Germany scored in the 23rd minute of extra time in the final match of this World Cup, bringing the title back to the European nation for the fourth time and sending adversary Argentina and its superstar striker Lionel Messi home empty-handed.
Germany and Argentina fought a scoreless match for the full 90 minutes of regulation, sending the final into overtime in front of the crowd of mostly Argentina supporters packed into Rio’s famous Estádio do Maracanã. Germany finally struck in the 113th minute, when substitute Mario Götze whipped a pass from André Schürrle past Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero, sending the German bench and fans into a frenzy. The German celebration was joined by the many yellow-clad Brazilian fans in the stands, who were dreading the possibility of seeing their football archrival Argentina triumph on their turf.
Fortunately for the Brazilians and Germans alike, it was not Argentina’s day. Though the South Americans had several golden opportunities throughout the first 90 minutes of the match, they failed to capitalize on any of them, and their efforts to come up with an 11th-hour equalizer after Germany’s late goal were unsuccessful. The estimated more than 100,000 Argentines who came to Brazil hoping to see their team emerge victorious were instead resigned to drowning their sorrows in a few extra caipirinhas.
The outcome will do little to quell grumbling within Argentina about the country’s top player, Lionel Messi, who has yet to lead the national team to the title so many supporters feel it deserves. Though Messi is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest players of his generation and even received this tournament’s Golden Ball award for most valuable player, his failure to win a World Cup continues to sting many Argentines as an unforgivable shortcoming. For many of his countrymen, Messi has still not achieved the level of greatness of his predecessor Diego Maradona, and he will continue to be held to that standard for the next four years.
In the meantime, though, Germany will be planning a national party as it welcomes back the trophy for the first time since 1990, and will enjoy the title of World Cup Champions until the 2018 tournament kicks off in Russia.