Germany win World Cup: 'Miracle boy' Gotze told to outshine Messi

Germany coach Joachim Low hailed Mario Gotze as the "miracle boy" after his extra-time strike sealed a 1-0 win over Argentina in Sunday's World Cup final.

Low also revealed he told Gotze to show the world he was better than Lionel Messi minutes before the substitute came on to score the winner.

Highlights of the 2014 Fifa World Cup final as Mario Gotze's superb extra-time winner wins the trophy for Germany against a misfiring Argentina

Highlights: Germany 1-0 Argentina

Victory gave Germany a fourth World Cup title and first for 24 years.

Gotze, 22, said: "It is an unbelievable feeling. You score that goal and you don't really know what's happening."

Gotze, who began the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Germany's starting line-up, came on as an 88th-minute substitute for Miroslav Klose in Sunday's final.

With seven minutes of extra time remaining, the Bayern Munich midfielder volleyed home with his left foot after controlling Andre Schurrle's left-wing cross on his chest.

"He is the wonder who can play in numerous positions, he is the decider who can come on and make a difference," said Low. "That is what he did."

Gotze, who joined Bayern in a £31.5m deal from Borussia Dortmund last summer, added: "It's indescribable. The dream has become a reality. It is absolutely sensational."

Germany fitting World Cup winners - Lineker

Despite being on the losing side in the final, Messi was named as the tournament's best player.

Coach Alejandro Sabella said the award was "very deserved", adding: "He played a great World Cup to get us where he did."

Germany counterpart Low, meanwhile, said victory in Brazil was the result of a 10-year project.

Germany were knocked out at the group stage of Euro 2004 without winning a game but have since reached three semi-finals and two finals at five major championships.

Before Sunday they had not won a tournament since tasting success in the 1996 European Championships in England.

"We've made constant progress and believed in the project," said the 54-year-old Low, who became coach in 2006 after stepping up from his role as assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann. "If any group deserves it, it's this team."

The end of a 10-year plan

After a dismal Euro 2004, coach Rudi Voller resigns and Jurgen Klinsmann takes over.

Germany host the 2006 World Cup and surpass expectations, losing to Italy in the semi-finals.

Lose the Euro 2008 final to Spain.

Beaten by Spain again at the semi-final stage of the 2010 World Cup.

Beaten by Italy in the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

Win the World Cup in Brazil, beating Argentina 1-0 in the final.

Manuel Neuer, who won the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper in the tournament, hailed an "unbelievable" moment as the national side lifted the trophy.

"The team has done superbly, not only the players, but also the team behind the team," he said.

Captain Philipp Lahm added: "Whether we have the best individual players or whatever does not matter, you have to have the best team. At the end, you stand there as world champions - an unbelievable feeling."

Gary Lineker analysis

"It was a gripping tournament and I think we have the right winners. Germany performed consistently and they've got some great players. I think they are going to be around for a long time to come."

Chelsea forward Schurrle added: "This is the best moment of my life. I had to cry because I was so overcome. I couldn't stop it. It was always a dream to be a world champion."

Centre-back Mats Hummels admitted the players were beginning to think about a penalty shootout before Gotze's goal.

"I am still completely trapped in another world, physically too exhausted to be able to rejoice euphorically, but that will come," he said.

"You can only be world champions when you act as a team. We wanted to make that clear to everyone the whole time."

A record 34.65m Germans watched the World Cup final, according to viewing figures released on Monday.

The match, broadcast on ARD public television, beat the previous record of 32.57m who had watched the 7-1 semi-final win over Brazil.

Germany win the 2014 World Cup

Germany's last World Cup win was in 1990, when they again beat Argentina 1-0 in the final

Germany win the 2014 World Cup

Three of Germany's squad - Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski - play for Arsenal

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