Germany’s players celebrate after winning 1-0 on extra time at the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday. Hassan Ammar/AP
In a tense match that saw a lot of action but no score for more than 90 minutes of play, Germany was finally victorious over Argentina to take home the 2014 World Cup title on Sunday with a 1-0 win.
In a game that at times seemed more like a rugby match or WWE bout — with head injuries, flying knees and even an eye rake — both teams displayed hardy defenses and a hungry offense.
Two early opportunities from Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain failed to put them on scoreboard. One sailed wide, but the other found the back of the net only for Higuain to be called offsides. His celebration was short lived.
Argentina’s captain and four-time player of the year Lionel Messi also sent a first half attempt within inches of finding the net.
The New York Times wrote this about Messi’s performance:
Messi is often praised as the best player in the world, but he has struggled to gain universal acclaim in Argentina, where he will forever be compared with Diego Maradona — who, of course, delivered a World Cup title in 1986. This was seen as Messi’s opportunity to cement his legacy, but along with most of his teammates, he was never quite sharp enough in what was surely the biggest game of his life.
Germany didn’t fare much better. A header from Benedikt Höwedes bounced off of the post toward the end of the first half and the game remained scoreless as the teams marched off the field.
And that’s how it stayed for the second half and the first part of extra time; both teams fighting hard to gain ground as time ticked away.
It seemed like the game was headed toward a penalty shootout, as several games of this World Cup did, until Germany’s Mario Götze, in the 113th minute of time, chested down an André Schürrle cross before volleying it past Argentina goalie Sergio Romero to win and take home the victory.
The win makes Germany four-time World Cup champions, but it is the first win as a unified nation. The victory also gives them the honor of being the first European team to win the title on South American soil.
This is the second time Germany has defeated Argentina for a World Cup title, having done so in 1990, the last time they won.