Germany wins their fourth World Cup title, with a 1-0 win over Argentina in the second half of extra time, of the 2014 World Cup final that took place in the imposing Maracana Stadium of Rio de Janeiro. Mario Götze's golazo, gave Europe their first title in South American soil, and at the same time, tying Italy as the European nation with the most World Cup titles.
It was a complicated first half for both teams, as Germany took it upon themselves to test the Argentinian defensive line, but underestimated the South American's counter-attack abilities. Napoli's stiker Gonzalo Higuain, flanked Germany and pulled of a wide shot that had already beat Manuel Neuer. This was the first close call of the game.
The albiceleste did took the ball forward up the field on the few times they had the ball, but it was the German squad with their ball retention and quick recovery that controlled the pace of the match. This cautious style was getting to the Argentine player's heads and midfielder Christoph Kramer would be the first to spill blood over this, when he was knocked out by Ezequiel's Garay shoulder that forcefully found the jaw of the Borussia Mönchengladbach player, who had to leave the field 15 minutes later, leaning on the shoulders of the technical staff, to give way to Andre Schurrle.
Argentina wasted a precious chance to go on top in minute 20th, when an unlikely pass from a bad head clearance from Toni Kroos, found Gonzalo Higuain completely unmarked against Neuer. The Argentine forward hesitated and sent the ball wide from post. An unlucky end to a play that doesn't happen twice in a World Cup final. Javier Mascherano's reaction to Higuain's miss was the reflection of the sentiments of a whole country.
'Pipita' Higuain would get a chance to redeem himself, when a right side cross from Ezequiel Lavezzi found the Napoli striker with the ball in front of goal and only pushed it in for the 1-0. Unfortunately for the out of favor striker,
the linesman justly raised his flag to disallow the whole play.
Lavezzi was having a greta game so far, being the link between ball recovery and Argentina's attack. The PSG forward even sold a cautionary card to Bastian Schweinsteiger, when he cleverly dived on the challenge against the Bayern Munich midfielder. To be fair, even with the television replays, it takes a trained eye to realize that Lavezzi was never touched on the challenge.
Sergio Romero was also stepping up to the challenge as he heroically cleared an Andre Schurrle powerful shot from inside the box, subsequently he also stopped Toni Kroos from writing his name in gold letters on the scoresheet, when the forward pulled of a strong low shot from outside the box.
Benedikt Höwedes almost opened the scored with a powerful header but the ball hit the post. The linesman raised his flag on the play anyways, and the German crowd was still waiting for the chance to jump off their seats. The defender also got himself a yellow card for a hard blow on Pablo Zabaleta only a few minutes earlier.
The first half ended in a stalemate.
Right from the start we realized the second half was gonna be as vivid and entertaining as the first, when Lionel Messi finally made a substantial appearance on the game, with his characteristic left foot shot that went inches wide from Neuer's goal. This was only in the first minute.
The alleged best player of all time, got another chance to put Argentina on top, when a precise Mascherano through pass, found 'la Pulga' in front of Neuer one more time, only to send the ball wide, one more time.
In minute 56, the South american country was 'cheated' out of a penalty kick, depending on the perspective you take on the play of course. A loose ball had Higuain competing against Neuer for possession, and the German keeper, without hesitation made the most of his size, stepped outside the box and leaped in the air to clear the ball away from danger, kneeing 'Pipita's' neck on the way.
Sergio Aguero, who cae in place for Lavezzi was failing to make an appearance on the match, as Mats Humels completely neutralized the Manchester hero. His desperate situation lead to him fouling Toni Kroos and forcing the ref to book him.
Mascherano also slipped up and recklessly tackled Miroslav Klose, earning a cautionary card in the process.
Higuain gave way to Inter Milan's Rodrigo Palacio on minute 77. Sabella was looking for ways to get pass Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was all over the field and had very well measured every player with a blue jersey on the field.
Philip Lahm set up
Toni Kroos with a perfect pass on minute 81. The midfielder took the ball outside the box and without hesitating kicked the ball wide from Romero's post, just as a naked streaker stepped in the field much to the delight/disgust of everyone in Maracana.
As both teams struggled to break each other's defensive lines in the final minutes, Joachim Löw, opted for Mario Götze in place of World Cup record holding top scorer Miroslav Klose. This change however would not influence the scoreboard as the teams headed for extra time.
Andre Schurrle had Segio Romero up on his toes with his unexpected and early shot at goal, that the Argentine keeper managed to clear. Germany kept pushing forward, giving the Argentinians a run for their money.
Rodrigo Palacio had a chance to give Argentina a breather in a counter, when he chipped a ball over Neuer in an intense one-on-one, that saw 'Pipita's' replacement crash and burn when his ball went wide.
The heat in Rio and the dense World Cup final atmosphere, must have taken a toll on Lionel Messi and Mesut Özil, who were one of the main absences of the match, as neither played shined as it was expected from them.
Germany maintained control of the game during the rest of the first 15 minutes, but were unable to break the frustrating deadlock, as the match was constantly paused with fouls.
The start of the second half of extra time, saw Golden ball nominee Mascherano get away with murder for the second time in the match, when he tackled an unsuspecting Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Bayern Munich midfielder was not exactly leaving this match unscathed.
On minute 108, Sergio Agüero would accidentally hit Bastian Schweinsteiger in the face, making him bleed all over the place. The ref took the midfielder out of the field, leaving Germany with only 10-men momentarily.
Bastian would return minutes later, in time to see Mario Götze engrave his name in World Cup history when he chested down an Andre Schürrle pass in the middle of the box, only to shoot home and break the deadlock.
Germany deservedly won this match, as they were the team who pushed for it the most.