Mario Gotze’s 113th minute World Cup-winning goal made the 22-year-old the youngest scorer in the tournament’s final since Wolfgang Weber in 1966.
The Bayern Munich attacker, whose first goal of the tournament came in the 2-all draw with Ghana, was introduced in the 88th minute of the final against Argentina.
And with the prospect of a penalty shootout lurking just seven minutes by the corner after deefender Benedikt Hoewedes had hit the woodwork, Gotze calmly chested down Andre Schurrle’s pass and swept in a left-footed finish into the far right corner.
The solitary goal helped Joachim Low’s men become the first European side to clinch the trophy in South America and the scorer, the first substitute to score a winning goal in the World Cup final.
An ecstatic Gotze was short of words while he and his team-mates celebrated after extra-time at the Maracana.
“Andre [Schurrle] put in a superb ball and I was able to control it on my chest,” he told FIFA.com, describing the moment which shot him into fame afterwards. “Then somehow the ball was in the net.”
Coach Low told the playmaker cum utility player, who came in for criticisms and eventually lost his place in the starting line-up after a couple of group games, to show the world he was better than Barcelona star Lionel Messi, minutes before he scored incisive goal.
With the grand finale still deadlocked at half-time extra-time, Low said he told Gotze: “Show them that you are better and can decide the World Cup.
“Gotze is the miracle boy. He is the wonder who can play in numerous positions, he is the decider who can come on and make a difference and that is what he did.”
The win also throws more weight on a tournament-long debate about ‘the best squad in Brazil’. Even the abrupt and unexpected withdrawal of midfielder Sami Khedira through injury during warm-up, and Christoph Kramer’s departure in the 31st minute following a head injury couldn’t deter Low’s golden generation from clinching a fourth world title.
A somewhat incredulous Gotze said afterwards that the victory bores down to the spirit of togetherness in ‘Die Nationalmannschaft’s’ camp.
“Everything happened so quickly but it was great to see how much of a release it gave the team and how we still fought right until the very end,” Gotze said. “We thoroughly deserved to win it because we’re a great side. It’s an indescribable moment.”
“It’s difficult to put it into words. I can’t describe what it’s like in the changing room right now. It’s probably exactly the same back in Germany. I think we played well as a team throughout the whole tournament and every one of us deserves this. It’s a great feeling for everyone in Germany and for us as a team.”