Maracana, where tears are made, hearts broken. Heroes born, tears awoken. Magic found, giants fallen.
The day that was supposed to belong to Lionel Messi and his Argentina team – you, know, just to rub it into the Brazilian fans by making it a triumvirate of misery and also, because Messi had to win the World Cup to join the pantheon of the greatest of greats – was brought to a grinding halt by Germany, so good, so professional, so ruthless, so efficient, and via Mario Gotze, who scored the most brilliant of winners you are ever likely to see, and that too in extra time in this most amazing of World Cup finals.
Germany just know how to win, no matter what the occasion, they just know how to get the job done. Staring at a penalty shootout (which they would have probably won anyway, considering the fact that they never lose in the shootout and also, you know, they have Manuel Neuer, the impregnable man mountain) Germany decided to end the match in extra time, having drawn, lulled Argentina, gallant, brave, but inevitable second best, into a sense of "we can win this, that title is in sight" with substitute Gotze coming to the fore in stunning style.
Andre Schurrle, another substitute, was the provider of the goal you will see and see again, before taking a look at it a few more times, running down the left in one last burst of energy as the clock wound down, before lobbing a ball up for Gotze to magically take down before thumping the ball past Sergio Romero, who could do little but look behind and see the ball bouncing back off the net and realise his worst nightmare and Germany's greatest dream coming true.
Tears inevitably poured down onto the hallowed turf in Rio De Janeiro – tears of joy for this ridiculously gifted Germany side, deserved winners of their first World Cup title since 1990, when they ironically beat Argentina, and tears of despair from Messi and co., who will now have to wait another four years to achieve that ultimate dream.
There was a fear of the match being a tight, turgid affair owing to the defensive strengths of both sides, but that proved to be far from the case as both teams carved out quite a few chances in the first 45.
The pattern of play was simple really – plenty of possession for Germany, with the European machines looking to penetrate through that well-marshalled Argentina backline, while the South Americans looked to catch their opponents on the counter.
While Germany always looked like they were capable of opening up Argentina, even if clear-cut chances were at a premium in the first half for them, it was Argentina who had the better chances, with Joachim Low's men struggling to cope with Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi's pace.
While all eyes were on Messi, obviously, it was Lavezzi who looked the more dangerous, making runs from deep, and causing a few worrying moments for the German back four.
Messi, though, did have his moments -- first, making a sparkling run right at the beginning of the game down the right, before seeing his cut-back calmly cleared by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was immense in midfield, and then some. The Argentina talisman then had one more of those ridiculously pacey runs down the right towards the end of the first half, with the ball just about staying away from the goalline thanks to some last-minute interference from the boot of Jerome Boateng.
In between those two opportunities, Gonzalo Higuain could have grabbed himself a brace, with the striker, who has bagged only one goal in this tournament, albeit the winning goal against Belgium in the quarterfinals, missing one absolutely brilliant chance, before burying another only to see the offside flag raised.
The first one came via a wonderful pass from Toni Kroos, who just overcooked, or undercooked, depending on what the midfielder was planning, his header back towards his own goal, with Higuain, only Manuel Neuer to beat and everything (OK, that as we all know is far from easy), completely shanking his strike.
The striker thought he had made amends for that bad miss a few moments later when he stroked the ball home from seven yards off a perfect cross from Lavezzi, but the flag was raised by the referee's assistant and correctly as well, with Higuain a yard or two offside.
Germany also had a couple of decent chances at the other end, but their first half was disrupted by two injuries – first a calf injury for Sami Khedira forced Low to make a change minutes before kickoff, before his replacement Christoph Kramer had to come off on the half hour after suffering a head injury following a clash with Ezequiel Garay.
Kramer's replacement – Ander Schurrle – gave Sergio Romero his first real test, firing in a rasping shot from 16 yards off a pick out from Thomas Muller which the Argentina goalkeeper did well to keep out.
Germany, though, will feel they should have gone into halftime with a lead as Benedikt Howedes thumped his free-as-they-come header from six yards onto the post, when the goal was screaming at him to be found.
And Germany were nearly made to pay for that huge miss a couple of minutes into halftime, as Messi, with the world watching and expecting him to bury the ball into the bottom corner, fired inches wide from the inside-left channel, when you would have put your house, and then a little bit more for the little magician to ripple that net.
The rest of the second half was all about "oh if only that pass was an inch to this side" and "c'mon a better strike there and that ball is in." A lot of nearly theres with just that little bit of magic needed to propel the ball into the net refusing to come out from the realms of the 2010 World Cup final.
Despite all that huffing and puffing, the inevitable extra time loomed and the additional 30 minutes nearly sprung the first goal of the game as both sides started on a bright note with Schurrle and Mesut Ozil, who enjoyed himself so much more in a free role following the inclusion of Schurrle in the first half, coming close for Germany, while Messi and Sergio Aguero nearly broke through immediately at the other end.
Six minutes into extra time, and Argentina should have gone 1-0 ahead as a raking pass from left-back Marcos Rojo from the left found Rodrigo Palacio, the man who missed a sitter against the Netherlands in the semifinal, with the substitute unable to guide his lob into goal.
Just when the match looked like heading into the everybody-but-Germany-dreads-it penalty shootout, with Messi and many of the other bigwigs fading into obscurity, in stepped Gotze in the 113th minute with the sweetest of first touches, and an even better second to send Germany into dreamland.