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Germany Rules The World

Germany Rules The World

Mario Gotze’s 113th-minute volley fired Germany to World Cup glory with a 1-0 win over Argentina at the Maracana.

The tournament’s outstanding team failed to repeat the fluency and brilliance of their 7-1 semi-final romp against Brazil, but Joachim Low’s team found one more sumptuous moment during the second half of extra time.

435035_heroaBayern Munich playmaker Gotze, on as an 88th-minute replacement for World Cup record goalscorer Miroslav Klose, chested down Andre Schurrle’s floated left-wing cross at the near post to superbly steer home from six yards.

It was the first time Argentina had found themselves behind in the competition and it came as a bitter pill to swallow after Alejandro Sabella’s men had created the better chances in normal time.

Gonzalo Higuain passed up a glorious opportunity midway though the first half and the Argentina striker also had a first-half effort correctly ruled out for offside.

Germany defender Benedikt Howedes then headed against the post on the stroke of the interval and, after the break, passions threatened to boil over in what was an understandably feisty encounter.

Lionel Messi fired agonisingly wide shortly after the restart, while Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was lucky not to be punished for clattering a knee into Higuain’s face as the striker ran through on goal.

Neuer’s opposite number, Sergio Romero, denied Schurrle inside the first minute of extra time, while fellow substitute Rodrigo Palacio fluffed his lines at the other end before Gotze sealed Germany’s fourth World Cup triumph.

IMG-20140713-WA005The newly crowned champions were forced into an 11th-hour change after influential midfielder Sami Khedira suffered the heartbreak of sustaining a calf strain during the warm-up.

Christoph Kramer came in for the Real Madrid man, despite having only played 12 minutes during the tournament and being absent from Low’s provisional 30-man squad before replacing Andre Hahn.

Toni Kroos drilled an early free-kick into the defensive wall, prompting an Argentina break on which Ezequiel Lavezzi shot across the face of goal.

Veteran Germany striker Klose was then muscled away from Philipp Lahm’s inviting 13th-minute cross by Martin Demichelis as Low’s men settled into an ominous rhythm, although Ezequiel Garay’s shuddering shoulder charge into Kramer’s face that ultimately cut short the 23-year-old’s fairytale appearance showed Argentina were not ready to be dictated to.

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