Five Aside: Gotze's historics secure German glory
A 113th-minute Mario Gotze goal gave Germany a 1-0 win against Argentina on Sunday, awarding the Mannschaft their fourth World Cup and first since 1990. Germany joins Brazil (five) and Italy (four) as countries to win four or more World Cup titles. It was also Germany's first major title of any kind in 18 years (Euro '96).
Sunday marked the third time Germany and Argentina met in a World Cup final, with Germany winning in 2014 and 1990 (as West Germany) and Argentina winning in 1986. It was the seventh meeting between the countries in a World Cup, which tied the most of any combination of opponents.
Here are five notes from the Brazil 2014 finale:
Gotze took an Andre Schurrle cross off his chest and beat Sergio Romero for the second-latest game-winning goal in a World Cup final, four years after Andres Iniesta set the record with a 116th-minute winner for Spain. Gotze and Schurrle were already linked in German lore -- the pair were the first players born in a unified Germany to appear for Germany. Gotze was the youngest goal scorer in a World Cup final since 1966 and the fifth-youngest ever.
Argentina is no stranger to runner-up finishes. La Albiceleste has finished as the runner-up in a World Cup three times, second most of any country (and twice because of the Germans). Germany has now eliminated Argentina from three consecutive World Cups. When Argentina conceded the game-winner, it was the first time in the tournament that Argentina trailed in a match.
When Germany's Miroslav Klose left the game in the 88th minute, it marked the likely end of the career of the most prolific scorer in World Cup history. The 36-year-old Klose is unlikely to appear in Russia four years from now, but finishes the tournament with 16 career World Cup goals, one ahead of Ronaldo for most all-time.
His goal against Brazil was 12 years, 37 days after his first career World Cup goal (June 1, 2002), the longest span between goals of any player in World Cup history. Thomas Muller is not far behind (10 goals at age 24), but for now, Klose is alone at the top.
Although he didn't play in the match, it has still been a banner year for Germany's Sami Khedira. Khedira became the 10th player and first since Roberto Carlos in 2002 to win both the UEFA Champions League title and the World Cup in the same year. Had Argentina won, Real Madrid's Champions League victory also set up Angel Di Maria for the same distinction. Eight of the 10 players to accomplish that double were German, and all 10 achieved the feat while playing for either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
Gotze's goal was the 171st goal of the tournament, which tied France 1998 for the most of any tournament in World Cup history and continued a thrilling trend at this tournament. There were an astonishing 22 goals scored in the 90th minute or later, well ahead of the next-closest tournament (13 in Germany 2006). It was also the 31st goal by a substitute player, the most ever in a single World Cup.