Just like the 2014 World Cup as a whole, its final was full of near misses, tantalizing action and remarkable play.
Germany and Argentina took opposite sides of the pitch in what shaped up to be a dramatic conclusion to an exciting tournament. However, due to the sheer talent on both teams, the match simply couldn't be decided in regular time.
So, which team would hoist the World Cup Trophy? Here's a look at how the final played out, followed by a list of the tournament's award winners.
Germany vs. Argentina Recap
Opportunities were plentiful for an Argentinian team in all-out attack mode in the match's early minutes.
Lionel Messi didn't get many touches throughout the first half, but he was able to find some space and help create opportunities for his teammates—most notably Gonzalo Higuain.
Toni Kroos was nearly punished heavily for a bad giveaway when Higuain broke free from the German defense only to find goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in his way.
Somehow, his shot sailed wide after getting this tremendous look, via ESPN:
Unfortunately, Higuain's woes would continue.
Shortly after, the Argentinians broke free once again, and this time it appeared as though he would capitalize. Higuain struck a perfectly placed ball right into the back of the net to seemingly give his team the lead.
However, Higuain's celebration was cut short when he realized he was called offside. He argued the call, but it was correct. Here's a look, courtesy of World Soccer Talk:
Even though the match appeared to be going in Argentina's favor early in the first half, the waning minutes before the break began to go Germany's way.
Argentina was given a big scare just before the half, when this header somehow stayed out of the goal, via Complex:
So, we entered the half with a 0-0 draw.
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, however, this time, it was Lionel Messi who had a great chance to put the Argentinians ahead. Here's a look at his near miss, courtesy of Bleacher Report UK:
As the sun began to set, a very physical match continued with both sides looking to maintain possession in an effort to find a clear shot on goal.
Germany was a bit more tactical on the offensive end, and it showed in this telling graphic from Squawka Football:
Shortly after a couple more German runs, regular time came to a close.
Even though Argentina's defense had been stellar to this point, could it continue to flourish in extra time?
Early in extra time it looked as though it would, as a great opportunity from Andre Schurrle was saved by Sergio Romero.
But, Germany wouldn't be denied for long.
In the second period of extra time, Mario Goetze struck.
He corralled a high cross and followed it up with a brilliant shot to give Germany the 1-0 lead. Here's a look at his strike, courtesy of World Cup 2014:
That would be the match's deciding goal, as a free kick from Messi in the final seconds sailed high, giving Germany its fourth World Cup victory and first since 1990. The win also marked the first time a European team won the tournament on South American soil.
World Cup Awards
Here's a list of each award handed out by FIFA for the 2014 World Cup.
|2014 World Cup Awards|
|Golden Ball||Lionel Messi||Argentina|
|Golden Boot||James Rodriguez||Colombia|
|Golden Glove||Manuel Neuer||Germany|
|Young Player||Paul Pogba||France|
|Fair Play||Team Award||Colombia|
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