It was only fitting that the 2014 World Cup ended this way, wasn’t it?
In a World Cup filled with many surprises and many games where the action went down to the wire, Mario Gotze delivered the clincher for the German team in a 1-0 win over Argentina.
The extra-time win delivered Germany its first World Cup championship since 1990, but it also made history. This is the first time a European soccer squad has won a World Cup in the Americas. That’s right. No European squad has ever won a World Cup contested in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America or South America.
That seems unreal, doesn’t it? But yet it happened.
You can credit a soccer player whose nickname reminds video game fans everywhere of the beloved character from Nintendo games such as Donkey Kong, Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.
Yet Gotze is called Super Mario for a reason, and he will never have to buy another drink in his home country ever again.
His goal, in the second extra session, cemented a historic win for the ages for Germany. It has been a long time since the Germans could celebrate like this.
Although the team finished in third place in 2006 and 2010 and took the runner-up spot in 2002, it hasn’t been able to hoist the top prize in nearly 25 years. That changed on Sunday.
From the moment the tournament began with Netherlands and its shocking upset of Spain — an upset that doesn’t seem so improbable anymore given Netherlands’ finish this year — this was a World Cup that introduced soccer to the entire world stage.
Even the United States, long considered the holdout for soccer in the world, appears to be falling in love with the sport. That was evidenced by high television ratings and interest even when the USMNT was eliminated.
Germany took the world by storm when it knocked off Brazil, the home country, in a stunning 7-1 semifinal. The loss, which sent millions of Brazilians crying during and after the game, showed Germany meant business.
No one expected Germany to pull off another seven-goal outburst in the finals. If anything, the win resembled other World Cup matches this year.
How many 1-0 games did we see? What about scoreless ties? There were a few of those. That’s not boring. That’s a game that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
They’re celebrating in Germany right now. The Germans should celebrate. So should the world.
The tournament may be over for another four years, but talk of 2018 will be around the corner.
Congratulations to Germany. See you in 2018. Perhaps the US will be that much closer to challenging for the title by then.