Germany 1-0 Argentina: Mario Gotze scores World Cup winner for Germans in extra-time
- Gotze volleys home in 113th minute to give Germany victory
- Lionel Messi misses golden chance for Argentina in second half
- Gonzalo Higuain skewed ball wide when through in first half
- World Cup final 2014 finished 0-0 after 90 minutes
GER vs ARG MATCH ZONE
Javier Mascherano was absolutely everywhere for Argentina – here is his heat map
At first glance it looked so simple. Almost a toe-poke, in fact, such was the quickness of thought, and movement. And then, around the mighty Maracana stadium, those in celebration and despair searched for the replay on the giant screens. There it was, in all its glory. A goal to grace a World Cup final, a goal that was so much more than the sum of its parts. Like Germany, some will say.
Good cross, good finish – but the technique, the technique. This German win is about so much more than efficiency and graft. Yes, they do the basics, too; but it is laced with beauty and aesthetic perfection when it needs to be.
Manuel Neuer will change the way the next generation keeps goal. Thomas Muller deserves to be mentioned beside just about any midfield player in the world, right now; so too Bastian Schweinsteiger. Germany ride adversity, as they did here when the vital Sami Khedira went lame in the warm-up. Their last two performances would deserve victory at just about any World Cup: to defeat Brazil 7-1 on their turf is simply earth-shattering.
We are the champions! Germany captain Philipp Lahm (front, second right) holds the World Cup aloft
On top of the world: Germany celebrate as they lift the iconic trophy at the Maracana
The boss: Germany coach Joachim Low (centre) lifts the World Cup as his players celebrate around him
Tears of joy: A weepy Andre Schurrle is congratulated by his girlfriend Montana Yorke after the match
Winners: Mario Gotze (left) and Thomas Muller celebrate the substitute’s crucial goal
Mob rule: Gotze (No 19) is surrounding by his ecstatic team-mates after scoring the winning goal in the final
Joy and despair: The Germany players go wild after the goal but the Argentines are out on their feet
Germany: Neuer 7; Lahm 7, Boateng 8, Hummels 6, Howedes 6; Kramer 5 (Schurrle 32, 6.5), Schweinsteiger 8, Muller 7.5, Kroos 7, Ozil 6.5 (Mertesacker 119), Klose 7 (Gotze 88, 8).
Subs: Zieler, Grosskreutz, Ginter, Schurrle, Podolski, Draxler, Durm, Khedira, Weidenfeller.
Booked: Schweinsteiger, Howedes.
Goal: Gotze 113.
Argentina: Romero 7; Zabaleta 7.5, Demichelis 6.5, Garay 6.5, Rojo 7; Biglia 7, Mascherano 7.5, Perez 6 (Gago 86, 6), Higuain 5.5 (Palacio 78, 5.5), Messi 7, Lavezzi 7 (Aguero 46, 6).
Subs: Orion, Campagnaro, Di Maria, Rodriguez, Augusto Fernandez, Federico Fernandez, Alvarez, Basanta, Andujar.
Booked: Mascherano, Aguero.
Man of the match: Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
Ratings by MARTIN KEOWN
The perfect team versus the perfect superstar that was the narrative here. On one side Die National Mannschaft, on the other Lionel Messi. Yet football has a way of confounding such glib expectations. Mario Gotze scored a wonderful team goal, true, but with a level of professional excellence that would have guaranteed Messi the Golden Ball had it came from his foot to win this game. They gave it to him anyway, because that’s FIFA. They’ve got sponsors to serve, and stuff the football.
So how did Germany win this World Cup? In wonderful style. With eight minutes of extra time remaining, Andre Schurrle sprinted down the left. He finally outwitted an exhausted Argentine defence, finding Gotze in space. He took it on his chest, let it fall, finished it left foot on the volley past goalkeeper Sergio Romero. And, making the difficult look easy, the World Cup was done.
The best team won. The first Europeans on South American soil, which takes some doing, and the first team here to stifle Messi while still discovering a route to goal themselves.
No coincidence either that assist and goal are both credited to German substitutes. This is not a team effort, truly, but the work of a group, a squad, a collective. Only Neuer’s understudies in goal and three outfield players were unused here. The rest played a part. Some came and went, others found a niche from the bench.
Superb stretch: Mario Gotze volleys in Germany’s winner with his left foot after taking a cross on his chest
Big chance: Rodrigo Palacio (No 18) goes through in extra-time with glory beckoning
Not good enough: Palacio dinks the ball over Manuel Neuer – but it went wide
Going the extra mile: Andre Schurrle (right) has a shot saved right at the start of extra-time
Throwing himself: Schurrle goes to ground in the Argentina area but no penalty is awarded
When misfortune befell Khedira and he was withdrawn from the starting line-up, his replacement was a 23-year-old who had never started a competitive international game, Christoph Kramer. That is true strength in depth. The poor soul only lasted 30 minutes after receiving an accidental blow that must have felt like a sucker punch, but that is not the point. He was trusted, he did his bit – that is what this German team is all about.
For the hosts there would be no Maracanazo Part II – no Argentinian triumph to sit beside the Uruguayan one in 1950 at the temple of Brazilian football. Their heartbreak ended on Saturday, with a second mauling by Holland.
That was probably just as well. They couldn’t live with Germany and Argentina’s counter attacking prowess may have undone them here, too, which may have felt ever worse. Germany were often at full stretch and Messi, Rodrigo Palacio and Gonzalo Higuain missed some fine chances. If there was a shock, that was it.
Germany’s win was not entirely unforeseen, but Messi failing one on one against Neuer was. He still got tossed his bauble but it would have felt an empty gesture from the suits. Messi knows the grand prize could have been his and Argentina’s. He is intelligent enough to be aware that he may never pass this way again.
Collision: Manuel Neuer (centre) cleans out Gonzalo Higuain on the edge of the area after punching clear
On the way down: Neuer and Higuain following their clash in the second half
Through: Messi gets ahead of the Germany defenders at the start of the second half
Taking aim: Messi strikes the ball towards goal with his trusty left foot
Getting the shot off: Now Messi can only watch as the ball goes towards Germany’s goal
Agonising: Messi (left) watches as the ball rolls just wide of Neuer’s far post
VIDEO All Star XI: Manuel Neuer highlights
For Messi, Diego Maradona’s crown might now sit beyond his grasp. He could not conjure the same global triumph of football’s great anti-hero. A last desperate free-kick flew wildly over the bar. The chance to change history at this World Cup passed into oblivion with it.
Messi moments, we call them: that split second when the player many still regard as the finest in the world breaks free, leaves the rest of the species behind and defines the game. He does not miss from there, we know that. One on one, defenders in his wake, only a goalkeeper to guard the target, Messi at that range is like no other. Except here. Except here, in the biggest game of his international career.
In the Maracana, the venue he was going to wrestle from so many famous Brazilians who have never lifted the trophy in this stadium of stadiums. Here, of all places, Messi faltered.
The second-half was minutes old when Lucas Biglia of Lazio played what was quite possibly the pass of the night. Messi snapped it up, as he always does. It hadn’t been his greatest game, but it hadn’t been his worst either. He was beginning to look leggy, tired, played out as Gary Lineker, and Messi’s own father, feared. Maradona said you cannot be too spent for a World Cup final, of course, but he did have a rather unique way of pulling himself around.
Crowd scene: The Germany players get around Messi in an attempt to restrict his space
So close: Benedikt Howedes (left) heads the ball against the post from close range just before half-time
Against the woodwork: Howedes’ header cannons against the post
Regret: Howedes (centre) holds his head after hitting the post
This, however, was all above board. Messi versus Neuer – straight up, no chaser. And he missed. Incredibly, he missed. Had Neuer saved we would have understood. He’s been the best goalkeeper at this tournament by some distance. This time, he wasn’t even required to act beyond a narrowing of the angle.
Messi went for the shot curling low across the face of goal, and over-compensated. Carrying the nation on his shoulders is a formidable burden – for one man, even for one team. In the end it was too much. Better to be Germany, Messi must have thought. Better to share the load.
Argentina have had some excellent individuals, certainly in defence, but have won only a game in which Messi did not score, or make, the important goal. That weight is too heavy for his slight shoulders.
Argentina broke dangerously but lacked the cutting edge. A mistake by Toni Kroos played Higuain in but he screwed his shot wide, Mats Hummels was dead on his feet when Palacio was left facing Neuer in the first-half of extra time, but he tried a lob, misdirected.
Trying to find a way through: Messi (centre) pokes the ball past Neuer but Germany clear
Ouch: Pablo Zabaleta (right) is down on the turf after a challenge from Howedes
In the book: Howedes is cautioned by Nicola Rizzoli for the foul on Zabaleta
Good connection: Higuain strikes the ball cleanly and it goes towards the net as Philipp Lahm (left) correctly appeals for offside against the striker
False hope: Higuain puts the ball into the net – only for the goal to be ruled out by an offside flag
Ecstasy: Higuain (right) runs off to celebrate – but his joy was short-lived
Not so fast: Higuain and Rojo run off arms aloft but it did not count
Germany’s best chance came from a dead ball, a corner met by Benedikt Howedes in the centre of the goalmouth that he steered on to a post. If chances were not entirely plentiful that was more due to fine defensive cordon deployed by both teams.
Yet this is the World Cup that, more than any others, confirms the new utilitarian nature of the game at this level. Kramer was not even in Low’s original extended squad of 30, and was only called up following injury to Andre Hahn, so this was his second battlefield promotion.
Gotze is the first substitute to decide a World Cup final, while Schurrle’s impact on games is beyond dispute: six matches in Brazil, all as a substitute, three goals and a cross for the winner in a World Cup final.
He looked as happy as any starter as Germany cavorted with the first trophy to leave a South American World Cup for the old country. So he should. The team’s the thing.
Proceed with caution: Bastian Schweinsteiger is shown a yellow card by referee Nicola Rizzoli
Down and out: Christoph Kramer was attended to after colliding with an Argentina player but later went off
Off night: Kramer looks despondent as he is helped down the tunnel after half an hour
Commanding: Sergio Romero takes the ball with Miroslav Klose (right) in attendance
Lining up: Higuain pulls his foot back as Germany defender Mats Hummels can only watch
Skewed: Higuain mis-hits his shot from the edge of the area when through on goal
Haunting: Higuain is on his haunches after missing the glorious chance
Down: Kramer on the turf in pain after a collision with one of Argentina’s players
Surrounding him: Germany’s players try to get close to Messi to prevent him weaving his magic
You’ve got to get to the line: Messi cuts the ball back after running away from Hummels
Big player on the big stage: Messi shields the ball from Germany full back Hoewedes
Aerial duel: Ezequiel Garay gets above Klose to win the header
Clear: Thomas Muller is tackled by Martin Demichelis during the opening exchanges
Flying start: Lucas Biglia (left) hurls himself through the air to win a header in his own half
No way through: Muller is challenged by Argentinian defensive pair Marcos Rojo (left) and Garay
Shadow play: Mesut Ozil tries to evade Argentina midfielder Biglia in the early stages
Keeping an eye on him: Hummels (No 5) tries not to let Ezequiel Lavezzi get away from him
Striding out: Messi leads out the Argentina side as they go to warm-up ahead of the game
Family affair: David Beckham and sons Brooklyn (left), Cruz and Romeo (right) in Argentina shirts – their father must have forgiven the nation for France 98
Glittering prize: Carles Puyol (left) and Brazilian model Giselle with the World Cup trophy
Support act: A Germany fan smiles for the camera and (right) Khedira’s girlfriend Lena Gercke
Sitting pretty: Argentina supporters pose in the Maracana before the World Cup final
Sending a message: Germany supporters hold up a banner reassuring the Brazilians