Final, 1-0 Germany: It’s all over in Rio de Janeiro. Germany is the 2014 World Cup champion.
Germany has conquered the soccer world for the first time since 1990, and all it took was one shot by Gotze, who won the marathon of a final with his sprint and superb finish in the 113th minute.
Germany deservedly won the war of attrition because it had enough overall quality to outlast Argentina. Germany started slowly, but Argentina failed to capitalize on its early mistakes. Germany eventually grew into the contest and controlled play for the better part of the last 75 minutes. Germany’s extra day’s rest and 90-minute semifinal ultimately proved to be decisive, as Argentina couldn’t muster the energy to wrest control of the game from its emerging opponents.
Lionel Messi claims the Golden Ball Award as the tournament’s best player, but it will be only a small consolation for the Argentinian superstar. Germany largely shackled Messi, whose influence on the game waned as the clock ticked forward. Messi’s attacking teammates simply didn’t rise to the demands of the occasion.
Germany now is celebrating the real gold. Germany’s players have been described as a “Golden Generation.” They now have the trophy prove their worthiness of that title.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
120th minute +2, 1-0 Germany: Messi launches a free kick well over the goal in what looks like Argentina’s last chance.
120th minute, 1-0 Germany: Mertesacker replaces Ozil, as Germany looks to lock up the game with an extra defender.
118th minute, 1-0 Germany: Messi heads over the crossbar.
115th minute, 1-0 Germany: The Germany and Brazil fans are going bonkers at the Maracana, while the Argentina supporters are in shock.
113th minute, 1-0 Germany: Gotze scores, and Germany leads in extra time.
Schurrle crossed from the left, and Gotze ran onto it, controlled it with his chest and fired a volley past Romero.
112th minute, 0-0: Schweinsteiger is back on the field after Germany’s medical staff treated the wound.
107th minute, 0-0: Aguero hits Schweinsteiger in the face during an aerial challenge.
Schweinsteiger suffered a cut on his face, but the referee declines to caution Aguero, who already has a yellow card.
106th minute, 0-0: The second half of extra time is underway.
105th minute, 0-0: The first half of extra time is over. It’s still goalless.
Fatigue will continue to play an important role in the second period of extra time.
Argentina played 120 goalless minutes against the Netherlands in Wednesday’s semifinal. Germany breezed past Brazil on Tuesday.
Brazilian fans shot off fireworks until 4 a.m. outside of Argentina’s hotel on Saturday night. Demichelis says it didn’t have the desired effect.
102nd minute, 0-0: Schweinsteiger appears to be struggling with a leg injury.
The Germany midfielder was down for a few moments, but it looks like he can continue.
97th minute, 0-0: Argentina finally strings some passes together, and it creates an opening for Palacio.
The Argentina forward chipped the ball over Neuer but couldn’t control it before it went out of play.
94th minute, 0-0: Germany is pushing the game into Argentina’s half, and there have been a few shaky moments at the back for the South Americans.
The four Argentina defenders and three midfielders aren’t holding their compact shape and working as a unit as well as they did in the first half.
Germany is finding gaps in the wide areas and crossing from there to runners who make late charges into the Argentina penalty area.
92nd minute, 0-0: Now Messi drags a shot wide.
There’s end-to-end action in the first minutes of extra time.
91st minute, 0-0: Romero makes an excellent save on Schurrle in the opening moments of extra time.
Extra time: This statistic tells the tale. Neither team has played anywhere near its best in this final.
It could be nerves, fatigue or something else, but both sides have missed what few opportunities they have had.
End of 90 minute, 0-0: That’s the end of the second half, and the goalless game heads to extra time.
The teams will play two, 15-minute halves. If neither team is ahead after 30 minutes, the winner will be decided by penalty kicks.
90th minute, 0-0: There will be at least three minutes of added time in the second half.
88th minute, 0-0: Klose exits to a standing ovation.
Gotze replaces the Germany striker, as extra time becomes increasingly likely.
86th minute, 0-0: Argentina is making its final substitution, replacing Perez with Fernando Gago.
85th minute, 0-0: There isn’t long to go, and it’s impossible to forecast which team will score first … if one does at all.
Germany has had better possession and a territorial advantage in the second half, but Argentina remains dangerous on the counter-attack.
82nd minute, 0-0: Ozil does well to create a chance for Kroos, but the Germany midfielder shoots wide.
Kroos has his head in his hands after wasting another opportunity.
80th minute, 0-0: Muller slides a pass to Howedes inside the Argentina penalty area, but the Germany fullback can’t shoot before Garay arrives and dispossesses him.
78th minute, 0-0: Argentina is making another substitution.
Rodrigo Palacio comes on for Higuain.
75th minute, 0-0: Messi misses with a curling, left-footed effort from 25 yards out.
The pressure is so immense, even Messi is having problems doing what he normally does when he receives the ball in the final third of the field.
70th minute, 0-0: The teams are struggling to string passes together, and the quality of the game is dipping.
It could set the stage for a game-changing error, moment of genius or some combination of both.
65th minute, 0-0: Now Aguero is cautioned for a foul on Schurrle.
65th minute, 0-0: Mascherano is cautioned for a foul on Klose.
61st minute, 0-0: We’re an hour into the game, and the teams are struggling to create and convert scoring chances.
59th minute, 0-0: Klose heads Lahm’s cross, but Romero has no problem making the save.
57th minute, 0-0: Neuer flattens Higuain, and the Argentina striker is down on the field.
The referee said Higuain fouled Neuer. It could have been a penalty kick on another day.
56th minute, 0-0: Although the tension remains high and the game hangs in the balance, the pace of play has slowed down early in the second half.
47th minute, 0-0: Messi broke in behind Germany’s defense but shot inches wide of Neuer’s goal.
Most would have been willing to wager anything that Messi would at least hit the target in that situation.
46th minute, 0-0: The second half is underway.
Argentina made a substitution at halftime, replacing Lavezzi with Sergio Aguero.
Halftime, 0-0: That’s the end of the first half. It’s goalless after 45 minutes.
The score is even at the break and reflective of how the teams fared on balance of play. Germany and Argentina both attacked well and defended well — at times — in the first period.
Argentina started brightly, and Higuain should have capitalized on Kroos’ early gift and put his team ahead. Higuain then ran offside before scoring, which was correctly disallowed.
The Argentina striker must settle down in the second half, as his first-half performance suggests his nerves are becoming a factor.
Argentina is creating opportunities on the counter-attack but has lacked the necessary precision in the final third to finish off those moves.
Missing Khedira’s influence in the center of the field, Germany has been forced to attack from the wide areas. It isn’t having much success but still managed to create a few dangerous opportunities. Kroos would love to re-take those shots that Romero saved.
Germany started slowly, perhaps because of the injuries to Khedira then Kramer. After around 30 minutes, the Germans began to impose themselves physically.
Both teams will ultimately lament the missed opportunities. It looks increasingly likely that this game will be decided by a single goal.
Check out some stats from the first half below.
45th minute +2, 0-0: Kroos floats a corner kick into the Argentina penalty area, and Howedes thunders it off the post with his head.
The rebound fell to Muller, but the Germany forward was offside.
45th minute, 0-0: There will be a minimum of two minutes of added time in the first half.
43rd minute, 0-0: Ozil finds Kroos at the top of Argentina’s penalty area, but the Germany midfielder shoots straight at Romero.
40th minute, 0-0: Messi used his speed to breach Germany’s defense but fails to find a teammate with his pass from the by-line.
Boateng cleared it out.
37th minute, 0-0: Muller darts down the left side of Argentina’s penalty area and cuts back a pass to Schurrle, who shot on goal only for Romero to bat it away.
It was Germany’s first clear scoring chance.
34th minute, 0-0: Howedes is cautioned for a brutally high tackle on Zabaleta.
32nd minute, 0-0: Kramer fell back down and now is being helped off the field.
Schurrle replaces his injured teammate.
30th minute, 0-0: Higuain thought he had scored but he was well offside before he ran onto Lavezzi’s pass.
29th minute, 0-0: Schweinsteiger is cautioned for tripping Lavezzi.
The referee harshly punished the German midfielder for what was only a slight infraction.
24th minute, 0-0: Higuain must respond like the stone-cold goal scorer that he is. The Argentina striker may not have another chance as good as that one, but he can’t allow the missed opportunity to define, or ruin, his game.
21st minute, 0-0: Higuain misses a golden opportunity to give Argentina the early lead.
Kroos mistakenly headed it backwards, and Higuain collected it, took a touch toward Neuer’s goal and shot horribly wide.
20th minute, 0-0: Kramer returns to action.
18th minute, 0-0: Kramer is down on the field after colliding with Garay deep in Argentina’s half.
Medical staff is attending to Kramer, who appeared to be dazed.
15th minute, 0-0: Germany has a series of set pieces, but Argentina defends them all well.
Argentina only has conceded three goals in six games. It’s easy to see why.
10th minute, 0-0: Argentina is starting to assert itself.
Messi’s speed unbalanced Germany’s defense, and his teammates are increasing the tempo of their passing in Germany’s half.
It hasn’t lead to any clear-cut scoring chances, but it’s encouraging for Argentina.
Eighth minute, 0-0: There’s a good duel going on in the stands. Argentina fans started singing their 2014 World Cup anthem, and the Brazilians in the crowd respond by greeting every Germany pass with cries of “Ole.”
Fourth minute, 0-0: The free kick hit the wall, and Argentina breaks forward on the counter-attack.
The move ends with Higuain shooting wide, but Argentina shows where it can create danger. Germany likes to push its defensive line high up the field, which opens space into which Argentina can counter quickly.
Third minute, 0-0: Rojo barges over Muller, giving Germany an early free kick in a dangerous position.
First minute, 0-0: The 2014 World Cup Final is underway.
Kickoff: The national anthems have been sung, and game will begin in a few minutes.
Pregame: Sami Khedira suffered a knock to his calf during warmups, and Germany head coach Joachim Low replaced the midfielder with Christoph Kramer.
Kramer, 23, has only played four times (one start) for Germany’s senior national team but he is one of his country’s most highly touted young players. Kramer is an energetic midfielder with a good engine and range of passing.
[tweet https://twitter.com/FIFAWorldCup/status/488395931751292928 align=’center’]
2:30 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
12:30 p.m.: Who do you think will win? Vote now.
Noon ET: The eyes of the soccer world turn … no. Scratch that.
The eyes of the world turn their attention to the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janiero on Sunday for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final.
Germany and Argentina will play for the right to call themselves “world champions” and immortalize their nations in sporting and cultural consciousness.
The dominant narrative for the 2014 World Cup Final was cast in ore on Wednesday and has been repeated ad nauseum ever since: Germany is the best team, a mighty machine which is primed to announce itself as the soccer world’s new center of power. Argentina is the plucky underdog which scrapped its way to the final. Oh, it also happens to have the best player, Lionel Messi. The storyline is easy enough for newbies and seasoned aficionados to digest with equal vigor.
Be careful not to fall down that trap door. The misleading tale fails to do justice to what these teams have already achieved and what is truly at stake.
While Germany is projecting an ultra-confident aura heading into the big game, there must be some doubt and fear in its camp. This highly touted group of players has competed together at every major club and international competition in recent years — the veterans since 2006 and the younger core since 2010 — and fallen in the semifinal or final almost every time. Bayern Munich’s 2013 UEFA Champions League title is the lone exception, and the Germans couldn’t failed to defend it. The 2014 World Cup final will define the careers of these players, and they don’t want to be remembered as their generation’s nearly men.
Messi is a modern-day legend in the sport, and a victory on Sunday will strengthen his case for the title of “best of all time.” But there is much more to Argentina than Messi. Javier Mascherano is a superstar in his own right, as is the injured Angel di Maria and fit-again Sergio Aguero among others. While Argentina is reveling in its underdog status, don’t be fooled. This group is confident, hungry and playing much better than the narrative would have you believe.
The teams have played each other in two previous World Cup finals. Argentina defeated West Germany in 1986, and the Europeans exacted revenge in 1990. Germany is trying to become the first European team to win the World Cup in Latin America. Czechoslovakia lost to Brazil in the 1962 final (in Chile), and Argentina defeated the Netherlands at home in 1978.
The 2014 World Cup final kicks off at 3 p.m. Stay right here for all the action from the Estadio do Maracana.
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