World Cup: Football faces German rule

Germany have won their fourth World Cup, with a true team performance that was tested from every angle.

Sami Khedira was scrubbed from the starting line up with an injury in the warm-up, meaning youngster Christoph Kramer, currently on loan at Monchengladbach, was called in to start the final.

The 23-year old with only two caps coming into the tournament was going to be given one of the biggest jobs in football, helping block out Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

He wasn’t on for long however, receiving a harsh knock to the head early on and being substituted for Andre Schurrle, with Mesut Ozil dropping deeper in midfield.

The unscripted reshuffle meant Germany’s dominance in midfield never quite eventuated, despite Bastian Schweinsteiger’s monumental efforts.

But the side’s much maligned backline were exceptional. At times it was last gasp, but the intervention was always made.

The centre pairing of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng should give German fans plenty of confidence for the future - both were immense - and that’s without mentioning the mountain that is Manuel Neuer who was, once again, at his roaming, shot-blocking, brilliant self.

Germany’s forwards pushed and pushed against a side that had conceded just three goals all tournament, and had never been behind in a match.

Their passing was not as slick as against Brazil, but that has to be credited to the Argentine defence, who gave them no time on the ball.

It took smart movement from a fresh Mario Gotze late in extra time to get behind Argentina, and even then the finish had to be pinpoint. There were few other clear cut chances, with Benedikt Howedes’ header off the post the closest they had come before that.

Argentina worked incredibly hard at the back. Javier Mascherano was once again the stand out player on the park, but they lacked the link between attack and defence, something they had expected from Leo Messi when he dropped deeper on the right, but it wasn’t very effective.

The German team continued to come at them. They dominated extra time, which could be attributed to the extra day rest and half hour less game time, and just seemed more confident of getting the result.

It all looks bright for Germany in the future. With the exception of Miroslav Klose and perhaps Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm, most of these players have at least another World Cup in them.

Hummels and Boateng are 25, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos, 24, and the winning goal scorer, Gotze, is just 22. There are many more challenges ahead of this group, who now must be considered one of German football's greatest generations.