'Die Mannschaft' ends trophy-less drought
Germany has added a fourth star above their national team crest after prevailing 1-0 over Argentina after extra time in their World Cup final match in Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana Stadium on Sunday.
It was the impact of the "super subs" that made the difference. Andre Schuerrle came on as a first half substitute for a dizzy Christoph Kramer — who was a late addition to the starting eleven — and ran for 40 yards down the left flank before crossing for fellow substitute Mario Goetze who calmly controlled the ball beautifully on his chest before sweetly striking a volley inside the far post. It was a top drawer goal from Goetze on 113 minutes which was befitting of the occasion and was a finish that would have made the man whom he replaced — Miroslav Klose — proud.
Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain must be kicking his heels after throwing away a gift of a back pass from Toni Kroos by striking first time on the volley well wide of Manuel Neuer's goal. That was not all from Higuain either as he had the ball in the goal just 10 minutes later but was ruled to have been offside. Germany went closest to scoring in regulation time when Benedikt Howedes smashed a flying header against the upright from a Toni Kroos corner just before half time. The game slowed down in the second period, not much happening until extra time. Albiceleste had another glorious chance when Rodrigo Palacio chipped wide when all alone, just after Sergio Romero kept out Schuerrle's snapshot. Palacio's missed late chance added to Higuain's poor first half shot seemed to have cost Argentina the title.
It has been 18 years since Germany last won any international tournament and 24 years since they last prevailed on the World's biggest stage — also getting the better of Argentina in the final back then — and thus coach Joachim Loew must be feeling like a relieved man. As the most consistent team in World Cup history, Germany was coming under immense pressure to bring home the trophy — and did so after being arguably the best team throughout this tournament. Deservedly so, Phillip Lahm was the one that ended the night lifting the coveted World Cup trophy.
Highlights of Brazil 2014
Most disappointing team — Spain
Biggest flop of the tournament — Diego Costa
Surprise team of the tournament — Costa Rica
Biggest shock — Germany's crushing 7-1 win over Brazil
Biggest upset — Costa Rica 1-0 Italy
Goal of the tournament — James Rodriguez vs. Uruguay
Match of the tournament — USA 2 Portugal 2
Coach of the tournament — Jorge Luis Pinto
Worst moment of the tournament — Neymar's tragic back injury
Most memorable moment — Mario Goetze's World Cup winner