Gotze fires Germany to World Cup victory

Mario Gotze scored a stunning goal in extra time to give Germany victory over Argentina in the World Cup final.

Gotze netted after being teed up Andre Schurrle, taking the ball on his chest and volleying past Sergio Romero.

The game was heading for penalties before Gotze’s intervention after the sides couldn’t be separated in an enthralling encounter. Chances came for both sides and Argentina wasted the best of them before Gotze finally broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion.

Joachim Low’s side was disrupted prior to kick-off when Sami Khedira had to withdraw from the XI with a calf injury. Christoph Kramer replaced him but lasted only half-an-hour when he had to be substituted after a head injury.

Khedira’s Real Madrid teammate Angel Di Maria was only fit for the Argentina bench but Marcos Rojo took his place at left-back despite missing training in the build-up to the match.

Gonzalo Higuain should have put Argentina in front when he latched on to Toni Kroos’ misplaced header but could only shoot wide, while he also had a goal disallowed before Benedikt Howedes, who should have seen red for an over-the-ball tackle, struck the post with a header from a corner.

Good chances came in the second half as well, most notably for Lionel Messi and Toni Kroos, but a finely-balanced tie has thus far failed to find a winner.

Howedes heading against the woodwork was essentially the last action of the first half but it was Argentina who started the second on the front foot. Messi had the best chance, played in by Lucas Biglia, but the captain dragged his shot past the far post.

Argentina may have felt they should have had a penalty on the hour mark when Higuain was clattered by an on-rushing Manuel Neuer. Neuer punched clear but kneed Higuain square in the face, but it was the striker penalised for a foul.

Tetchiness crept into an open game, both sides pushing their full-back high and wide up the pitch. Messi, quiet, cut inside and curled past the far post in a manner reminiscent of his goal against Iran.

Kroos rolled wide from the edge of the area after he was well found by Philipp Lahm while at the other end a couple of super tackles prevented Argentina finding space in similar positions.

Schurrle hammered a shot at Romero to start extra time while a rare mistake from Mats Hummels put Rodrigo Palacio one on one with Neuer, only for the Inter man’s lob to drop wide.

Javier Mascherano and Bastian Schweinsteiger commanded midfield in their own individual ways as the first half of extra time flowed into the second. But the former could have been shown a second yellow for a challenge on the latter while Sergio Aguero left Schweinsteiger blooded with a flailing arm that should have drawn sanction.

German blood was still boiling when Gotze controlled on his chest and lashed past Romero, putting Germany in front with seven minutes to play.

Neuer took charge of a dangerous situation moments later to preserve Germany’s lead before Messi almost fashioned a late equaliser. But Germany held on, largely untroubled, particularly by a wild Messi free-kick, to claim the country’s fourth world crown.

Germany 1-0 Argentina

Gotze 113

Germany: Neuer; Lahm, Hummels, Boateng, Howedes; Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Muller, Ozil (Mertesacker 120), Kramer (Schurrle 32); Klose (Gotze 88)

Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Garay, Demichelis, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano: Lavezzi (Aguero 46), Messi, Perez (Gago 86); Higuain (Palacio 78)

Referee: Rizzoli

Tags Argentina Germany Mario Gotze World Cup 2014