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Glory for Germany with Gotze stunner in extra time
Beat Argentina 1-0 to lift FIFA World Cup after 24 years

Rio de Janeiro, July 13
Mario Gotze scored the winning goal for Germany in the 22nd minute of extra time as Germany became the football world champions when they beat Argentina 1-0 in the final.

With the very tightly contested match looking set to go into a penalty shootout, Germany's Andre Schurlle set Gotze up for a brilliantly executed goal. Schurlle, taking the ball close to the middle of the pitch, went up the left flank and sent a perfect looping pass to the centre, where Gotze chested down the ball and poked it brilliantly past goalkeeper Sergio Romero into the right side of the net.

Germany, who had made the final for the fourth time in a row, won their first title after 1990, when they participated in the tournament as West Germany. Germany became the first European team to win the title in South America.

It was heartbreak for Argentina - whom the Germans had beaten in the 1990 final too - and their inspirational captain Lionel Messi, who was ineffective in the final, muffing the only chance he got to score by shooting wide with his left foot.

After Gotze's goal, Messi did get a chance to score an equaliser and take the match to a penalty shootout. The Argentine superstar was fouled by Schweinsteiger in injury time, 30 yards from goal. The resulting free kick shot was sent by Messi miles over the ball, and that was the end of Argentina.

The two teams had been locked 0-0 at the end of the regulation time.

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain wasted the best opportunity for the South American team; following a cagey opening 20 minutes, Germany midfielder Toni Kroos attempted to head the ball back to his goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but it went to straight to Higuain, who dragged his shot tamely wide. Higuain did put the ball in the net from close range after 30 minutes but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Germany suffered a blow when midfielder Christoph Kramer, a late replacement for Sami Khedira in the starting lineup, was forced off with a head injury although substitute Andre Schuerrle did test keeper Sergio Romero with a crisp shot.

Kramer was substituted after 31 minutes when he got a nasty blow to the head in a challenge with Argentina's Ezequiel Garay in the 18th minute and carried on after treatment before leaving the field looking dazed to make way for Andre Schuerrle.

Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes headed a corner against the post in stoppage time of the first half but the flag was up for offside.

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Shakira, Santana & Samba light up WC closing ceremony

Rio de Janeiro, July 13
The mournful cries of millions of Brazilians were drowned out in the high-decibel musical gala during the FIFA World Cup's closing ceremony, which was graced by crowd pullers such as Shakira, guitar king Carlos Santana and also had a dash of samba here today.
Colombian singer Shakira (2L) performs during the closing ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday
Colombian singer Shakira (2L) performs during the closing ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday. AFP

FIFA lined up six events that followed a series of lavish opening acts before the grand finale between Argentina and Germany at the iconic Maracana.

The events attempted to combine the cultural distinction of host nation Brazil with a nod to every country involved in the sporting extravaganza.

Colombian star Shakira, Mexican guitarist Santana, Brazilian Grammy award singer Ivete Sangalo and a samba school led the musical entertainment.

Around 1,000 people were involved to celebrate the greatest values of the planet's most popular sport as the tournament closed in on its climax. The 18-minute show inside the stadium was designed to pay tribute to the beautiful game and its 'key symbols'. Kicking off with an expression of the sport's values through four characters - Freedom, Solidarity, Passion and Diversity - the ceremony subsequently included representations of all 32 teams to have participated at this World Cup, with particular focus on the two finalists: Joachim Low's Germany and Alejandro Sabella's Argentina. Set to a soundtrack of samba music, incorporating a cast of 400 people and featuring GRES Academicos do Grande Rio, a special reference to the World Cup trophy took centrestage, while a unique tribute to the game symbolically brought together the two sides battling to be crowned winners of football world. Shakira captivated the audience with her trademark 'la la la' song.

The ceremony concluded with a spectacular combination of music: Shakira and Carlinhos Brown performing 'Dare'; Alexandre Pires, Santana and Wyclef Jean providing a rendition of the World Cup official anthem - 'We Will Find A Way'. Last but not the least, a medley of Brazilian songs was performed by Pires and Sangalo. PTI

Argentina and Germany goalless at halftime

Argentina and Germany were locked at 0-0 at halftime in a tightly-contested and feisty World Cup final on Sunday after striker Gonzalo Higuain wasted the best opportunity for the South American team. Following a cagey opening 20 minutes, Germany midfielder Toni Kroos attempted to head the ball back to his goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but it went to straight to Higuain who dragged his shot tamely wide. Higuain did put the ball in the net from close range after 30 minutes but the effort was ruled out for offside. Germany suffered a blow when midfielder Christoph Kramer, a late replacement for Sami Khedira in the starting lineup, was forced off with a head injury although substitute Andre Schuerrle did test keeper Sergio Romero with a crisp shot. Reuters

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