Gotze rises to Löw challenge

Joachim Löw has revealed the extraordinary team-talk he delivered before extra-time of last night’s World Cup final when he specifically addressed Mario Götze and told him: “Show to the world that you are better than Lionel Messi.”

Götze duly obliged, combining with Andre Schürrle to score a brilliant winner that sealed Germany’s fourth World Cup triumph and made them the first European team to win football’s greatest prize in South America.

Löw described Gotze as a “boy wonder” who has the technical skills to play in any position on the pitch. “I said to him, 'show to the world you are better than Messi’,” said Löw. “I had a good feeling that he can play in any position.”

Götze himself thanked his girlfriend, Ann-Kathrin Brommel, and close family for helping him emerge from the most difficult period of his career to score Germany’s winning goal. Having started the tournament in the starting team, Götze had been dropped to the substitutes’ bench but came on in the 88th minute last night to write his name into football history.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Götze said. “I didn’t know what was happening. It’s indescribable. A dream became a reality. It is absolutely sensational.”

Götze has also been struggling for regular first-team football under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich. “It wasn’t a simple year or tournament for me,” Gotze said. “I owe very much to my family, my girlfriend and close relatives who always believed in me. That is very important.”

Löw’s squad have reached the semi-finals or better in five consecutive tournaments but this represented final confirmation of their status as Germany’s ‘golden generation’. “This goes back to the work we have been doing, making small improvements all the time, for the last 10 years,” Löw said.

Captain Philipp Lahm hailed Germany’s triumph of collective brilliance over the individual talents of Messi. “It’s unbelievable what we have achieved,” Lahm said. “Whether we have the best individual player doesn’t matter at all, you just need to have the best team.”

Schürrle and Götze showed the depth of Germany’s squad by combining to score their winning goal after Gonzalo Higuaín, Lionel Messi and Rodrigo Palacio had all missed clear chances for Argentina.

Chelsea’s Schürrle was in tears on the final whistle. “This is the best moment of my life,” he said. “I had to cry because I was so overcome. I couldn’t stop it. It was always a dream to become a world champion. We are so looking forward to celebrating with our fans in Berlin.”

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