RIO DE JANEIRO- Mario Goetze scored a superb extra-time winner as Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to become the first European team to win a World Cup held in South America on Sunday.
Bayern Munich star Goetze struck in the 113th minute of a gripping battle at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium as Argentina superstar Lionel Messi’s hopes of emulating Diego Maradona ended in defeat.
Germany have now won four World Cups, putting the European powerhouses just one behind Brazil’s record tally of five.
“It’s unbelievable what we have achieved. Whether we have the best individual player doesn’t matter at all. You just need to have the best team,” said delighted Germany captain Philipp Lahm.
Germany coach Joachim Loew revealed he had encouraged Goetze to eclipse Argentina star Messi when he came on as an 88th-minute substitute.
“I told Mario Goetze, ‘Go out and show the world you are better than Messi,'” he said.
Germany’s win sparked an explosion of joy in their homeland and in host nation Brazil, which had been dreading the prospect of South American rivals Argentina winning the title on its territory.
Fireworks exploded across Berlin as more than 250,000 fans jumped for joy in the heart of the capital, many singing ‘Oh, it’s beautiful!’ and chanting ‘Super Deutschland!’
Tens of thousands of Argentine fans who had swarmed Rio’s Copacabana beach ahead of the game fell silent after the defeat as gleeful Brazilians partied.
“Thank God, thank God that Germany won,” said Caio Ferraz, 45, a Brazilian looking up at the stars on the legendary beach.