Friday 26 December 2014

Mario Goetze conquers World for Germany with moment of magic

Germany 1 Argentina 0 (after extra-time)

Henry Winter

Published 14/07/2014 | 02:30

Bastian Schweinsteiger, holding the trophy, celebrates with his team-mates after Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the final of the World Cup at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last night. PA
Bastian Schweinsteiger, holding the trophy, celebrates with his team-mates after Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the final of the World Cup at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last night. PA
Mario Goetze stretches to put the ball past Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero and score the winning goal in extra-time in the World Cup final at the Maracana. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Germany's Mario Goetze shoots to score a goal past Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero during extra time. Reuters
Germany's Mario Goetze celebrates his goal against Argentina infront of teammate Thomas Mueller during extra time. Reuters
Germany's players lifts the World Cup trophy as they celebrate their 2014 World Cup final win against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters
(L-R) Germany's Lukas Podolski, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller and coach Joachim Loew celebrate with the World Cup trophy after the 2014 World Cup final. Reuters
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer receives a hug from Chancellor Angela Merkel beside President Joachim Gauck (R) after the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana stadium. Reuters
Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts after losing their 2014 World Cup final against Germany at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Reuters
Argentina's Lionel Messi attempts to get a shot on goal as Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender Mats Hummels close in during the World Cup final. Photo: REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
Argentina's Marcos Rojo fouls Germany forward Thomas Mueller during the early stages of the World Cup final. Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Germany's Benedikt Hoewedes connects with Toni Kroos's corner but his header cannons back off the post during the World Cup final. Photo: REUTERS/David Gray
Argentina's Lionel Messi sends his shot wide with only Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to beat during the World Cup final. Photo: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia and Javier Mascherano challenge Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger during the World Cup final. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Mario Goetze stretches to put the ball past Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero and score the winning goal in extra-time in the World Cup final at the Maracana. Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Argentina's Rodrigo Palacio fails to score past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during extra time in the World Cup final. Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Mario Goetze stretches to put the ball past Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero and score the winning goal in extra-time in the World Cup final at the Maracana. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Mario Goetze celebrates after scoring the match-winning goal for Germany's in their World Cup final win over Argentina. Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Lionel Messi walks among the celebrating Germany players at the final whistle of the World Cup final at the Maracana. Photo: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Bastian Schweinsteiger breaks into tears after Germany's World Cup final win over Argentina. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Lionel Messi looks on after his Argentina side are defeated by Germany in the World Cup final at the Maracana. Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images
Germany captain Philipp Lahm holds aloft the World Cup trophy as he celebrates on with his teammates after their 1-0 victory over Argentina in the final. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Super Mario Goetze, Mario De Janeiro, the supersub, won Germany the World Cup in extra time at the Maracana.

Argentina had fought hard, but in Jerome Boateng and particularly the bloodied, bruised Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany had the best players on the pitch. And they had Goetze.

Goetze's goal was a worthy winner: A good take of Andre Schurrle's cross on the chest and then unstoppable shot. What a finish. What a day.

The Argentinians had taken over Copacabana, queuing from dawn to get into the fan fest, while the lucky ones in possession of the golden tickets marched to the Maracana, singing their “Brazil, tell me how it feels,” song to the tune of ‘Bad Moon Rising’, climaxing with “Messi will no doubt, will bring the Cup home.”

German soccer fans celebrate after the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, early Monday, July 14, 2014.  Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win its fourth World Cup title. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
German soccer fans celebrate after the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in downtown Frankfurt
German soccer fans celebrate after the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in downtown Frankfurt
German soccer fans celebrate after the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in downtown Frankfurt, Germany
German soccer fans celebrate after the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in downtown Frankfurt
German soccer fans celebrate after the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in downtown Frankfurt
German soccer fans celebrate their team after Germany won against Argentina by 1-0 at the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro
A Lebanese fan supporting Germany's national soccer team performs fire breathing as he celebrates with others after Germany won the World Cup final match against Argentina, in Beirut, Lebanon
Fans of Germany sing at a party after Germany's victory over Argentina in the 2014 Brazil World Cup final match in Rio de Janeiro
German fans celebrate after a public viewing of the 2014 Brazil World Cup final match against Argentina, at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro
German fans celebrate at the 'Reeperbahn' red light district in Hamburg after Germany won the World Cup soccer final against Argentina
German fans celebrate as they drive along the 'Reeperbahn' red light district in Hamburg after Germany won the World Cup soccer final against Argentina
Argentina supporters react after Argentina lost to Germany in their 2014 World Cup final soccer match in Brazil, during a screening at a beach in Rincon de la Victoria, near Malaga
German soccer fans react after the final match of the Brazil World Cup 2014 between Germany and Argentna played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at a public viewing area called 'Fan Mile' in Berlin
An Argentina supporter reacts as she watches a screening after Argentina lost to Germany in their 2014 World Cup final soccer match in Brazil, at a beach in Rincon de la Victoria, near Malaga
Fans of Germany celebrate after Germany won the 2014 World Cup final match against Argentina, in Kolkata
An Argentina supporter reacts as he watches the 2014 Brazil World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina, at an Argentinian restaurant in Toronto July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
An Argentina fan crosses her fingers as she watches a broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final against Germany at the Argentine Embassy in Brasilia, July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Argentine fans react during the broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final match against Germany at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
Argentine fans react during the broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final match against Germany at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
An Argentina fan reacts while watching a broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final against Germany at the Argentine embassy in Brasilia, July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
An Argentina fan reacts while watching a broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final against Germany at the Argentine embassy in Brasilia, July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
An Argentina fan reacts while watching a broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final between Argentina and Germany at the Argentine embassy in Brasilia, July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Argentina's fans watch a broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final soccer match in Brazil, between Germany and Argentina at a public square viewing area in Buenos Aires, July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
Argentina's fans watch a broadcast of the 2014 World Cup final soccer match in Brazil, between Germany and Argentina at a public square viewing area in Buenos Aires July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
An Argentina supporter reacts as she watches the 2014 Brazil World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina, at an Argentinian restaurant in Toronto July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
An Argentina supporter reacts as he watches the 2014 Brazil World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina, at an Argentinian restaurant in Toronto July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
German troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) watch the 2014 Brazil World Cup final match between Germany and Argentina at a NATO base in Kabul July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
German troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) watch the 2014 Brazil World Cup final match between Germany and Argentina at a NATO base in Kabul July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
Argentina supporters react as they watch the 2014 Brazil World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina, at an Argentinian restaurant in Toronto July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Argentina supporters react as they watch the 2014 Brazil World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina, at an Argentinian restaurant in Toronto July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Fans of Germany react as they watch the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in Brazil at a public screening of the match in Berlin July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Musician Mick Jagger looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Fans of Germany watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina at the Fanmeile public viewing at Brandenburg Gate on July 13, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Fans of Germany watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina at the Fanmeile public viewing at Brandenburg Gate on July 13, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Fans react at a watch party during the World Cup final match between Germany and Argentina July 13, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
Musician Mick Jagger looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
German fans at Hophaus get into the spirit while watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final match between Germany and Argentina on July 14, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Football fans supporting the German national team watch the FIFA World Cup final on a big screen in the 'Bavarian Beerhouse' pub in East London on July 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
German fans gather for the big game
Football fans supporting the German national team watch the FIFA World Cup final on a big screen in the 'Bavarian Beerhouse' pub in East London on July 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Football fans supporting the German national team watch the FIFA World Cup final on a big screen in the 'Bavarian Beerhouse' pub in East London on July 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
German fans at Hophaus react after conceding a goal that was later ruled offside while watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final match between Germany and Argentina on July 14, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
German fans at Hophaus react while watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final match between Germany and Argentina on July 14, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Lena, girlfriend of Julian Draxler of Germany, looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers watch the 2014 World Cup final match between Germany and Argentina in a cafe on the sixth day of Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' on July 13, 2014 in Sderot, Israel. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Football fans supporting the German national team watch the FIFA World Cup final on a big screen in the 'Bavarian Beerhouse' pub in East London on July 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Former England international David Beckham and sons Brooklyn Beckham (L), Cruz Beckham (2nd R) and Romeo Beckham (R) prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Former Brazilian international Kaka, former Brazilian international Pele and former England international David Beckham look on prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The many Brazilians present responded with: "A thousand goals, only Pele scored 1,000 goals".

GLORIOUS

Argentina had looked a team who had grown during the tournament, at warriors such as Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Mascherano, at their captain Messi, although they sighed when Gonzalo Higuain missed a glorious chance in the first half.

They had been lifted by the calf injury that Sami Khedira sustained in the warm-up, ruling out the man deputed to shadow Messi most closely.

Borussia Moenchengladbach's Christoph Kramer, who had been casually spinning the ball basketball-style for a few minutes in the tunnel beforehand, was suddenly scrambled into action and handed the Lionel-taming duties – on his second international start. He did not last too long, sustaining a head injury and being replaced by Schurrle.

Argentina supporters, noting with approval that David Beckham's sons were all sporting blue-and-white-striped tops, had believed in their team's destiny, but they had also known the scale of the task.

This was Germany, the team of the tournament, blessed with the class of Manuel Neuer in goal and Philipp Lahm and Mats Hummels in defence, such formidable fortifications.

They had the central power of Bastian Schweinsteiger with Toni Kroos pushing on. Germany had the intelligent, non-stop running of Thomas Mueller on the right and the record-breaking Miroslav Klose up top. It had all been teed up: a final of contrasts, Europe against South America, the prolific against the parsimonious, Germany having scored 17 to Argentina's three conceded.

It was a feast for the rich and powerful, for Carles Puyol, who carried the trophy out with all the tender care of a father cradling a new-born. The fight to succeed Puyol's Spain as world champions had started with Germany enjoying plenty of possession, 65pc before the interval, but Argentina always a threat on the counter.

Messi glided down the right, cutting into space vacated by Ezequiel Lavezzi, and running at Hummels, who had been lured wide. Messi flicked at the accelerator, taking him away from Hummels, reaching the byline and cutting the ball back. Schweinsteiger, a defensive as well as creative force this tournament, had dropped back and positioned himself well to clear.

Argentina were absorbing German pressure, seeing off a run from Mesut Ozil here, a break from Muller there, and racing upfield. Lucas Biglia had a shot blocked by Benedikt Howedes. Ozil chased back with Enzo Perez. Argentina were defending resolutely. Martin Demichelis ran across to close down Klose.

Kramer was almost knocked out by Ezequiel Garay. Marcos Rojo did not hold back when flying in for the ball, clearing out Mueller. It set the tone for their duel, part physical, part verbal. Argentina attacked again, wasting a gift of a chance after 20 minutes. Kroos decided to head the ball back to Neuer, not checking for blue shirts.

Higuain took a touch, heading into inviting space with Neuer not in one of his sweeper moods.  Higuain glanced right, perhaps checking whether Messi was around. The Napoli centre-forward never looked convincing as he addressed the ball. He caught it with his shin, and dragged it wide. Awful.

Sabella's side were undeniably rattling Low's. Lavezzi burst through the middle and had his left heel clipped by Schweinsteiger, who was cautioned.

Then Messi, suddenly bringing vision and elegance to the occasion, hooked the ball right to Lavezzi. With his first touch, Lavezzi guided the ball into space and with his second, whipped in a cross turned in powerfully by Higuain. He tore away in celebration, away from the flag rising correctly to signal offside. Sabella knew immediately, wagging a finger to still his bench's celebration.

Kramer had never recovered from his collision with Garay and departed, looking shell-shocked, his eyes hollow. Cue an attacking move by Loew. Germany reorganised: Kroos dropped back alongside Schweinsteiger, Ozil moved across into the hole with Schurrle left.

Zabaleta promptly charged past Schurrle, his speed bringing a desperate, dangerous challenge from Howedes, whose studs burrowed into the Manchester City right-back. Howedes held his hands up immediately, acknowledging the offence, and accepting the booking.

The Germans dominated possession but still could not find a way through Sabella's well-organised defence. Even when Mueller found some space, Schurrle's shot was athletically saved by Romero.

The first period was not a classic but it was compelling to watch, shifting from end to end, Argentina almost doing more with less. Messi showed again, darting away from Hummels, heading the ball on, beating the centre-half for pace, refusing to tumble when an outstretched arm came across him.

But the little Argentinian was too focused on cutting the ball back. As Lavezzi stretched to turn it in, Jerome Boateng recovered to clear the danger. Such moments brought explosions of sound from supporters. It was so intense.

Mueller and Rojo squared up. Germany came so close to scoring, Howedes escaping from Mascherano and heading Kroos' corner against a post. Sabella made his first move at the break, sending on Sergio Aguero for Lavezzi.

Some space opened up for Messi and he took aim as thousands of his compatriots behind Neuer's goal stood hopefully. But Messi was almost too casual and rolled his shot wide.

After 56 minutes, Argentina were outraged by Neuer's charge from his line, leaping to punch the ball above Higuain but the momentum sending his knee into the striker's head. This was hardly a Harald Schumacher incident, but it still endangered a forward. Higuain was even more stunned when a free-kick was awarded against him.

Argentina were disciplined tactically, keeping their shape, denying Germany opportunities, but occasionally reverting to fouls to halt opposition moves.

CURLED

Mascherano brought down Klose and Aguero upended Schweinsteiger. Both were booked. The goal continued to elude the sides.

Schurrle almost broke through. Messi cut in from the right, emerging from a sea of white shirts, but curled his shot past Neuer's right-hand upright. Messi then dribbled past Hummels and Schweinsteiger, but Rodrigo Palacio, who had just replaced Higuain, failed to respond.

Germany then squandered a marvellous chance, Kroos shooting wide from Ozil's clever cut-back. Argentina's fans sang their anti-Pele song again, eliciting angry whistles from the Brazilians.

As the clock ticked towards the 90 minutes, the coaches tried to freshen their sides. Fernando Gago replaced Perez while Goetze came on for Klose, the greatest goal-scorer in World Cup finals history leaving the field to a standing ovation.

Extra-time was laboured until Goetze pounced. Romero saved from Schurrle. Boateng continued to impress, dispossessing Aguero. Palacio missed a wonderful chance, lifting the ball over Neuer but wide.

The final became briefly pockmarked. Mascherano caught Schweinsteiger's left instep. Then, Lucas Biglio and Mascherano clattered Schweinsteiger, whose cheek was opened up by Aguero.

But Germany had the last laugh. Schurrle stormed down the left, Goetze controlled the cross on his chest and then hooked his shot past the despairing Romero. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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