RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Germany substitute Mario Goetze volleyed in a brilliant goal seven minutes from the end of extra time to clinch a 1-0 victory over Argentina at the Maracana on Sunday that gave them the World Cup for the fourth time.
The game seemed destined for penalties until fellow substitute Andre Schuerrle escaped down the left and sent in a cross that Goetze controlled on his chest before slamming home.
Argentina had created more chances, but failed to really test Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer throughout the 120 minutes of regulation and extra time.
Germany dominated possession in the match but Argentina had the best of the few chances, including a clear one after 20 minutes when a misdirected Tony Kroos header sent Gonzalo Higuain clear, only for the striker to drag his shot badly wide.
Lionel Messi struggled to impose himself on the game and, though he shot just wide right at the start of the second half, the chances dried up as both teams tired and the game went into extra time.
Argentina substitute Rodrigo Palacio went close early in the extra period but Germany triumphed to become the first European team to win the World Cup in the Americas.
The win is Germany’s first as a united country. West Germany won the World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990.