TOMORROW is the climax of the World Cup - a clash of two teams each boasting rich legacies in the competition, both former winners, and who also have ample 'previous' against each other in the ultimate international football showdown.

But for all the appetite-whetting nature of another Argentina duel against Germany pitting Lionel Messi against Bastian Schweinstieger, Thomas Muller toe to toe with Javier Mascherano, and a possible confrontation between new record scorer Miroslav Klose and a revived Martin Demichelis, the Sabbath showdown has been accompanied by a FIFA fiasco.

Currently in flight - certainly considered to be a fugitive by the Brazilian police - is Ray Whelan, the Briton who is a senior director of FIFA's official hospitality company, Match Services.

Before police, who are investigating a ticket touting racket worth an estimated $100 million, got to the luxury hotel on Copacabana beach where he was staying to re-arrest Whelan, he reportedly did a bunk through the back door. Security cameras at the service entrance to the hotel had apparently shown Whelan's departure while back in his room the television was still on, said the Copacabana cops.

Tipped off possibly? An apt phrase when it seems that investigators are convinced someone was creaming off millions of dollars. Whelaan's employer Match Services insist vigorously that the missing official remains innocent of any wrongdoing.

Further in his defence, Match Services, which deals with World Cup accommodation, ticketing and IT services, released a lengthy statement in which its chairman, Jaime Byrom, declared the police action against Whelan as “illegal and baseless”.

It said that the so-called 900-plus tapped calls - leaked to Brazilian broadcasting channel Globo - instead demonstrated their man's innocence rather than implicating him in a scandal of black-market ticket scalping.

The Match group of companies has held several FIFA contracts for World Cup tickets, travel, accommodation and technology services for two decades. And it was confirmed by FIFA three years ago that it would have such moneyed and honeyed access for almost another decade.

If American author Dan Brown had come up with such a plot he would have been laughed out of court for being alarmingly ludicrous.

Yet here we have it. A senior official now thought to be "on the run" as, while on the Maracana field, the two most successful teams in this year's tournament were preparing to reach the summit of international football.

But can we be truly surprised by the latest FIFA farrago? After all, this is an organisation, which, while purporting to do all in its considerable power to grow the game, has been mired in a variety of scandals.

Arguably the biggest still has to come to full light with media scrutiny all over the awarding of the 2022 tournament to Qatar, an issue that has dumped FIFA president Sepp Blather, sorry Blatter, in water that could prove as scalding as the height of summer temperatures of the Gulf State.

And between now and the Qatar tournament the 2018 World Cup will be in Russia, yet another bastion of liberty, fraternity and equal opportunity.

UEFA, European football's ruling body, has increasingly distanced itself from support for Blatter, who has announced his intention to stand for ever, and ever, and ever, and ever..and then another day.

Now with the current Brazilian brouhaha overshadowing what should be the peak of the game - Argentina and Germany - FIFA is in danger of becoming a laughing stock.

The future credibility of football now demands a thorough overhaul of a world organisation that seems more concerned with lining the pockets of an elite clique than serving the global growth and needs of the sport.

BACK among us mere mortals, the World Cup is as much about opinions than hopes of national success, though the latter rapidly evaporates if you happen to be born under the flag of St George.

So before the curtain finally comes down, and irrespective of the outcome of tomorrow's final - tonight's third and fourth pace play-off is an irrelevance - here's my team of the tournament.

Goalkeeper - Manuel Neuer (Germany); central defenders - Mats Hummels (Germany), Ron Vlaar (Holland), Thiago Silva (Brazil); wing-backs Philip Lahm (Germany), Junior Diaz (Costa Rica); holding midfielder - Javier Mascherano (Argentina); attacking three - Thomas Muller (Germany), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Arjen Robben (Holland); front-man - James Rodriguez (Colombia).