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Goetze clinches World Cup final for Germany with minutes to spare

Goetze gives Germany World Cup in extra time
Goetze gives Germany World Cup in extra timePhoto by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The 2014 World Cup final on July 13 was a near repeat of the last one, as it turned out. While this World Cup final had Germany and Argentina, instead of Spain and the Netherlands, the outcome was virtually the same. Once more, two finalists went scoreless in 90 minutes of regulation, then were minutes away from deciding the title on penalty kicks until the champion - in this case Germany -- finally broke through.

It was German substitute Mario Goetze who scored the only goal of the final and last of the entire World Cup, off a cross in the 113'th minute. For the second straight championship game, a goal with minutes to spare in extra time decided a champion in a 1-0 win, as Germany took its fourth World Cup title and denied Argentina its third.

Argentina could have broken the scoreless tie much earlier, as a goal was called offside in the first half and at least two golden chances went just wide. But neither Lionel Messi nor the rest of the Argentine offense could break through, as the Germans came to dominate possession although they couldn't score themselves.

When extra time came, German coach Joachim Loew removed the World Cup's all-time leading goal scorer, Miroslav Klose, for the 22-year-old Goetze. It was the move that ultimately decided the championship, giving Germany its first title since 1990 -- two years before Goetze was born.

This was Argentina's first World Cup final since a 1-0 loss to West Germany in 1990, in a match decided with minutes to spare in regulation. 24 years later, it took 30 extra minutes for the Germans to make history repeat itself, as they denied Messi just like they denied Diego Maradona in his last shot at a title.

Instead of matching Maradona's legend, Messi will now face four years of doubts about his legacy, leading into what may be his last World Cup in 2018. Meanwhile, Goetze has now entered German soccer lore, as he helped send Klose out as a champion and gave Germany its first crown as a unified country.

Brazil's worst nightmare did not come true, as arch-rival Argentina suffered its worst heartbreak yet in this World Cup final. Although the Brazilians will forever remember this tournament for the hosts' crushing semifinal loss, at least it came to the eventual world champion.