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Germany Win World Cup

For the next four years (at least), Germany will be the kings of soccer. It was a long time coming for Deutschland who finished 2nd in 2002 and had back-to-back third place finishes in the past two World Cups. They were the best team of the tournament and there really is no debating that. 

Aside from their victory in penalties over the Netherlands, Argentina won every single game at the World Cup by one goal. There was never really a point in the tournament where they looked dominant, which is shocking considering the talent on the Albiceleste. Yet Argentina only trailed a total of seven minutes at this World Cup and unfortunately for them, those seven minutes were the last seven minutes of the tournament. Soccer is surely cruel, but you have to score goals to win a championship and Argentina only scored eight in seven games, compared to Germany's 18 (albeit aided tremendously by Brazil's meltdown). 

The game started out with chances for both teams. Argentina was finding repeated success on the right side with Ezequiel Lavezzi, especially in counter situations. Then Gonzalo Higuain was gifted a one-on-one opportunity off a poor header pass from Toni Kroos. The Napoli man waltzed into the box and simply shanked an opportunity that will stick in his mind for the rest of his life. 

higuain miss

It was like the miss set the tone for how the rest of the match would go for Argentina. Nine minutes later, Argentina was on a break on the right side with Lavezzi sending in a perfect ball to Higuain who easily buried the try. But the Napoli man was clearly offside as he showed poor awareness of where the German back line was. 

After these two missed opportunities Argentina lost some of their fire. Lionel Messi only had 16 first half touches, the fewest he had in a half through the entire tournament, but despite that low number he had some good runs that just never amounted to anything.

These opportunities, however we generally against the run of play. Germany controlled possession for the most part, easily advancing into their attacking third under very little pressure from the Argentine defense. That defense was stout in that final third, however, and Germany did not have many promising chances until the first half culminated with a German corner kick that a wide open Benedikt Höwedes smashed off the post. Paradoxically, going into half, both teams were fortunate to be level. 

Right out of the half, Leo Messi had his chance to finally score a goal in the knockout stage. On the left side the Barcelona man whipped a ball to the far post with his left foot but it was just inches wide of putting Argentina up 1-0. But alas, another missed opportunity for the Albiceleste. 

Germany then started to take control of the match. They stayed patient and wore down the Argentina back line which had a fantastic tournament. Bastian Schweinsteiger was phenomenal in the midfield despite spending majority of the match on the ground. Jerome Boateng had a fantastic game slowing Argentina breaks, and Mesut Ozil showed his artistry on the ball after struggling through most of the tournament. Germany played a great ‘team’ game. 

The first moments of extra time were unlike the latter moments of regulation time. A fast-paced first 10 minutes started off when Andrea Schürrle almost had his moment in the 91st. The super sub fired his shot from 10 yards right at Sergio Romero who made a nice quick reaction save. Then 8 minutes after that, Rodrigo Palacio, who never really made a mark in this World Cup received a lovely ball from Marcos Rojo. But the Inter Milan man spoiled the opportunity with a heavy touch using his chest, which resulted in Palacio flicking the ball wide. 

After this, it was all Germany. They dominated possession in the extra time and stayed patient against a disciplined Argentina defense. Both teams were gassed and then Schürrle made a great run down the left side. The Bayern man then chipped a PERFECT ball to Mario Götze, who slipped behind Martín Demichelis. The 22-year-old chested the cross down to his left foot and brilliantly scored a world class goal on the world stage.


Argentina never had a truly threatening moment after that. The wind was taken out of their sails and a deep Lionel Messi kick in the 120th was blasted high ending the match. 

Götze and Schürrle, are the first two German national team players to be born in reunified Germany, and their combination won Die Mannschaft their fourth World Cup title. And the spectacular goal from a second-half sub was a fitting way to end the scoring for a tournament full of surprises and late game heroics - and a far more satisfying finish than penalties would have been.

Manuel Neuer went on to win the Golden Glove, as Lionel Messi oddly went on to win the Golden Ball. It was the first time a team from Europe won a World Cup in South America, but throughout the entire tournament, aside from a 2-2 tie with Ghana, Germany looked like the strongest, most consistent team and they aren’t going anywhere. The Germans have arguably the best young talent in the World, with Andre Schürrle (22), Thomas Müller (23), Mats Hummels (24), Mesut Ozil (24), Mario Götze (20), Marco Reus (23) and Toni Kroos (23). All of these players will be back in Russia in 2018 and will all still be under 30(!) - so it's no surprise that the German development program has become the model for other nations to follow. German soccer has consistently been top tier on the World Stage, but as we saw the end of an era in La Roja, it seems likely that we are seeing the start of a new era in Germany. Brazil obviously has work to do to get back to where they were. Argentina is still talented but who knows what another 4 years will do to Messi (only 27) as he already looks like he doesn’t have the motor he used to have. The Dutch, despite some young talent, will lose their best players to father time by the next World Cup, and Spain are probably in the midst of a national team revamping in the coming years. 

Germany got past gritty teams like Algeria, France, and Argentina. They posses an unreal amount of talent and don’t care who the hero is, as long as they are on top when the referee blows the whistle. The Germans rarely lose these types of games it feels like. They simply grind you down and won’t quit until that special moment. Götze found that moment, and for the coming years, The Machine will only have more special moments as we enter a new era of international dominance. German engineering lasts a while you know.  

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