A world class Mario Goetze volley in extra time fired Germany to a fourth World Cup crown with a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday, leaving the South Americans and their captain Lionel Messi heartbroken.
The thunderous clash between Germany, Brazil's 7-1 semi-final conquerors, and their bitter rivals had seemed headed for penalties until Andre Schuerrle escaped down the left after 113 minutes and sent in a cross that substitute Goetze controlled on his chest before slamming past goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
The magical strike meant Germany became the only European team to win the World Cup in the Americas, and left the superlative Messi without the title he so craved to crown his glittering career.
"All of Germany is world champion now," the winners' immense goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said. "We're going to celebrate for at least five weeks now. At some point we'll stop celebrating but we'll always keep waking up with a smile."
It will be a richly deserved smile.
German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, winner of the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper, stands with Lionel Messi, winner of the Golden Ball award as the top player of FIFA World Cup. (AP)
As much as all of Argentina hankered for a triumph on Brazilian soil, Germany were worth their win over a subdued Messi and his team mates who counter-attacked dangerously but lacked their opponents' more fluid passing moves.
Messi's poor final was summed up with virtually the last kick of the game when he had a chance to score a sensational equaliser with a free-kick 30 metres out.
The world's best player never troubled the world's best goalkeeper, however, blasting his effort high and wide and seconds later Germany were champions and Argentina were crushed.
"We gave it all, all our bodies could endure," Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano said. "The pain is immense because we wanted to take the cup back to Argentina.
"The pain will last forever."
Bastian Schweinsteiger consoles Lionel Messi after the World Cup final match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)
Germany's preparations had been rocked before kickoff when midfielder Sami Khedira, one of the tournament's best players, pulled a calf muscle in the warm-up.
He was replaced in the starting lineup by Christoph Kramer, who had only made two brief substitute appearances earlier.
But Kramer only lasted 32 minutes,