The FIFA World Cup trophy will remain in Europe for at least four more years after Germany edged out Argentina 1-0 in the finals played at a full Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho (Maracana) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Substitute Mario Gotze’s goal in extra time proved decisive as Die Manschafft won their first title in 24 years. Joachim Loew’s side were always the favorites going into the game more so after their 7-1 demolition job of hosts Brazil in the semis while Argentina piped the Netherlands on post match penalties.
The cagey game saw the South Americans carve out the first chance in the game, Gonzalo Higuain wasting a perfect chance to put his team in the lead when Toni Kroos’ attempted header back to his keeper fortuitously fell into the path of the Napoli front man. Known for his clinical finishing, the 26-year-old fluffed his lines directing his half volley off the target much to the relief of the now 4-time champions.
Higuian was at it again at the half hour mark benefitting from some good work down the right channel by Ezequiel Lavezzi but although he found the back of the net this time, the flag was up for offside.
Germany’s first real chance to leap ahead in the fixture came before the interval when an unmarked Benedikt Howedes saw his header crash against the post as the half ended barren.
Alejandro Sabella’s men started the second half as they did in the first, Lionel Messi, spurning his chance wide after beating the offside trap with only Manuel Neuer to beat. With the game quickly heading to extra time, both teams created half chances but none could genuinely find the back of the net in normal time.
Substitutes Andre Schurrle for Germany and Rodrigo Palacaios for Argentina both forced crucial saves from the keepers before Gotze’s telepathic combination with Schurrle produced the winning goal 7 minutes before full time.
The win gave Germany its first title since the unification of East and West Germany but denied the Argies their first in 28years. Die Manschafft also became the first European team to triumph in the Americas soil.
There was however a consolation for captain Lionel Messi who won the golden ball given for the best player in the tournament. Thomas Muller of Germany and Netherland’s Arjen Robben finished second and third respectively. Colombian forward, James Rodriguez, collected the golden boot having scored 6 goals in the tournament while Frenchman Paul Pogba took home the young player of the tournament gong. Manuel Neuer was the golden glove winner.
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