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World Cup Final: Germany win offers some relief for Brazilians fearing Argentina triumph in Rio de Janeiro
Germany clinched their fourth World Cup and denied Argentina their party in the Maracana on Sunday evening. Pete Hall reports from Rio on the atmosphere of relief in Brazil...
Last Updated: 14/07/14 10:06am
“Uma coisa eu te digo, para nunca se esquecer, o Pelé tem mais Copa que você,” bellowed beaming Brazilians outside the Maracana, voicing their relief. One thing I tell you, never forget, Pele has more World Cups than you.
After Argentina’s fervent fans had revelled in Brazil’s woe following the Selecao’s hammering at the hands of Germany in the semi-final, Mario Götze’s extra-time winner in Sunday’s World Cup final offered the hosts some comfort at the very last.
Watched over by 'Christ the Redeemer', who had been illuminated in the colours of the German flag for several days, Argentina couldn’t find any divine inspiration of their own.
For their fans, the agony of getting so close to the prize, in their rivals’ backyard, will take some getting over. But after a week Brazilians will want to forget, locals will now bask in reminding the ‘brother nation’ just how many World Cup medals Pele has won.
Brazilians joined forces with the German supporters to create an electric atmosphere around the iconic stadium. They even learned the language to ensure that the Argentinians didn’t create the partisan ‘Temple of Football’ they had threatened to pre-match.
Germany’s following were seeking an altogether different kind of assistance, with one group carrying an effigy of Mick Jagger wearing an Argentina shirt, hoping that the much-discussed ‘Jagger jinx’ would continue.
Early on, it seemed as though the Brazilians' nightmare would continue, as Argentina applied plenty of pressure on Germany’s backline, with Benedikt Howedes seemingly the target of their attacking forays in the opening 30 minutes.
And had Gonzalo Higuain converted a great chance after being inadvertently played in by Toni Kroos, the stadium could have descended into anarchy.
However, with ‘Pipita’ and his team-mates' profligacy in front of goal keeping the Germanic-Brazilian pact alive, Die Mannschaft began to venture forward much more.
As Germany took hold of the encounter, creating numerous opportunities, the locals began to become more vociferous in their taunts, counting to 28 - the number of years since Argentina last won the World Cup.
For the first time in a World Cup match since 1990, Argentina didn’t have a single shot on target, compared to Germany’s five and 64% possession.
As a result, those in blue and white began to sink further into their seats, somewhat expecting the inevitable.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Kroos were controlling the game from midfield, pushing further and further forward as the match wore on.
In the 90 minutes, the Bayern Munich pair completed more passes in the opposition half than the entire Argentina team - it seemed a matter of time.
Yet, no goal came, and after shootout success against the Netherlands, the Argentinians in the stadium began to regain hope that Lionel Messi and the rest would have their moment.
It wasn’t to be, and in reality, the best team over the whole tournament became champions, and for a European team to become World Cup winners on the South American continent, that is a significant achievement.
It would be churlish to ignore the fact that Argentina did have some gilt-edged chances of their own, and had one of those been converted, then Rio would have become an unbearable place to be Brazilian.
However, as was the case throughout the tournament, when Messi isn’t firing, Alejandro Sabella’s men struggle to get on the scoresheet. One goal between the trio of Rodrigo Palacio, Sergio Aguero and Higuain tells its own story.
Even with 100,000 Argentinians doing their best to spoil the party, the celebrations in Rio have begun in earnest and Germany has gained a friend - one determined to show their appreciation for the quality on show.
“On our way to the airport after the semi-final, Brazilians were stood on the pavements applauding. It went under our skin. Amazing,” Germany coach Joachim Löw said post-match, clearly taken aback by the actions of the locals.
Little does Löw realise what this result has done. Brazilians will not forget their saviour in a hurry, and their famous ‘Pentacampeão’ songs will continue to be sung with pride.
After all, having endured such torture in the aftermath of the Mineirazo massacre, a redeemed nation can sleep easy, knowing their nightmare never did quite materialise.