Germany, which embarrassed host country Brazil en route to the World Cup title game, reiterated its point on soccer superiority by edging, ever so slightly, Argentina, 1-0 to take the sport’s prized possession.
For the fourth time, the European country won the World Cup, this time on a stunning extra-time goal from super-sub Mario Gotze.
Argentina was preparing for a penalty shootout in the Maracana, but in the 113th minute Gotze chested down Andre Schurrle’s cross and volleyed home the score to cap a historic victory for the jubilant Germans.
“It’s incredible. The team did it beautifully,” said Manuel Neuer, who was voted the tournament’s best goalkeeper. “At some point we’ll stop celebrating, but we’ll still wake up with a smile.”
It will take a while for Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Rodrigo Palacio to forget this defeat. They were all guilty of missing good chances to give Argentina what would have been a glorious win in the home of their fiercest rivals, Brazil.
Tens of thousands of Argentinians had flooded Rio hoping to see Messi inspire his team to their third World Cup win. This was Messi’s chance to put himself on a par with his idol Diego Maradona.
“This was our chance, and we felt that way. We couldn’t do it. We have to lift our head and suffer the pain,” Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano said. “Obviously, the pain is tremendous. We wanted the cup for Argentina.”
But unlike in 1986, when Maradona captained Argentina to victory against the Germans, this was the Mannschaft‘s night.
And there would be few who would argue they did not deserve it.
Ever since they swept Portugal aside 4-0 in their opening match, Germany has been destined to lift the famous trophy inside this famous stadium.