," Beckenbauer wrote in his column for Hindustan Times.
"But in the semi-final, Argentina succeeded in virtually suffocating their opponents.
"To overcome this defence will be a huge challenge for the Germans. And of course, there is the superstar Lionel Messi, who, if you don’t keep him under control, could decide the final with one stroke of genius.
"Germany don’t have a Neymar or Messi but Jogi Low’s lads harmonise as a team. A team that has six Bayern Munich players, including a flawless goalkeeper backing them up.
"There is of course no guarantee that Germany can show their form from the semi-final against Brazil in the final against Argentina. But in any event, this team has grown in the wake of the 7-1 result."
Germany last made it to the World Cup final in 2002, when they were beaten 2-0 by Brazil.