In a tense match that saw a lot of action but no score for more than 90 minutes of play, Germany was finally victorious over Argentina to take home the 2014 World Cup title on Sunday with a 1-0 win.
It seemed like the game was headed toward a penalty shootout, as several games of this World Cup did, but Mario Goetze ended Germany’s 24-year wait for another World Cup title, scoring the game winning goal in extra time.
Goetze, who wasn’t born when West Germany beat Argentina in the 1990 final, controlled a cross with his chest in the 113th minute and in one fluid motion volleyed the ball past goalkeeper Sergio Romero and inside the far post.
Goetze had come on as a substitute for Miroslav Klose at the end of regulation time and the 22-year-old midfielder’s fresh legs made the difference.
When Gotze scored, it marked the first time in the entire World Cup that Argentina trailed in a match. In the end, the Argentines allowed only eight goals in the tournament, but failed to score in the final 322 minutes of this World Cup. All of Messi’s four goals in Brazil were scored during the group stage. Considering this tournament tied the all-time record for most goals in a World Cup, the South American side appeared out of sync with the occasion.
Two early opportunities from Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain failed to put them on scoreboard. One sailed wide, but the other found the back of the net only for Higuain to be called offsides. His celebration was short-lived.
Argentina’s captain and four-time player of the year Lionel Messi also sent a first half attempt within inches of finding the net.
The New York Times wrote this about Messi’s performance:
Messi is often praised as the best player in the world, but he has struggled to gain universal acclaim in Argentina, where he will forever be compared with Diego Maradona — who, of course, delivered a World Cup title in 1986. This was seen as Messi’s opportunity to cement his legacy, but along with most of his teammates, he was never quite sharp enough in what was surely the biggest game of his life.
It was also the third World Cup final between these countries and had been billed as a matchup between the perfect team and the perfect individual, pitting the well-oiled machine that was Germany against the brilliance of Messi, the four-time world player of the year.
But in the biggest game of his career, Messi came up short.
The win makes Germany four-time World Cup champions, but it is the first win as a unified nation. The victory also gives them the honor of being the first European team to win the title on South American soil.
Check out the highlight video of Sundays finale and the fallout of Germany’s win on Twitter below.
— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 13, 2014
— adidasfootball (@adidasfootball) July 13, 2014
— UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) July 13, 2014