When Germany needed to find a new savior over the last decade they selected Bastian Schweinsteiger going as far as calling him “The Chosen One.” Schweinsteiger had that phrase sewn into his cleats for the World Cup final against Argentina prior to Germany becoming World Cup champions. He put in a performance that lived up to that billing leaving Argentina battered and bloodied. Mario Götze and Andre Schürrle combined for the winning goal, but it was Schweinsteiger’s tenacious play that made him the best player on the field.
Schweinsteiger became even more of a key to the game before the opening whistle when Sami Khedira was replaced due to injury. The two were sure to have the duties of containing Messi. He was given an early yellow card for a phantom tackle, but then had to be more disciplined throughout regular and extra time. He did just that and was never rattled.
Given the number of times that Schweinsteiger hit the deck it is amazing that he stayed calm. Toward the end of extra time he stayed down after an attempted tackle on Messi, but it looked as though he had strained a muscle. It could have been a savvy player milking the clock. Most of the time he was on the ground was from taking hard contact from an Argentine player. Somehow Sergio Aguero avoided a second yellow card on a very unorthodox arm movement that caused a gash under Schweinsteiger’s eye. He was fouled six times, double the amount of any other German player.
After the yellow Schweinsteiger only committed one more foul for the rest of the game, which was the play on Messi in extra time. He was tied for second on the team with 124 touches with Toni Kroos and just behind captain Philipp Lahm. Eight of nine long ball passes Schweinsteiger attempted were completed. Overall he completed 90 of 105 pass attempts. The stats support Schweinsteiger’s case for man of the match, but it is just his engine that makes him admirable.
Schweinsteiger has come off as one of the nicest players on the field when the match ends as well. After beating Portugal he was seen hugging Cristiano Ronaldo. He did the same to Karim Benzema and David Luiz. He even hugged Luiz Felipe Scolari after the beat down of Brazil. He ran right up to Messi at the end of the final.
Schweinsteiger did his job in the World Cup final and he did it as if it was just another game. He took a beating but showed why fans call him the “Fussball Gott.” The stitching on his shoes may have been a bit arrogant, but he backed up the words on the field.