Diego Maradona and Franz Beckenbauer will strive to carve their names into record books in the same city where the likes of Julius Caesar and Catullus wrote and made history.
Maradona takes defending title-holder Argentina onto the field at Olympic Stadium against Beckenbauer's West German squad Sunday night to decide the 14th World Cup soccer championship.Soccer history will be made by the winner in various ways. Maradona, considered the greatest player in the world, can become the first player to captain two World Cup champions.
An Argentina victory would also equal the record of three world titles shared by Italy and Brazil. The Argentines are also in a position to become the first nation to successfully defend a World Cup crown since Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
"We are going to play for this World Cup with all our hearts," Maradona said. "The World Cup wants to take another ride in the airplane back to Argentina."
Beckenbauer, once considered among the best players in the world during his era, is seeking to become the first person to captain and coach a World Cup winner. West Germany, which is making a record sixth appearance in the World Cup final, can also become a three-time winner.
"I am not interested in making history for myself," said Beckenbauer, who captained the 1974 World Cup champion. "I have had my glory. But I would love to win for the team."
West Germany is a clear favorite heading into a rematch of the 1986 World Cup final won by Argentina 3-2 in Mexico City. The Germans are unbeaten in the tournament and have scored a high of 14 goals. The trio of Lothar Matthaeus, Juergen Klinsmann and Rudi Voeller is one of the most explosive in the world and they alone have accounted for 10 goals.
Argentina enters with a big handicap. It will be without four players - striker Claudio Caniggia, midfielder Ricardo Giusti and defenders Julio Olarticoechea and Sergio Batista. All are suspended because they received their second yellow cards of the tournament in the semifinal shootout victory over Italy.