Germany become world champions again | inside World Soccer

Germany become world champions again

[Monday, July 14, 2014 ]

Germany are world champions for the fourth time and first as a unified nation after a 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina at the Estádio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

Tens of thousands of Argentinians had flooded the iconic stadium hoping to see Lionel Messi inspire his team to a glorious win in the home of their fiercest rivals Brazil.

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.

Gonzalo Higuaín thought he had given Argentina the lead after 29 minutes when he tucked away Ezequiel Lavezzi's cross, but he was in an offside position and the goal was ruled out.

It was still goalless after 90 minutes, so became the seventh World Cup Final to go to extra time.

Argentina were preparing for a penalty shoot-out when substitute Mario Götze produced a moment of magic in the 113th minute to secure victory for the Germans.

The Bayern Munich playmaker controlled André Schürrle's cross with his chest before sweeping a volley past Sergio Romero from close range.

The triumph ended Germany's 24-year wait for ultimate glory, having lost the 2002 final to Brazil.

"We had the best team in the tournament," Germany captain Philipp Lahm told reporters.

"We made significant progress in the tournament again and again, did not let any setbacks get us down and stuck to our path.

"In the end, we stand as world champions. It's an incredible feeling. The team remained calm and patient, knowing we'd get our chance."

Having only turned 22 last month, Götze is the youngest World Cup Final scorer since his countryman Wolfgang Weber in 1966 against England.

He told "It's an unbelievable feeling, I don't know how to describe it.

"I just took the shot and didn't know what was happening. It's unbelievable. For us, the dream has become reality.

"I'm very proud of the team and extremely happy about everything that happened in Brazil.

"Every player in our team deserves named here and we're very proud to have won this trophy."

Die Mannschaft are also the first European team ever to win a World Cup on South American soil.

Germany boss Joachim Löw said: "We've always played good football and I believe that over this tournament, over seven matches, we've shown the best performances of any of the teams here in Brazil.

"The boys have also developed a team spirit which is unbelievable."

The World Cup trophy was not the only piece of silverware Germany collected after the match, with Manuel Neuer receiving the Golden Glove given to the tournament's best goalkeeper.

"We are so happy and our unity throughout the tournament was wonderful," said Neuer.

"I have always given my all for the team and the credit for this success goes to everybody. Now we must celebrate."

Meanwhile, Messi was surprisingly awarded the Golden Ball as the best player at the tournament after scoring four goals, none of which came in the knockout stages.

The Barcelona ace told reporters: "Golden Ball is not important. All I wanted was to lift the cup.

"We played a good game against a very good team. We deserved more, but we could not take the cup back home."

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