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Götze goal wins Germany the World Cup

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Mario Götze celebrates his winnerMario Götze celebrates his winnerMario Götze struck late in extra time to give Germany their fourth FIFA World Cup triumph after a tense final with Argentina in Rio de Janeiro.

Germany were to be unchanged from the 7-1 semi-final defeat of Brazil, but Sami Khedira was injured in the warm-up, meaning a first competitive start for Christoph Kramer. Gonzalo Higuaín had the first chance, shooting across the face of Manuel Neuer's goal, while Lionel Messi gave notice of his attentions by leaving Mats Hummels for dead on the Argentina right, though his cross was intercepted.There was little to choose between the teams in the 90 minutes of the third World Cup final between these nations. But in the 113th minute André Schürrle set up fellow substitute Götze and the 22-year-old ensured Germany became the first European side to win the World Cup in the Americas.

Still, Germany had most of the early possession, a Philipp Lahm cross just eluding Miroslav Klose, playing in his second World Cup final 12 years after his first, the 2-0 loss to Brazil in Yokohama. On 21 minutes Higuaín intercepted a Toni Kroos back-header but with only Neuer to beat he missed the target.

Higuaín did have the ball in the net just before the half-hour, but he was offside from Ezequiel Lavezzi's cross. Kramer was then forced off having had a head injury earlier in the game, making way for Schürrle, who moved on to the left with Mesut Özil switching to the middle off Klose, and Kroos joining Bastian Schweinsteiger in central midfield.

Argentina were relying on counterattacks with Messi naturally a threat on the right, cutting in and being dispossessed by Jérôme Boateng just as he was about to pull the trigger. But the best chance of the half came in the dying seconds, Benedikt Höwedes heading a Kroos corner against the post.

Sergio Agüero replaced Lavezzi at half-time and straight away Messi has another chance, just unable to force the ball inside Neuer's far post. Germany were getting little room but Philipp Lahm, advancing down the right, looped over a cross headed at Sergio Romero by Klose, while Özil could not direct a Schürrle centre on target.

Chances remained fairly rare; Messi looped a long-range effort wide, while Özil rolled the ball back for Kroos to just strike past the post. Extra time was needed for the third World Cup final running. Almost instantly Schürrle made Romero save while Rodrigo Palacio, on for Higuaín, scooped the ball over Neuer but wide. It seemed penalties would be needed, but with seven minutes left Schürrle played the ball in from the left and Götze chested and hooked in.

July 14 2014, 02:54

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