Super Mario is Germany's World Cup winner
RIO DE JANEIRO - Pint-sized midfielder Mario Goetze wrote himself into German folklore by scoring the winning goal in Sunday's World Cup final that earned his country's fourth world title.
The baby-faced 22-year-old's superb chest and volley from an Andre Schuerrle cross on 113 minutes sealed Germany's 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium.
Goetze came on for veteran striker Miroslav Klose just before the start of extra-time and his 11th goal for Germany will go down in the history books as he made only his 35th appearance for 'Die Mannschaft'.
He picked up the man-of-the-match award in Rio as Germany became the first European side to win a World Cup in the Americas at the eighth attempt.
Having won two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund, the club he joined as an eight-year-old, Goetze became public-enemy number one with Borussia fans in April 2013 when he actioned a 37 million euro clause in his contract to sign for Bayern Munich.
The news caused a stir in Germany as Dortmund's star player turned his back on his home-town club after sitting out their 2-1 Champions League final defeat in May 2013 to his future employers having suffered an injury in the semi-final.
He came to Brazil on the back of an average first season at Bayern where he failed to win a regular place in Munich's star-studded starting side despite scoring 15 goals and providing 14 assists in all competition.
He first caught the eye in the Germany shirt with an outstanding performance in their 3-2 friendly win over Brazil in August 2011 when he score a sublime 67th-minute goal to overshadow Selecao star Neymar.
His winning goal in Sunday's final more than makes up for below-par performances in the Brazil 2014 group games. He was left on the bench for the 7-1 drubbing of Brazil in the semi-finals.
He was quiet in the 4-0 opening drubbing of Portugal, then scored Germany's opening goal with his knee having mistimed his header in the 2-2 draw against Ghana before coming off in the 69th minute.
Joachim Loew then brought him off the bench late in the nervy 1-0 win over the United States, but Goetze played only the first half of the 2-1 extra-time win over Algeria in the last 16.
He only came on for the last seven minutes of the 1-0 quarter-final win over France at the Maracana, but will be now be remembered for deciding the final on his return to Rio.
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