Blake Lovell (36)

Mario Gotze Lifts Germany to 2014 World Cup Trophy

Created on Jul. 13, 2014 6:08 PM EST

With the unpredictable penalty shootout looming, Germany's Mario Gotze decided to remove all doubt as to who would claim the World Cup trophy.

The uncertainties were removed when Gotze blasted home the game-winning goal with only minutes remaining in extra time, giving the Germans their fourth World Cup title in history and their first since 1990.

Considering what we had seen from both sides heading into the match, the result can't be looked at as much of a surprise.

Although Argentina had played well to make the run all the way to the final, it seemed pretty obvious who the better side was. Lionel Messi might be the best player, but from a team perspective, Germany was simply better than Argentina.

But it wasn't like the Argentinians were without chances. They were several opportunities throughout the match that Argentina should have capitalized on, however, it just wasn't meant to be.

Germany had a few hiccups along the way, most notably the draw with Ghana and poor defensive performance against Algeria in the Round of 16. Jogi Low's side started finding its stride again in the quarterfinal match against France, and then came the historic 7-1 result over the host nation Brazil.

Going forward, Germany's win should be the main headline. But the reality is that Messi's inability to win a World Cup will without question garner most of the spotlight. 

The comparisons with Argentina legend Diego Maradona will continue to be made, and until Messi leads his team to the biggest international prize, they won't go away.

Messi did win the Golden Ball for the tournament's best individual player, and the look on his face while receiving it said it all.

He understands that individual awards will never overshadow team awards. And again, until he can hoist the World Cup trophy, the absolute highest level of praise may elude him.

Germany got the title that it had been searching for. Now, Messi and Argentina will be on a search to find theirs. Will it come in Russia in 2018?

That's one of the many intriguing questions that will be up for debate heading into the next installment of the biggest event in the beautiful game.

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