A cracking World Cup finished with a nail-biting final that was fascinating and entertaining all the way through. Mario Götze kept his head to settle it from Schürrle’s cross but there was so much here apart form the winner.
Argentina surprised many by actually attacking in the opening stages and it was Germany’s turn to look bewildered in defence. The Germans lost Sami Khedira in the warm-up and looked vulnerable without their normal shield. Christoph Kramer, Khedira’s replacement, went off with a head injury to be replaced in his turn by Andre Schürrle after only half and hour.
Germany looked disorganised as Kroos headed the ball through for Gonzalo Higuain to thrash hopelessly wide.
Higuain suffered further as he put the ball in the net and started to celebrate with the thousands of fans who’d made the trip north, only for a far side flag to rule it out.
Just after the break and stumpy irritant Messi thrashed a shot wide after Higuain dissected the German defence with a simple pass. Argentina started to convince themselves and their huge following that they could compete and actually play.
But the Argentines tired as Germany kept the ball for increasing periods and the match against the Dutch, with its extra-time and the emotion of penalties started to tell in their legs.
Andre Schürrle looked menacing with a couple of hits, one break into the box and first time snap straight at the ’keeper. The next side-footed from the edge of the box.
Extra-time was sapping the rest of Argentina’s strength as Schürrle bombed down the wing and crossed for Götze to chest the ball down and thrashed past Sergio Romero.
Lionel Messi had just time enough to twonk one over the bar from a free-kick – his destiny flashed so brightly across his eyes he didn’t notice the blue shirts in the box waiting for a cross.
The bewildering and incompetent way Fifa organise things saw the crowd and billion strong television audience wait twenty-minutes for Neuer and Messi to pick up their individual awards – Messi for being a crack shot against Iran presumably – before they handed over the cup. Typical of Fifa, they had to remind us, after a scintillating tournament and fitting final, that the corrupt and incompetent are still firmly in charge.