Lasting legacy

"It is unbelievable," German keeper Manuel Neuer, who also picked up the tournament's Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper, told German football magazine Kicker. "The team has done superbly, not only the players, but also the team behind the team. At some point we will stop celebrating, but we will always stand up again with a smile."

The feeling of incredulity was echoed by his teammate, captain Philipp Lahm, who lifted trophy in front of thousands of fans in Rio, alongside ten world leaders, including the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

"It's unbelievable what we have achieved," said the Bayern Munich defender. "We improved throughout the tournament and didn't get down when things didn't always go our way.

"We just stuck to our path and at the end we're standing here as world champions. It's an unbelievable feeling. The team stayed calm and patient, we knew that we had something left at the end."

Positive press

The world's sports media praised the German victory, with Andy Brassell of Bleacher Report UK tweeting, "Germany deserving winners, on the night and overall. Thoroughly satisfying final between two really good sides, though."

CBS' Jason La Canfora tweeted his agreement. "Amazing tourney for Germany. We'll (sic) deserved. Began by thrashing Portugal and ended by beating both South American giants. Best team won."

Lionel Messi, named Golden Ball winner for an outstanding tournament, couldn't fulfill his destiny in the final. Plagued by comparisons with that other Argentine great, Diego Maradona, Messi couldn't replicate his usual form in this match. However, Sabella dismissed suggestions that this left him short of Maradona's achievements.

"He's already an all-time great," he said. "He's very tired after a long season."

Coping with loss

Argentina's Javier Mascherano, who kept his team's hopes alive with a heroic, last-ditch tackle on Arjen Robben during the semifinal against the Netherlands, said that the pain of losing was "immense."

The teary-eyed vice-captain, who has likely seen his last World Cup finals, said that while his team had the lion's share of chances, they couldn't convert them. "We wanted to win this for the people of Argentina, for those who came here to support us, but we lost.

"We have represented our country the best we could, though. We have to lift our heads despite the pain. We gave everything we could out there.

"And we only had to last another five minutes at the end. We just didn't have that little bit of luck that you need in a final."