GERMANY: World Champions

Germany were crowned world champions for the fourth time thanks to a stunning extra-time winner from super sub Mario Gotze.

Argentina were preparing for a penalty shoot-out in the Maracana, but in the 113th minute Gotze chested down Andre Schurrle’s cross and volleyed home to cap a historic victory for Joachim Low’s men.

Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Rodrigo Palacio all spurned good chances to give Argentina the win in the spiritual home of their fierce rivals Brazil.Neither Germany nor Argentina could break the deadlock in the Maracana as a tense World Cup final went into extra-time.Lionel Messi, tipped to star in the Rio final, dragged a good chance wide in the second half.

His team-mate Gonzalo Higuain was guilty of an even worse miss before the break.

The Napoli striker was sent through on goal after a big mistake by Toni Kroos, but he also dragged his effort wide of Manuel Neuer’s goal.

Benedikt Howedes rattled Argentina’s woodwork at the end of the first half, and his compatriots were also guilty of sloppy play in the Argentina area late on.

With neither side able to find the net in, the game went to extra-time.

After a star-studded concert involving Colombian pop star Shakira and Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen ended, the atmosphere soon began to grow inside the Maracana.

The giant Brazil flag that stretched across the pitch was taken away and thereafter the Maracana felt like Buenos Aires.

The Argentinians inside this famous stadium mocked the hosts for their humiliating semi-final defeat and the volume increased further after the first whistle was blown.

The ball flew from one end to the other in an entertaining opening quarter.

Higuain whistled a low shot wide early on. Messi then burst into the box, but his pull back towards Enzo Perez was cut out by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Miroslav Klose just failed to reach a cross from Philipp Lahm.

It was an exciting opening 15 minutes played out amid a booming atmosphere.

The game came to a brief halt when Christoph Kramer, a late replacement for Sami Khedira, took a shoulder to the head from Ezequiel Garay.

Higuain then missed his glorious chance. Kroos headed the ball over his own back four towards Higuain, who watched the ball drop perfectly on to his right foot.

Despite being two yards ahead of the nearest defender, the Napoli striker dragged his shot wide. Boss Alejandro Sabella was stunned. Substitute Sergio Aguero was so embarrassed for his team-mate that he pulled his training top over his head.

Higuain thought he had made amends when he tucked away Lavezzi’s cross, but he was offside

Kramer, still clearly feeling the effects of the clash with Garay, hobbled off and was replaced by Andre Schurrle, who tested Sergio Romero from 18 yards.

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