Germany became the first European team to win the World Cup on South American soil with a 1-0 win over Argentina in the Maracana. A late Mario Gotze goal deep into extra time ended 24 years of hurt.
A deft touch from 22-year-old Gotze settled the final when he chested down substitute Andre Schurrle’s cross before dinking the ball past Golden Glove nominee Sergio Romero in the 113th minute.
Argentina had chances of their own in normal time and thought they had taken the lead on the half hour when Gonzalo Higuain turned in Ezequiel Lavezzi’s cross but the Napoli striker was denied by the linesman’s flag.
Higuain should have put the Argentines infront nine minutes earlier but spooned a volley horribly wide after a poor back header from Toni Kroos.
Rodrigo Palacio had an even better opportunity seven minutes into the first period of extra time but could only direct his lob wide of Manuel Neuer’s post after Mats Hummels missed Marcos Rojo’s cross field pass.
Die Mannschaft were not far way themselves in the first half when Schurrle’s snapshot was wonderfully saved by Romero after Thomas Muller’s pull back from the left. Romero’s save even more impressive as a German forward was blocking his way.
They came closest when Benedikt Howedes’ header rattled the post following Kroos’ corner. The ball landed at the feet of Muller who was ruled offside but Romero was there to smother anyway.
Lionel Messi failed to reach his best yet again and will rue his best shooting chance that arrived two minutes into the second half – dragging a shot wide after being played in by Lucas Biglia.
Kroos could have won the game for Germany in normal time but hit a wasteful shot wide after being set up by Schurrle.
Schurrle himself had the chance to win the final for Joachim Loew’s side, his stinging shot one minute into the extra time period was straight at Romero however.
The game did have its ugly stages though, first Neuer clattered HIguain in a 50-50 challenge that almost resembled Harald Schumacher and Patrick Battiston’s clash in 1982 and left Higuain out cold for a short period. The Argentine was penalised.
Sergio Aguero was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch himself after being involved in a nasty collision with Bastian Schweinsteiger that left the Bayern Munich midfielder bleeding.
It is Germany who are world champions though for the first time since 1990 – where they beat Argentina in the final.