herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Magic moment gives Germans deserved victory

Germany's coach Joachim Loew celebrates. Picture: Paulo Whitaker/REUTERS
Germany's coach Joachim Loew celebrates. Picture: Paulo Whitaker/REUTERS

THERE have been times in the past when it was hard to be gracious about a Germany team winning the World Cup but not this time.

The best team won a wonderful World Cup in Brazil and Joachim Loew's golden generation have finally delivered.

It took extra-time and a late, late goal from Mario Goetze to put away Argentina and it needed every tension-filled minute. Alex Sabella's players turned up on the night.

It was a goal to grace any World Cup final and we got a game to remember, that's for sure.

I was worried before the start that we would get Argentina at their most offensive and Germany, naturally cautious while they tried to feel their way into the occasion.

I was wrong. This was more like a top level Champions League fixture and no surprise there given the fact that most of the players on show have met before in European premier club competition.

Here we had good players playing well on a big stage and they didn't let us down in the first 45 minutes which was packed with open, passing football and sharp counter-attacking from Argentina.

I reckon Higuain will remember his contribution to the first-half and the fact that he might have tied the World Cup with a ribbon, first with a gift from Tony Kroos which he fluffed and then a disallowed goal for offside.

Given the likelihood that this would be a tight encounter, one goal was always going to be a huge moment and he had to watch two chances go up in smoke.

Germany had a great chance to take the lead when Benedikt Howedes crashed a header off the post which he should have buried but it was very much honours even when the teams broke for a team talk.

Argentina boss Alex Sabella set his team up in much the same he has done throughout the tournament but they looked fresher, sharper and more coherent that at any other time in Brazil and it took Germany by surprise.

Loew was already unsettled by the injury to Sami Khedira and the subsequent substitution of the unfortunate replacement Christoph Kramer, he cannot have expected the version of Argentina which took the game to his team in the opening ten minutes of the second period.

They really had a right go. This was the Argentina I was hoping to see when I tipped them at the start but to be fair to Germany, they fought back and suddenly it was ding-dong, much more physical but end-to-end stuff. The only problem was the absence of a final product.

That was the great irony of this final. We had some of the best attacking talent in the history of this great competition on show. Messi, the best in the world and Muller, the most prolific of all time.

Defences and defenders were the heroes though and on both sides. With no goals in normal time or extra-time, the plaudits went to Mascherano, Garay, Demichelis in blue and Hummels, Boateng and Lahm for the Germans.

In the end, one moment of magic from Gotze was enough to win It for the best team in the tournament.

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