Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win soccer’s World Cup a fourth time.
Golden Ball: Winner: Leo Messi
Golden Glove: Winner: Manuel Neuer
Substitute Mario Goetze scored in the 113th minute to give the Europeans soccer’s biggest prize. The goal came in the second period of extra time, and allowed the Germans to avoid a penalty shootout. Both sides had chances in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium, with Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain shooting wide in the first half when he was one-on-one with Manuel Neuer.
In extra time, the European’s Andre Schuerrle hit the first shot of the period straight at Sergio Romero in the Argentine goal, while Rodrigo Palacio could only flick over the head of Neuer and out of play at the other end.
Germany’s fourth World Cup title makes it the first European team to capture the trophy in Latin America. It is Germany’s first first title since 1990.
Argentina, a two-time champion, was in the final for the first time in 24 years. Lionel Messi, a record four-time World Player of the Year, was trying to win his first World Cup title with the South Americans.
German midfielder Sami Khedira was injured in the warmups and was replaced by Christoph Kramer, who was replaced after 30 minutes following a blow to the head.
Through the first 20 minutes, the Europeans had 58 percent of possession, but didn’t have anything to show for the advantage. By 20 minutes into the second half, the advantage had grown to 63 percent of possession.
In the first half, Argentina had the best chance, with Higuain being played onside by a header back from Toni Kroos, but the Argentine forward bashed the shot wide.
Higuain had the ball in the German net after 30 minutes but was correctly ruled offside. Kramer’s replacement, Schuerrle, hit a shot right at Sergio Romero, but Mesut Ozil was flagged for being offside.
In the 40th minute, Messi ran up the German right, getting past Mats Hummels and in on Manuel Neuer but the ball was cleared by Jerome Boateng.
Just before halftime, Benedikt Hoewedes headed the ball off the post from a corner kick, but Romero was able to control the ball.
The first chance of the second half fell to Messi, who shot wide past a beaten Neuer in the opening minute. Miroslav Klose, who holds the record as the tournament’s career scorer, headed straight at Romero.
Going for Four
Kroos had a chance 10 minutes before the end of regulation time when Ozil feed him a pass just outside the penalty area but the midfielder’s shot trickled wide.
Germany’s team, known as Die Mannschaft, draws even with Italy on four world titles since the inaugural 1930 edition with a victory. Only Brazil, with five championships, has more. It was Germany’s eighth time in the final, more than any other country.
The six other previous editions in Latin America were won by Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay.
On June 8, Germany demolished Brazil 7-1 in the semifinal in Belo Horizonte, causing some home fans to break down in tears and leave the stadium early. The Germans scored five goals in an 18-minute stretch of the first half.
A World Cup host had never previously lost a game by more than three goals, and Brazil hadn’t allowed more than five in an entire World Cup since 1998.
It is the third final between Germany and Argentina. Diego Maradona’s Argentina beat Germany 3-2 in Mexico in 1986 and the Germans avenged the defeat with a 1-0 win in Italy in 1990.
Germany also won the tournament in Switzerland in 1954 and when it was the host nation in 1974.
Messi, Argentina’s 27-year-old captain, was voted FIFA world player of the year four times and won three European titles with Barcelona. Argentina reached the final by beating the Netherlands in a penalty shootout in the semifinals.