Mario Gotze will never score a bigger goal in his life.
The Bayern Munich player scored the World Cup game-winner with just seven minutes left in extra time to give Germany their 4th World Cup trophy with a 1-0 win over Argentina. The Germans become the first European country to win the World Cup on South American soil.
Gotze, who came on just before the end of regulation, collected a Andre Schurrle cross in the box with his chest and volleyed home past Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero for the sensational finish.
Fitting if the #WorldCup ends on a goal of that quality.— Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11) July 13, 2014
It may have been only the third final to finish scoreless after 90 minutes, but the match was surprisingly wide open. Really good defending and some nightmarish finishes meant the first goal came in the 113th minute.
A perfect shot as the sun sets on this World Cup pic.twitter.com/KE7Oi4WmNo— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 13, 2014
SCHURRLE'S BIG CHANCE: Schurrle assisted on the game-winner but he almost won it himself earlier in the extra time, firing on goal just seconds after the opening whistle. But Romero, Argentina's hero in the semifinal penalty shootout, was parrying everything the Germans sent his way and punched that close-range shot, too.
SCHURRLE ON FOR KRAMER ON FOR KHEDIRA: Schurrle didn't start the match. In a surprise move, Christoph Kramer stepped into the biggest match of his career after starter Sami Khedira picked up a calf injury during pregame warm-ups. But Kramer took a shoulder to the head that left him woozy. Although he came back into the game, he eventually left the match for Andre Schurrle in the 32nd minute.
Kramer coming off, with help. He just played several minutes of football with a head injury.— Chris Jones (@MySecondEmpire) July 13, 2014
WHAT A MISS: It's the play that everyone was talking about in the first half. An awful back pass by Toni Kroos served up a 1-on-1 chance for Gonzalo Higuain who muffed it wide left. Moments later Higuain did score a goal with a fantastic finish, except he was in obvious offside position.
Hard to know who did worse there, Kroos with the header or Higuain with the shot...— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) July 13, 2014
"Federico would have scored it..." - MLS Snob— Bobby Boswell (@bobbyboswell) July 13, 2014
WHAT A MISS - PART 2 And substitute Rodrigo Palacio's miss will also loom large in extra time. He failed to do what Gotze did, collecting the ball in the box with his chest, but it was a heavy touch and his lob over goalkeeper Manuel Neuer finished wide left.
DE JONG MOMENT: In the 33rd minute Pablo Zabaleta's thigh met the studs of Benedikt Howedes, but it only earned the German left back a yellow. The punishment arguably should've been much worse:
WOODWORK!: The German left back Howedes stuck around and in first-half stoppage time he should have put Germany ahead, but his set-piece header struck the right post.
No goals but the most entertaining half in a World Cup final since 1986 I'd venture. Each team missed a sitter.— Jason Le Miere (@JasonLeMiere) July 13, 2014
THE MESSI CHANCE: It came two minutes after the halftime break as Messi ran through the German back line and onto a through ball. But he hooked his shot wide right.
ANOTHER VICIOUS BLOW TO HEAD: It happened to Higuain when German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer ran out to the edge of the area in the 58th minute to challenge the Argentine forward. Few could agree how the referee should've ruled on it, though. Higuain would come back into the game.
Neuer has the right to go for that ball. Higuain has the right to a concussion test.— Eight by Eight (@8by8mag) July 13, 2014
Mad the stuff that keepers get away with that outfield players don't.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) July 13, 2014
Foul called against Higuain for hitting his face against Neuer's knee #ARGGER— Luis Mazariegos (@luism8989) July 13, 2014
KROOS CHANCE: The Germans had the best looks in the final stages of regulation, including a clean shot by Toni Kross from the edge of the penalty area, which he couldn't even get on frame.
The defining trait of this #GER team since 2008 has been wastefulness. Every game, year in year out.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) July 13, 2014
Does anyone want to win this bloody thing?— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 13, 2014