Germany beat Argentina to win World Cup

Mario Goetze scored the only goal of the match as Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

Germany’s defender and captain Philipp Lahm (front 2R) holds up the World Cup trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after winning the 2014 Fifa World Cup final football match between Germany and Argentina 1-0. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Germany have won the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil after beating Argentina 1-0 in the final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

Substitute Mario Goetze scored the winning goal deep into extra time, after 90 minutes failed to separate the sides in an evenly contested battle.

The start to the game was expectedly cagey, with both teams trying to grab a foothold on proceedings.

Argentina undoubtedly had the best chance of the first half after a stray Toni Kroos header fell at the feet of Gonzalo Higuain, who dragged his effort narrowly wide when one-on-one with German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Four-time Fifa Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi was relatively quiet in the first half, with the Argentine captain seemingly showing the effects of carrying the hopes of his nation on his shoulders.

Higuain then appeared to atone for his earlier miss when he fired the ball into the German net, but his effort was flagged offside, much to the disapproval of the Argentine fans in the stadium. Replays showed the assistant referee made the correct call.

Neuer was at his dominating best to deny Messi from close range when he looked certain to score, smothering the ball at the feet of the Barcelona man with the help of defender Jerome Boateng.

The contrasting styles of the two teams led to an end-to-end finish to the opening half, which ended with German defender Benedikt Howedes striking the post with a header from a corner.

The start of the second period saw the Argentinians fashion a host of chances, with Messi uncharacteristically wasteful when he dragged a shot wide of Neuer's goal.

Germany regained their composure and settled back into their rhythm as the clock ticked by, bossing possession without creating many clear cut chances.

The tactically astute Germans upped the tempo with around 10 minutes to play, flooding forward in wave after wave of attack. Their efforts went unrewarded however, as regulation time failed to separate the sides.

With both sides understandably wilting after an intense 90 minutes, the match headed to extra time.

Despite Die Mannschaft's momentum going into the additional period, the Argentines still threatened on the break. Substitute Rodrigo Palacio could have made himself a hero early in extra time, but his chip sailed over Neuer and dropped agonisingly wide of the goal.

The first period of extra time still offered no indication as to the destination of the Jules Rimet Trophy for the next four years.

However in the 112th minute, Mario Goetze - on as a substitute for Miroslav Klose - wrote his name into German folklore with a sublime piece of chest control and a swish of his left boot, volleying an Andre Schurrle cross past the despairing dive of Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

It was a sublime goal, truly fit to win any match, let alone a World Cup final.

It took 112 minutes, but one moment of brilliance was all that was required to send the Germans into raptures. Messi and Argentina slinked away into the Rio de Janeiro night with their runner's up medals weighing heavy on their necks, ruing their profligacy in front of goal over the course of the match.

Die Mannschaft were crowned champions of the world for the fourth time in their history. The bars of Munich and the street caf├ęs of Munich will be buzzing late into the night.

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