Beginning as tournament favorites months ago, Germany proved their mettle in the World Cup final against Argentina at the iconic and truly magnificent Maracana stadium at Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night. Playing in front of pack stands, Germany did not exactly dish out their best but it was enough to score the decisive victory over the lackluster Argentina in the historical third meeting of the two famous rivals. The celebrity crowd on Sunday included German chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The heartbroken Argentinians wept openly even as the German fans went into a frenzy of celebrations. Lionel Messi appeared shell-shocked and his demeanor did not change even when he climbed the prize distribution area for receiving the Golden Ball award and the silver medallion. On the other side, chancellor Merkel enthusiastically hugged each German player and the coach during the award ceremony. She also posed with the team for a memory photograph, shot with the World Cup trophy.
Despite Germany playing a better game, they couldn’t score during the regular play time and even in the first half of the extra-time. Argentina defended admirably but their overall game failed to rise to the level of any significance. With higher ball possession, the Germans made several impressive moves into the Argentine box but none of these could be converted into goals. Argentina too had their chances but missed the target at crucial junctures.
As the match began, an Argentina defender wrongly obstructed Muller and Germany got the first free-kick of the game but their failed effort resulted in a counter from Argentina. However, the enterprising Gonzalo Higuain shot wide. In the first 10 minutes, there was another stride from Muller but the alert Romero foiled his attempt, after which Messi was seen running towards the German goal but couldn’t capitalize on the move. Germany earned their first corner in the 11th minute, when fast running German left back was tackled by Argentine defender Lavezzi, who cleared the ball. Lahm’s corner came swinging in but again the Argentinian defenders averted the danger before Muller could do any damage. Germany earned two more corners immediately afterwards but both were wasted efforts. While Germany kept putting pressure on the Argentine goal, another chance was grabbed in the 22nd minute by Higuain, who ran all the way and had only the goalkeeper to beat. In a rush, however, Higuain shot wide. It was Higuain again in the 30th minute, when he received a brilliant pass from Lavezzi and this time he shot into the goal. But Higuain didn’t see the off-side flag on his back as he ran away to celebrate. It was a sore disappointment for Argentina. In the 39th minute, Argentina got another close chance, when Messi brilliantly cut across a number of German defenders and even beat the goalkeeper but the ball was cleared by a German defender as Messi lost his balance. 20 minutes into the second half, another dazzling move from Messi brought him face to face with Neuer but amazingly, he shot wide yet again. In between German forwards also made several creditable moves but Argentinian defenders kept them at bay. Towards the end of 90 minutes, the game became a bit rough from both sides with a flurry of fouls, yellow cards and free-kicks and finally ended goalless. In the 89th minute Mario Goetze had come in for Miroslav Klose, who finished his last match in the FIFA World Cup. He was warmly applauded by an appreciative crowd for his long-ranging contribution, spanning four World Cup games.
In the first minute of the extra time, Schurrle had the best scoring chance of the entire match but a great save from Romero saved the day for Argentina. On a counter-attack immediately, Aguero’s heroic sprint was cut short by a German defender. In the 97th minute another chance came Argentina’s way, when Roja set Palacio on the run at the expense of the German defenders but Palacio’s attempt was too hard to find the target. The winning goal finally came, when Schurrle moved from left and sent a cross to Goetze at the near post. The substitute first took the ball on his chest and then volleyed it into the back of the net. With 7 minutes left for the match, nothing unusual took place except another wasted free kick from Messi. With that miss, Argentina lost their chance and the Germans recorded their fourth World Cup triumph.
In a ceremony held before the start of the final, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff completed a symbolic hand-over of the World Cup to the Russian president Vladimir Putin for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup. The two leaders were joined by FIFA president Sepp Blatter inside the Maracana Stadium. Putin congratulated President Rousseff for the successful hosting of the 2014 World Cup and assured that Russia will do its best for successfully organizing the 2018 World Cup. Blatter presented a signed certificate to mark the handover. He also presented an official match ball to each president.