Forward Miroslav Klose, who scored his record 16th World Cup goal against Brazil in the semifinals, is the only player who remains from that 2002 team.
“I don’t want to lose another final,” Klose said. “I want to lift the cup.”
Regardless of what happens, Klose’s legacy is already secure as the tournament’s all-time top scorer. To say Messi’s will be defined by one game is an exaggeration, but the World Cup trophy is the only thing that currently separates him from the likes of Pele and Maradona in the echelon of all-time greats.
If he lifts it on Sunday, he’ll join them for good. Maybe even as the best of them all.