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World Cup: July 14, 2014

APTOPIX Brazil Soccer WCup Germany Argentina

Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer celebrates after the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Germany won the match 1-0. (AP)

Deutschland Uber Alles

Goetze Goal Gives Germany Victory

Germany's Mario Goetze, right, scores the opening goal past Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero during the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Germany’s Mario Goetze, right, scores the opening goal past Argentina’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero during the World Cup final soccer match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Click here to see statistics and highlights from the match. Victor R. Caivano | AP

Mario Goetze netted an extra time goal to make Germany the first European team ever to win a World Cup in the Americas, beating Argentina, 1-0, to claim the championship.

Playing before a capacity crowd of about 75,000 at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Goetze took a crossing pass on the left side from teammate Andre Schurrle and artfully nailed it home inside the right post past Argentine goalie Sergio Romero.

Goetze, a midfielder who plays for Bayern Munich, came off the bench toward the end of regulation for Miroslav Klose, who in the 7-1 semifinal win over Brazil became the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history.

The goal by Goetze goal triggered memories of the one by Spain’s Andres Iniesta just before the end of extra time in a 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup championship in South Africa.  It also gave Germany its fourth World Cup title but the first as a unified country.  West Germany won in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

South American teams won the seven previous times the tournament was played in the Americas.

“An Awesome Experience”

“It is unbelievable and an awesome experience,” Germany’s goalie Manuel Neuer told German television.  “We have had incredible cohesion since the start of our preparations.  Germany (is) world champions.  I don’t know how long we will celebrate, but we will go about it with big grins.”

After the game, the German team made its way up the stairs of Maracana Stadium to raise the hallowed 18-carat gold trophy, as confetti rained down and fireworks exploded in the sky.

“It’s incredible how hard we worked and what a performance we produced,” team captain Philipp Lahm said.  “It’s an incredible feeling.”

Germany and Argentina had met twice before in the World Cup title game.  Argentina won in 1986, and the Germans won in 1990.

This time, Argentina was hoping its superstar, Lionel Messi, would lead the South American football power to its third title.  But Germany’s stingy defense neutralized Messi, a four-time FIFA World Player of the Year, for most of the game.

Messi, who scored four goals in the tournament, all in the group stage, received the Golden Ball award as the World Cup’s best player.  In the end, though, he was still walking in the shadow of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title, in part, with his famous “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century.”

Sunday’s game marked the third straight World Cup championship that went to extra time.  Both teams had solid chances to score before Goetze’s goal, with the Argentines missing out on a few that would later haunt them.

In the 21st minute, Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain intercepted an errant pass and broke for the net but hooked his shot far wide.  He found the net in the 30th minute but was called for offside.

Early in the second half, Messi stood one-on-one with Neuer, who later won the Golden Glove award for the tournament’s best goalie, but sent his shot wide.  Argentina also failed to convert on opportunities in extra time.

Argentine Coach Congratulatory in Defeat

“When there are chances in a game that is so evenly balanced, you have to take them,” Argentina’s coach Alejandro Sabella said.  “We lacked a bit of efficiency.”

Sabella praised his team for staying even with Germany for so long after a tough semifinal against the Netherlands.  Argentina won that game in a penalty shootout, 4-2, after a scoreless draw.

“The only thing I can do is congratulate my players,” Sabella said.  “The work they did was extraordinary, and (I) also congratulate Germany.”

The Argentines went undefeated in the World Cup until the championship game.  They played Germany without speedy winger Angel Di Maria, who was out with a thigh injury.

In addition to the award to Messi and Neuer, Colombia’s James Rodriguez won the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.

In a symbolic gesture before the game, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Sepp Blatter, president of football’s world governing body, FIFA, took part in a World Cup handover ceremony.  Russia will host the 2018 World Cup.

Germany (1-0) Argentina

Finally, For the Third Time (UPDATE: Germany Takes the Cup)


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Team Argentina.
Team Germany.

UPDATE: Germany’s Mario Goetze scored a goal late in extra time to give Germany a 1-0 lead, and, about ten minutes later, the 2014 World Cup. VOA’s Mike Richman has a breakdown of the game here.

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In 1986, the upstart captain of Argentina’s World Cup team by the name of Diego Maradona led his squad to the World Cup finals. Their opponent? West Germany. Nearly 115,000 packed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to watch the back-and-forth match: Argentina’s 2-0 was equalized by two German goals within seven minutes, but they regained the lead in the 84th minute of play – and won the championship, 3-2.

Four years later, looking to avenge their loss, West Germany would find themselves back in the final, at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Their opponent? Their foe from 1986′s final: Argentina. After 85 tense and scoreless minutes, a penalty kick by Germany would connect with the back of the net, giving Germany a 1-0 lead, and, just minutes later, the championship.

Since that last meeting in the final 24 years ago, neither team has won a World Cup.

That changes today.

A win for Argentina would mean much more than their third World Cup. It would mean a first World Cup for captain Lionel Messi, who, it seems, has won everything but. And it would mean a Cup won not only on South American soil, but in the home stadium of Brazil, one of their biggest rivals.

A win for Germany would not only make them four-time World Cup champions. A win would end a spate of near-misses in the semifinals and finals stretching back to 2002. And it would also give the country its first win since reunification in 1990.

Who will make history: Die Mannschaft or La Albiceleste? Muller or Messi? Germany or Argentina?

It all begins at 3 PM ET (7 PM UTC).

For play-by-play, minute-by-minute coverage of every ball touch, throw-in, direct kick, indirect kick, yellow card, red card, corner kick, goal kick and every other possible football feat in every World Cup match, tap into VOA’s multilingual, multinational analysis.

Click here to follow the action live, or follow along on Facebook, or on Twitter with #WorldCupVOA.

And for even more exclusive VOA coverage with a special focus on Africa’s national teams, check out VOA’s Francophone blog.

And It Only Gets Worse

Brazil Falls to Netherlands; A Nation Reels

The Netherlands handed Brazil its second straight devastating loss, topping the World Cup’s host country to capture third place in the tournament.

The Netherlands’ Robin van Persie and Daley Blind scored in the early minutes, demoralizing a heavily partisan Brazilian crowd at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.  Georginio Wijnaldum added an insurance 3rd goal in injury time.

The 3-0 loss added to the agonizing frustration for Brazil, which had been seeking a record sixth World Cup championship.

The Brazilians suffered a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals that marked their worst-ever margin of defeat and the first time in 80 years that they allowed seven goals in one game.  They also finished the World Cup with back-to-back home losses for the first time since 1940.

When the final whistle sounded Saturday, the Brazilian team was loudly booed by the nearly 70,000 fans in attendance.

A “Terrible” Feeling

“It’s a terrible feeling, I don’t know what to say,” said  midfielder Oscar, whose team allowed 14 goals, the most-ever for a host team.  “After a huge loss to Germany, today we tried our best from the beginning to win third place but it wasn’t our day.  We have to see what went wrong so we can improve for the future.”

In contrast, the Dutch finished a World Cup unbeaten in regular play for the first time, losing to Argentina in a penalty shootout in the semifinals following a scoreless draw.  After they finished second at the World Cup four years ago, third place is their best showing since losses in the finals in 1974 and 1978.

On Saturday, they started fast at the same time that Brazil looked confused.

Van Persie scored in the third minute on a penalty kick, hooking the ball into the upper corner of the net past diving goalie Julio Cesar.  It appeared that Brazil’s Thiago Silva had yanked van Persie down outside the box, but the referee awarded a penalty kick.

In the 17th minute, Brazilian defender David Luiz mistakenly headed the ball to Blind, who punched it through uncontested for a 2-0 lead.  Luiz was trying to clear a cross in front of the goal.

Brazil played catch up from there, trying a series of free kicks that failed.

The Dutch were proud of their performance despite falling short of their first World Cup championship.

“It was a great end,” forward Arjen Robben said.  “You can get rid of a bit of the shock of not going to the final but not completely.  The disappointment stays, we’ve been so close.  We deserved more.  I’m finished, I’ve given everything.  That’s why third place is so deserved.  I’m so proud of this team.  Compliments to them.”

For the second straight game, the Brazilians played without star striker Neymar, who fractured a vertebra in the quarterfinals and was lost for the tournament.  Silva, Brazil’s captain, was back after serving a one-game suspension for earning his second yellow card.

The Dutch played without one of their top scoring threats, midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who was injured in the pre-match warm-up.

“The most beautiful was our resilience,” Wijnaldum said.  “We were knocked out, but we came back and finished third.  We wanted to close it out well.”

Germany, Argentina to Meet for Title

On Sunday, perennial  powers Germany and Argentina clash in the championship game at iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Argentina, which is led by mega-superstar Lionel Messi and stingy goalie Sergio Romero, will face a German squad with an array of offensive weapons such as Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose, the all-time scoring leader in World Cup history with 16 goals.  Germany is the highest-scoring team in the tournament with 17.

Argentina and Germany have met twice before in the World Cup championship game.  Argentina won in 1986, and the Germans won in 1990.  Argentina is seeking its third title, and Germany its fourth.

No European team has ever won a World Cup championship in the seven times the tournament has been played in the Americas.  A South American team has prevailed each time.

Netherlands (3-0) Brazil

The Match Neither Team Wanted (UPDATE: Brazil’s Embarrassment Continues)


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Brazil loses.
Netherlands loses.

UPDATE: Things went from bad to worse for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. After getting blown out by Germany 7-1 in the semifinals, Brazil would face a similarly lopsided score (although not as severe), failing to score a goal and falling to the Netherlands 3-0 in the third place match. Brazil finishes the World Cup in fourth place, and with a country’s hopes and expectations unfulfilled.

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Simply put, this third place match between Brazil and the Netherlands (4 PM ET/8 PM UTC) is one neither team wanted to be in. Brazil had their eyes on winning the Cup in their home country, but after a shocking 7-1 blowout against Germany, they find themselves in the runner-up match. Netherlands was hoping to build on their trip to the final in 2010 and win the first Cup in their country’s history, but they too fell short.

But nonetheless, both teams find themselves out of contention, and in Brasilia on Saturday for this match. Third place pales in comparison to a championship for Brazil, but expect them to play hard to avoid another embarrassment. For Netherlands, a win on their opponent’s home turf would be a small victory in and of itself, and some consolation for their semifinal loss.

For play-by-play, minute-by-minute coverage of every ball touch, throw-in, direct kick, indirect kick, yellow card, red card, corner kick, goal kick and every other possible football feat in every World Cup match, tap into VOA’s multilingual, multinational analysis.

Click here to follow the action live, or follow along on Facebook, or on Twitter with #WorldCupVOA.

And for even more exclusive VOA coverage with a special focus on Africa’s national teams, check out VOA’s Francophone blog.