UK & World News

  • 14 July 2014, 4:53

Germany Worthy Winners Of World Cup In Brazil

Germany were comfortably and consistently the best team of an outstanding tournament, and it rewarded them with a fourth world title.

Thanks to the skill, stamina and strength-in-depth built up over a decade by an outstanding group of players, they were able to prove it in the final.

They were aided by an Argentine side that brought everything it had to this final except their finishing, and the very best of Lionel Messi.

They passed up three fine chances to score first - Gonzalo Higuain will have sleepless nights almost as long as the Brazilian defence after his first half miss - and paid the price.

The finale to four and a half weeks of attacking football might have been very different had Messi been fresh.

Instead, arguably the best player of his generation became a peripheral figure in an absorbing game, perhaps exhausted by the efforts of dragging his team to the final.

Instead the glory fell to Mario Goetze, whose wonderful winner was an illustration of why Germany did - and perhaps always should have - won this tournament.

Gotze was the star of Borussia Dortmund's stylish 2012 Bundesliga winners, but was tempted to Bayern Munich last summer in a deal that emphasised Bavarian dominance of the German game.

So stiff is the competition that he is guaranteed a game for neither club or country. Here he was able to emerge from the bench after 88 minutes and settle the biggest game of all with a finish of refinement and poise.

They are qualities his compatriots in a genuinely gilded generation share.

The same cannot be said for the Brazilian team that collapsed so spectacularly in the last week. It will prompt months, perhaps years of soul-searching, but in most other respects the hosts delivered.

The infrastructure that they promised would be the tournament's great legacy were not all delivered, the total bill to the public purse ballooned from zero to $11bn, and the stadiums will not all have a legacy.

But it worked well enough, and the spirit of this great footballing nation infected everyone. Even in the favelas, where they have had least to gain from a tournament that has highlighted how much more FIFA could do to share its profits with those from whom it makes them, the mood was infectious.

Like tourists after their first caipirinha on the beach the inhibitions of teams and supporters fell away. What followed was the party we had been promised.

Whether FIFA got the tournament it deserved is another matter. There have been regular reminders of the institutional blight of the world governing body. The tournament began with fresh corruption allegations and ended with an alleged ticketing scandal.

But despite all this, even FIFA heads back to Zurich with its reputation scrubbed up. That's the power of football in Brazil.

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