Gotze plays hero as Germany beat Argentina in World Cup final

In a World Cup marked by the accomplishments of bench players, it was another substitute that came through in the Final.

Mario Gotze made his way into the match for Miroslav Klose in the 88th minute, but made his mark in extra time, chesting down an Andre Schurrle cross and volleying a sensational ball past Argentine keeper Sergio Romero to deliver Germany their fourth World Cup.

Germany now trail only Brazil in overall World Cup championship victories and are tied with Italy for second. They also become the first European team to win a World Cup in the Americas.

Argentina continued their strong defensive form, holding Germany off for 113 minutes of scoreless action. With the crowd firmly behind them, the Albiceleste did have several opportunities to score. Their first real chance came in the 21st minute, with a terrible turnover by the otherwise solid Toni Kroos that landed in front of goal for Gonzalo Higuain. The Napoli striker took the open chance and sent it far left of goal.

That was not the end of Higuain’s troubles. Minutes later, the striker found his way past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on a great sequence with Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi, but the goal was called off due to a clear offside infraction — even if his celebration told a different story.

Already without Sami Khedira, who picked up a calf strain in warm-ups and was a late scratch, replacement Cristoph Kramer was forced out after suffering a head injury. Andre Schurrle came in for the midfielder in the 32nd minute.

Messi, who was held quiet by the imposing German attack, nearly found goal minutes into the second half. The Barcelona playmaker found space left of the box, beat his defender and sent a low shot across the face of goal and just right of net.

Germany were buzzing through most of the match, but could not find a clear opportunity. All-time World Cup goal scoring leader Klose found a clear chance in the 59th minute, but Romero was up for the challenge. Germany also closed the second with a chance from Schurrle but could not solve the Argentine keeper.

Ultimately, a brilliant moment from Gotze was all it took to unlock Romero, taking an unexpected shot and putting an end to Argentina’s World Cup aspirations.

Germany now take the all-time series in World Cup Final matches against Argentina, having won in 1990 and 2014, but dropping a memorable match in 1986 to Diego Armando Maradona and his side.

For Messi, a tournament that was supposed to cement his name alongside the game’s greats fell just short. He did, however, receive the consolation prize of winning the tournament’s Golden Ball trophy for outstanding play. German keeper Neuer won the Golden Glove award for top keeper.

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  • purdyrd

    The vibe on the ground here in Brasil was anyone but Argentinia! Most of the Brasilians took to rooting for Germany as they did not want to see their arch rivals win on their home soil. Brasil’s fans are embarrassed on loosing two of their last matches and even rooted for Holland during the end of the 3rd place match. The whisltes and boos echoed the national stadium as the host nation side was sent off the pitch with their heads hung down.

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