Less than 24 hours since those incredible scenes played out at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janiero, the folks over at NBCNews.com put together a superb photo gallery of the game. That inspired me, so below is how the World Cup final played out.
RECAPPING THE 2014 WORLD CUP FINAL, IN PICTURES
Early on Christoph Kramer’s head collided with Ezequiel Garay’s shoulder. 15 minutes later Kramer left the field looking dazed and confused.
It wasn’t Gonzalo Higuain’s day, as the Argentina striker missed two glorious chances (plus had one disallowed) in the first half to give his side the lead.
In Berlin, the tension was unbearable for fans as Argentina and Germany battled it out in Brazil.
Back on the pitch at the Maracana, Higuain was smashed into by Neuer as tempers flared.
The Argentine defense held firm and forced extra time as Germany searched for the winner.
While Germany had to keep a close eye on Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi in the closing stages…
The moment Mario Gotze volleyed home the World Cup winner.
Cue scenes of jubilation back home in Germany…
… and in the stadium from the man of the hour.
Argentina’s fans were distraught as they saw their team give up a late goal.
Then the final whistle went as German players sunk to their knees and celebrated winning the 2014 World Cup.
Argentina’s players and manager look on and thought of what might have been.
As Germany lifted the fourth World Cup in their nations history.
Mario Gotze fact file: The lowdown on Germany’s World Cup hero, Super Mario!
It’s safe to say Gotze is now a national hero in Germany. There is going to be a lot of newborns called Mario this time next year…
Anyway, below is everything you need to know about Gotze as the game-winner has became a hero, icon and wunderkid with one majestic swipe of his left boot.
Full name: Mario Gotze Age: 22 Hometown: Memmingen, Bavaria Club team: Bayern Munich International stats: 35 apps / 11 goals Height: 5 ft 9 in Squad number: 19 Position: Playmaker, left, right, central midfield 2014 World Cup stats: 6 apps / 2 goals Fun fact: His father, Jurgen, is a renowned professor at the University of Dortmund
Other ‘Super Mario’ facts
Gotze was embroiled in a transfer brawl between Germany’s two biggest teams, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, last summer. Bayern found out Gotze had a buy-out clause in his contract the week before the two squared off at Wembley for the UEFA Champions League title. Then, they bought him. Uproar. Gotze, heading to Bayern but still a Dortmund player, didn’t play. After moving to the Allianz this season his career has failed to take off at Bayern. Maybe this goal will help.
Gotze is the second most expensive German player in history after Bayern splashed out $50 million for the talented attacker. Only Mesut Ozil $(64 million) cost more.
Gotze’s girlfriend is German lingerie model, Ann-Kathrin Brommel.
Gotze is held in high esteem from his manager, Joachim Low, who revealed in his post-match presser that he told Gotze at half time of extra time to: “Show to the world that you’re better than Messi and that you can decide the World Cup.” He did just that. No big deal…
Gotze is a standout guy who remembered his best mate Marco Reus during the greatest moment of his career. Gotze and Reus came up through Borussia Dortmund’s academy together, but Reus was badly injured in a warm up game before the World Cup and didn’t go to Brazil. Gotze dedicated his goal (plus he was holding Reus’ shirt after the game, see below) and the win to his good pal Reus. Fair play, Mario.
In what proved to be an intriguing tactical battle between two nations with contrasting styles, we learned an awful lot about Germany and Argentina as the 2014 World Cup came to a close.
Here are three things we learned from the final, as Germany became the new World Cup champions.
Higuain, Messi, fluff their lines
In the first half, Higuain could have put Argentina 2-0 up as the Albiceleste came racing out of the traps. However, the man who clinically fired Argentina past Belgium in the quarterfinals and has been so clutch for club and country in the past fluffed his lines. Massively. First of all he was let in over the top but shanked an effort wide after five minutes, then in the 22nd minute he put another effort wide after Toni Kroos’ poor header played him in. It just wasn’t Higuain’s day as he was taken out by Manuel Neuer in the second half, and somehow a free kick was given against him. Then he was substituted. Lionel Messi, despite winning the Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament, failed to score a single goal in the knockout stages of the World Cup and once again vanished in the final for large swathes. Messi’s big chance arrived just after the break as Lucas Biglia played him in, but the Barcelona star dragged his effort wide of the far post. Apart from a few darting runs and curling efforts from distance, Messi wandered around in the middle and looked extremely lethargic in the closing stages. He had a free kick in the dying seconds which he ballooned over the bar, then looked at the turf in disbelief as the Argentine captain winced painfully. When Argentina needed him most, Messi couldn’t come up with the goods.
Defense dominates, Mascherano shines
Throughout the entire knockout stages Argentina failed to concede a goal in regulation. Alejandro Sabella’s side went 426 minutes without conceding before Gotze struck the game-winner in extra time. Much had been made of the “fantastic four” up top for Argentina (Messi, Higuain, Di Maria, Aguero) but central defenders Martin Demichelis and Ezeqieul Garay were outstanding. Especially in the final. At times Argentine’s defensive unit look impenetrable but Gotze’s moment of magic was worthy of winning any game. Biglia and Javier Mascherano sat in front of the back four expertly and stereotypically snapped away at Germany’s midfield. Mascherano was simply wonderful. His timely interceptions stopped Germany’s flow time and time again and the amount of challenges he snapped into was essential in the engine room. He cajoled his side into action and was the lynchpin of Argentina’s defensive display. As for Germany, Manuel Neuer won the Golden Glove award as he kept four clean sheets and only conceded four goals in seven games throughout the entire tournament. The experience of defenders Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels proved the difference as Germany shut the Argentine’s out in the final. It was a tense, tight and gripping 1-0 win that made the world sit up and appreciate top-notch defending. We’ve seen plenty of tough games where two teams fought to the death in this tournament. The best was saved until last.
“Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
In England a saying has developed about Germany, with former England international and NBC’s Premier League Analyst Gary Lineker famous for these words.
“Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
Throughout this tournament Germany has found a way to dig deep and get past stubborn outfits like Algeria, France and then Argentina. They also possess the talent to hammer hosts Brazil and were worthy winners of the 2014 World Cup. They were the top scorers, with 18, and the best team. Germany won it with a moment of magic which deserved to win any final. Gotze’s goal was a golden moment.
His strike ensured Germany’s “Golden Generation” struck gold for the first time since 1990. In the end, as it always seems to shake out, the Germans win.
Germany won their fourth World Cup title as they beat Argentina 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
An entertaining first half played out, where both Gonzalo Higuain and Benedikt Howedes should have scored, but that gave way to a nerve-shredding second half and extra time period as Argentina and Germany could not be separated until the 113th minute when substitute Mario Gotze scored the game-winner.
Germany’s “Golden Generation” had their golden moment.
Fellow substitute Andre Schurrle got free down the left and curled in an inch-perfect cross which Gotze chested down and volleyed past Sergio Romero to send Germany wild. The Bayern Munich man became the first substitute to score in extra time of the World Cup final to dash Argentina’s dreams and write himself into World Cup folklore.
With their victory Germany became the first team from Europe to win a World Cup in the Americas, as they clinched their first World Cup since 1990 after an exhausting game between two giants of world soccer.
As for Argentina, Lionel Messi failed to deliver the goods on the biggest stage of all, as a brave defensive display from Argentina wasn’t rewarded despite the Albiceleste only trailing for seven minutes during the entire World Cup.
That proved pivtoal, as the 2014 World Cup went to Das Mannschaft.
In the fifth minute a menacing counter-attack from Argentina released Higuain but the Napoli forward dragged his effort wide of the far post after Germany had enjoyed much of the early possession. The German offense started to click into place as Muller, Ozil and Klose continued to link up well as the first half wore on, however another lung-bursting run from Messi down the right saw Mats Hummels struggling for pace but the Argentine captain’s cross was cleared away from danger.
Argentina were having plenty of joy down the right-flank, as Pablo Zabaleta surged forward and drilled an inviting cross that just missed everyone. Germany continued to dominate possession but Argentina were content to soak things up and hit Das Mannschaft on the break.
In the 22nd minute Higuain missed another glorious opportunity to give Argentina the lead as Toni Kroos misdirected a header back towards his own goal and put the Argentina striker in. However Higuain shanked his effort wide with only Manuel Neuer to beat, as the Argentine players, fans and coaches looked to the sky in disbelief. As half time approached Germany began to crank up the heat as Klose and Lahm were both thwarted by Sergio Romero. Higuain then had the ball in the back of the net as Messi’s ball from the right found the striker who finished superbly but he was in an offside position. Argentina’s fans had to stop celebrating as Higuain strayed offside when he should have known better. It turned out to be an afternoon to forget for Higuain. Soon after came a real talking point as Howedes went in late and extremely high on Zabaleta but only received a yellow card from referee Nicola Rizzoli, when it could have easily been a red.
Then young German midfielder Christoph Kramer (who was a late, late replacement for Sami Khedira who injured his calf in the warm up) was then taken off after failing to shake off a head injury he received from colliding with Ezequiel Garay’s shoulder early on. The game continued to ebb and flow, as Kramer’s replacement Schurrle side-footed a powerful effort towards the top corner but Romero palmed the ball away superbly. Five minutes before the break Messi went on another surging run and only a last-ditch block from Neuer stopped the Argentine, then Kroos scuffed a shot into Romero’s arms after an uncharacteristic giveaway from Javier Mascherano. Howedes then headed against the post from six-yards out as the goal beckoned, then Muller was flagged offside as the rebound hit him during a frantic end to a pulsating first half.
At half time Argentina went for it as Sergio Aguero replaced Ezequiel Lavezzi and it almost paid instant dividends as Messi was played through but the Barcelona star dragged his shot wide of Neuer’s far post. Usually when he’s one-on-one the net ripples. Not this time. There was an air of tension around the Maracana as both teams sat with two central midfielders just in front of the back four and looked solid as a rock. The second half proved to be much tighter than the first.
Neuer and Higuain then collided, as the latter received a nasty blow to the head, but somehow referee Rizzoli gave a foul against the Argentine player as things heated up. Mascherano and Zabaleta were both shown yellows in quick-succession as Germany tried to get in-behind but the final ball was eluded them. In the 74th minute Messi found a second-wind as he cut inside from the right but he bent a trademark effort wide of the far post. Then in the 81st minute Ozil cut in from the right and found Kroos on the edge of the box but the Bayern Munich hit a tame effort towards goal as Germany pushed for a late winner but they neither team could find one.
After a tight second half with the scores locked at 0-0, extra time started with a bang as Schurrle was again denied by a smart stop from Romero then Aguero broke twice on the counter but Argentina couldn’t take advantage of it as the game opened up.
In the 98th minute Rojo’s whipped in a delicious deep ball from the left and Hummels misjudged it to leave Palacios in the clear but Neuer was out like a flash and the Argentina looped his effort harmlessly wide. Both sides looked incredibly tired as the second half of extra time began with 15 minutes left before penalty kicks could decide the outcome.
PKs were not needed as Gotze stepped up to be the hero. In the 113th minute the Bayern star chested Schurrle’s cross down perfectly and finished powerfully past Romero to send the German fans into raptures. Despite a few last gasp attempts from Argentina, Germany held on to secure their first World Cup title since 1990 and are the Champions of the World.