Germany became the first European nation to win a World Cup in South America after defeating Argentina 1-0 in a cagey final that lasted into extra time. Though all eyes were on Lionel Messi, it was substitute Mario Gotze from team Germany who scored the decisive goal that simultaneously elevated the Germans to World Cup glory, and brought the Argentines to their knees.
In the build up to the 2014 World Cup final, this ultimate match was billed as a team versus the world’s best player: Germany versus Lionel Messi. Much had been made of Messi’s impact for Argentina, and rightly so. Messi had carried the weight of his national team on his shoulders throughout the tournament, scoring four goals and providing one assist. But there is only so much one man can do against eleven. For much of the final, the German defense effectively contained Messi and prevented him from creating his usual magic.
Though the Germans bossed all sides of the pitch and dominated possession for the majority of the match, there were a few moments when Argentina seemed poised to take the lead. Argentine forward, Gonzalo Higuain, was able to beat German keeper, Manuel Neuer, but was ruled offside. Messi shot across the face of goal, inches away from pushing his team to victory.
Germany had gilt-edged chances, too. André Schürrle and Götze both shot straight at the Argentine keeper, while Benedikt Höwedes hit the post. With the clock ticking closer to another penalty shootout, Schürrle ran the ball down the left wing in the 112th minute, pulling the Argentine defence towards him. Schürrle chipped the ball over his opponents to the oncoming Götze, who trapped the ball with his chest, then volleyed past the Argentine keeper, Sergio Romero.
After 34 days, 64 matches, and 171 goals, it was a single goal in extra time that lifted Germany to the heights of world soccer, and crowned them 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions!
Congratulations Deutschland, and Obrigado Brazil for what has been the most entertaining World Cup.