Thursday 25 December 2014

Super sub Mario Gotze's stunning winner gives Germany their fourth World Cup title

Paul Hirst

Published 13/07/2014 | 22:51

Germany's Mario Gotze celebrate winning the World Cup after the FIFA World Cup Final at the Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janerio, Brazil. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 13, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Final. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No use with any unofficial 3rd party logos. No manipulation of images. No video emulation.
Germany's Mario Gotze celebrate winning the World Cup after the FIFA World Cup Final at the Estadio do Maracana
Germany's players lift the World Cup trophy as they celebrate their 2014 World Cup final win against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Dalder (BRAZIL - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP)
Germany's coach Joachim Loew lifts the World Cup trophy beside his team after they won the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana stadium
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lifts the Golden Glove as he celebrates with teammates being named as the best goalkeeper at the end of their 2014 World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana stadium
Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates with the FIFA World Cup Trophy and team-mates after winning the FIFA World Cup Final at the Estadio do Maracana
Mario Goetze of Germany (L) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Thomas Mueller during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Germany celebrate defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates defeating Argentina 1-0 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
A dejected Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts after being defeated by Germany 1-0 in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina shakes hands with head coach Alejandro Sabella as he exits the game during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Germany celebrate defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Thomas Mueller (L) and Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany celebrate after defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose of Germany celebrate defeating Argentina 1-0 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Mario Goetze of Germany (L) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Jerome Boateng during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Mario Goetze of Germany celebrates scoring his team's first goal in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Mario Goetze of Germany scores his team's first goal in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Lucas Biglia (L) and Javier Mascherano of Argentina challenge Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana
Argentina's Rodrigo Palacio (R) shoots but fails to score a goal past Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during extra time in their 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro
Argentina's Lionel Messi (R) misses a goal opportunity during their 2014 World Cup final against Germany at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro
Germany's Benedikt Hoewedes (R) misses a chance to score during their 2014 World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro
Argentina's Lionel Messi (C) attempts a shot on goal against Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as Germany's Mats Hummels (R) challenges during their 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana stadium
Argentina's Marcos Rojo (L) fouls Germany's Thomas Mueller (C) during their 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro

Germany were crowned world champions for the fourth time thanks to a stunning extra-time winner from super-sub Mario Gotze.

Argentina were preparing for a penalty shoot-out in the Maracana, but in the 113th minute Gotze chested down Andre Schurrle's cross and volleyed home to cap a historic victory for the jubilant Germans.

It will take a while for Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Rodrigo Palacio to forget this defeat.

They were all guilty of missing good chances to give Argentina what would have been a glorious win in the home of their fiercest rivals Brazil.

Tens of thousands of Argentinians had flooded Rio hoping to see Messi inspire his team to their third World Cup win.

This was Messi's chance to put himself on a par with his idol Diego Maradona.

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)

But unlike in 1986, when Maradona captained Argentina to victory against the Germans, this was the Mannschaft's night.

And there would be few who would argue they did not deserve it.

Ever since they swept Portugal aside 4-0 in their opening match, Germany have looked destined to lift the famous trophy inside this famous stadium.

Blessed with talent from one to 23, they are a brutal attacking unit also capable of keeping things tight at the back.

The 7-1 destruction of Brazil in the previous round proved as much.

And in Low they have a coach who has answered his critics by becoming the first man to lead a European team to World Cup glory in South America.

It did not take for this game to live up to its pre-match billing as the ball flew from one end to another amid a backdrop of raucous noise, particularly from the Argentinians.

Higuain shot wide from a tight angle early on and Messi used his trickery to prize open the Germany defence, but Bastian Schweinsteiger put in a block.

Miroslav Klose came agonisingly close to heading home Philipp Lahm's cross at the other end.

Higuain then missed a glorious chance. Toni Kroos headed the ball over his own back four towards Higuain, who watched the ball drop perfectly on to his right foot.

Despite being two yards ahead of the chasing Mats Hummels, the Napoli striker dragged his shot wide. Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella was stunned. Substitute Sergio Aguero was so embarrassed for his team-mate that he pulled his training top over his head.

Higuain thought he had made amends when he tucked away Lavezzi's cross, but he was offside Cristoph Kramer, who had taken a knock to the head earlier, hobbled off and was replaced by Schurrle.

The first half came to a dramatic conclusion.

Messi squeezed the ball past Neuer, but Jerome Boateng cleared off the line.

And Benedikt Howedes hit a post with a header from Kroos' corner.

Less than 90 seconds after the restart Messi found a way through the Germany defence, but he dragged his shot a foot wide when he should have scored.

Neuer had to revert to the sweeper role he performed against Algeria as he came right to the edge of his box to punch a long ball by Zabaleta, taking Higuain in the process with his knee.

A dazed Higuain, holding his head, demanded a penalty, but the referee waved play on.

Mesut Ozil and Schurrle lost control of the ball in the box with the goal gaping.

As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, both teams started to take fewer risks.

Even a moment of magic from Messi was foiled by Neuer who came racing off his line to smother the ball after the Argentina captain has skipped past four defenders.

With nine minutes left Kroos placed a low shot wide, much to the annoyance of Low.

Klose's record-breaking World Cup career ended when he was substituted for Gotze in the 88th minute.

Gotze sent a weak shot into Sergio Romero's arms and the game then petered out until the referee blew to signal the end of 90 minutes.

Sabella tried to fire his men up with a motivational team-talk just before extra-time but it was Germany who came out stronger.

Argentina were almost a goal down when Muller returned Schurrle's pass and he fired a strong drive which Romero did well to parry.

Argentina had their big chance moments later when Hummels failed to clear a routine cross. The ball fell for Palacio, but his lob went wide.

Aguero drew blood from under Schweinsteiger's right eye as they jumped for the ball.

Then the killer moment came that won the Germans the World Cup.

Unlike many of his team-mates, Schurrle still had plenty of energy left in the tank.

He raced down the left-hand side past three Argentinians and crossed for Gotze who cushioned the ball on his chest swept the ball past Romero from close range.

It was a wonderful strike worthy of winning any tournament. The Argentinians inside the Maracana fell silent. Their party had been gate-crashed.

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