RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Mario Goetze lived up to the billing of being Germany’s wunderkind by scoring the goal that ensured Germany became the first European team to win the World Cup title in South America.
Goetze came off the bench in the 88th minute and netted the winner in the 113th minute of the final against Argentina with a perfectly taken volley.
Andre Schuerrle, another substitute, broke away down the left flank, outstripped tiring Argentine defenders and sent a cross into the penalty area. Goetze controlled the ball with his chest perfectly as he ran and from five meters (yards) fired a left-foot volley from an acute angle inside the far post.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. I don’t know how to describe it. You just shoot that ball in, you don’t really know what’s happening,” Goetze said.
“And then at the end of the match, having a party with the team, the whole country ... it is for us, a dream come true. As I said, it’s an indescribable moment. We, I think, deserve this trophy.”
Goetze began the tournament in Germany’s starting lineup but was relegated to the bench when coach Joachim Loew decided to use his only true striker Miroslav Klose. Klose started Sunday before being replaced by Goetze.
“I told him that he can show the entire world that he is better than (Argentina star Lionel) Messi, ‘you can decide the World Cup. You have all the possibilities to do that.‘ And that’s what I told him. I had a good feeling about him.”
Goetze has always had the potential to be one of Germany’s brightest stars.
“He is a wunderkind, with immense skill,” Loew said.
The 22-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder was voted the man of the match in this final and also took the same honor in Germany’s 2-2 draw with Ghana in the group stage when he scored his other goal of the tournament. He appeared in six of Germany’s seven matches in the tournament, sitting out the 7-1 semifinal rout of host Brazil.
“He comes in and scores, that’s what our team is all about,” Germany forward Thomas Mueller said of his teammate.
Goetze made his debut for Germany in 2010, when he was 18, making him the country’s youngest international since Uwe Seeler in 1954. When Goetze scored against Austria in September 2011, he also became Germany’s youngest ever scorer at the time. He has 11 goals in 35 appearances for Germany.
He began his career in Borussia Dortmund before using a clause in his contract to leave for Bayern in 2013.
Goetze won the Bundesliga title twice with Dortmund and once with Bayern, and netted four goals in qualifying for the World Cup.
Under Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, Goetze also usually comes off the bench, although he was brought to the Bundesliga powerhouse as a future star.
“It hasn’t been an easy year for me,” Goetze said. “I have to thank my family and my closest friends for their support.”