Germany beat Argentina by a whisker last night, in a tense World Cup final that saw 22-year-old midfielder Mario Gotze, win his side the trophy after scoring a crucial goal in the 113th minute of extra-time.
Before the action started, fans were treated to a closing ceremony spectacle courtesy of Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown and Colombian Popstar Shakira. Later hip-hop sensation Wyclef Jean and legendary guitarist Carlos Santana took to the stage to get fans even more pumped for the hotly-anticipated final of the World’s most-watched sporting extravaganza.
While most of the world had their eyes on the German squad, only one man was the focus for Argentina: Lionel Messi. He proved his class by helping his team make it to the World Cup final; many have even argued that he did so single-handedly. This was to be his big moment. 28 years earlier his mentor the great Diego Maradona, became a hero of the 1986 World Cup against the same opposition.
Ironically, (then West) Germany would overturn the defeat the next time these two sides met in a World Cup final – four years later in Italy. But last night, 24 years on, history repeated itself in a dramatic final that lasted a full 120 minutes.
Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain scored a flawless goal in the first half but was swiftly ruled offside. In the second half Messi had perhaps his best and only chance to score his signature left-footed shot on goal but it strayed off the net.
Their opponents on the other hand, had 5 chances to score. New World Record holder Miroslav Klose played close to 90 minutes but was unable to add to his impressive tally of 16 goals scored in World Cup competitions. Regardless, the 36-year-old Lazio forward was in top form, and did not allow for his age to get the better of him.
Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was a warrior on the field earning a scar on his face, just beneath his right eye. He was brilliant at winning his side some crucial free-kicks and the scar will forever remind him of this thrilling victory. Defender Benedikt Höwedes’ header from a Toni Kroos corner in the dying minutes of the first half, bounced right off the post and on the rebound Thomas Muller was caught offside.
With just seven minutes left to a penalty shootout, impact-sub Mario Gotze struck a powerful volley via a high cross from André Schürrle, to secure Germany yet another accolade in the history books.
Captain Messi had one last-chance free kick to make a comeback before the referee blew the whistle, but sadly the little maestro was unable to deliver. The free kick went high and wide and seconds later Germany was celebrating a historic win at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff handed German Captain Philipp Lahm the highly-coveted golden trophy on a star-studded night with icons Pele, David Beckham, Luis Ronaldo and Gisele Bundchen all in attendance.
Germany fought hard to keep the trophy in Europe and to become the first European team to win a World Cup final on South American soil. Klose ended the night and his World Cup career with a medal, and a record he will remember for the rest of his life… And the Germans went to bed united because of it!