An extra-time goal from substitute Mario Gotze was enough for Germany to win the 2014 World Cup over Argentina at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro this morning.
Germany went into the 2014 World Cup Final as clear favourites after their 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semi-final, but they had to wait until 113 minutes into the game to find the goal that gave them a fourth World Cup title.
There were dramas for Germany before the game had even started, with midfielder Sami Khedira ruled out of the clash after a straining a calf in warm-up, while his replacement Christoph Kramer lasted less than thirty minutes in what was his first competitive fixture for the national side.
Germany looked the better of the two sides in the first 20 minutes, but it was Argentina who had the first chance of the match when Gonzalo Higuain was unable to take advantage of a one on one opportunity that was gifted to him by Toni Kroos.
Higuain thought that he had scored the opening goal of the 2014 World Cup in the 32nd minute mark when he converted a cross from Ezequiel Lavezzi, but he was correctly ruled to be in an offside position and the goal was disallowed.
Germany had a couple of half chances from Kroos and Miroslav Klose towards the end of the first half before a Benedikt Howedes header beat Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero, but deflected off the post.
Argentina came out of the halftime break firing and just two minutes into the second half Lionel Messi had a golden opportunity to put his side in front, but he was uncharacteristically unable to take advantage of the chance and pushed his shot across goal.
Play started to become a bit scrappy as extra-time loomed and the game became more physical, with both teams looking like they were preparing for the extra 30 minutes.
Germany were almost able to take the lead in the early stages of extra-time, but Andre Schurrle’s shot was saved by Romero and just minutes later Rodrigo Palacio was unable to capitalize on one of Argentina’s best chances of the match.
Both sides appeared to be struggling to create anything in attack and a penalty shootout looked like the most likely outcome before Gotze stamped himself as the hero with a brilliant volley from a Schurrle cross that put one German hand on the 2014 World Cup Trophy.
Messi was given one more chance towards the end of the second extra-time period when Argentina were awarded a free-kick at the outside of the box, but he was unable to get his shot on target before the final whistle made Germany the first European side to win the World Cup on foreign soil.
Germany were the best team throughout the 2014 World Cup and captain Phillipp Lahm paid credit to their overall team effort.
“It’s unbelievable what we have achieved,” Gotze said.
“Whether we have the best individual player doesn’t matter at all, you just need to have the best team.
“We improved throughout the tournament and didn’t get down when things didn’t always go our way, we just stuck to our path and at the end we’re standing here as world champions.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Messi was awarded the Golden Ball for being the best player at the 2014 World Cup, while Colombian James Rodriquez hung on to claim the Golden Boot for the tournaments leading goalscorer.