Germany can dominate international football for years to come after beating Argentina 1-0 at the Maracana to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Substitute Mario Gotze won the game deep into extra-time with an acrobatic finish to ensure they not only lift the golden trophy for the fourth time in their history, but also become the first European team to triumph on South American soil.
It came after a glittering tournament, where Germany won six of their seven games including the emphatic 7-1 drubbing of hosts Brazil in the semi-finals, a result that shall be remembered for many years and tournaments to come.
Manager Joachim Low, assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann eight years ago, will now turn his attentions to the European Championships in two year’s time as they bid to replicate the dethroned Spain in ruling the world for a prolonged period of time.
Strength in depth
The young players that sparkled in South Africa in 2010 are now the finished product, with many having won major honours on the domestic scene with Bayern Munich and now look set for a future laden with silverware in the colours of their country.
Gotze, a player Munich so controversially snared from fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund a year ago, stands as one of the world’s most exciting young talents but, given the quality of the German squad, had to make an impact from the substitutes' bench rather than from the start.
Per Mertesacker, whose appearance in the final was his 104th cap for his country, enjoyed a stellar season with Arsenal but was again overlooked for a starting berth, with the solid duo of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels preferred in his place.
Fellow Premier League star Andre Schurrle provided the winner for Gotze, and found the net three times himself over the course of the tournament, but was another unfortunate to be overlooked from the start by Low.
One of greatest teams in history?
Germany possess a plethora of talent, with strength in depth in every position. In Thomas Muller they have a forward capable of conjuring something from nothing, whilst Mesut Ozil remains a superstar despite an underwhelming maiden campaign with Mertesacker at Arsenal.
Toni Kroos confirmed after the match that he is to be the latest ‘galactico’ at Real Madrid, in a move that will not please many Manchester United fans with the Red Devils having been linked so frequently to one of the world’s greatest midfielders.
Manuel Neuer is another who has now won all major gongs barring the European Championships, and deservedly won the golden glove award for his outstanding tournament in Brazil.
There is no limit on what this team can achieve. It may just be that the class of 2014 could go down as one of the greatest footballing teams ever seen.
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