GERMANY’S World Cup final man of the match Bastian Schweinsteiger believes extraordinary squad depth was the deciding factor in their successful bid for a fourth triumph.
Two substitutes in Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze combined to fashion the extra-time winner against Argentina on Sunday, while stellar talents such as Julian Draxler did not get off the bench and Sami Khedira, Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan all missed out through injury.
“I’ve never been in a team that has so much power off the bench,” said the Bayern Munich midfielder. “That is the reason why we won the World Cup. We’re going to enjoy the moment now. It’s incredible.”
Gundogan, Reus and Lars Bender would likely have been in Brazil but for injury, while Khedira hurt his calf in the warm-up and replacement Christoph Kramer lasted just half an hour after being concussed.
“We all had an incredible cohesion since the preparation camp, and we even had a few setbacks when we lost players like Bender and Marco Reus,” said Manuel Neuer, who won the Golden Glove award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper. “But they are also world champions. The whole of Germany is world champion.”
Germany’s jubilant players, who each earned a £240,000 bonus, are due to parade the trophy in Berlin today, as the celebrations following their triumph in Rio continue.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and pop star Rihanna were among the VIPs who joined Schweinsteiger and his team-mates, including Chelsea’s Schurrle and Arsenal trio Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker, for a post-match party in the Maracana dressing room.
Back home, an all-time record German television audience of 34.7m tuned in for the match, while a peak of more than 20m watched in Britain. BBC’s coverage peaked at 16.7m, almost four times ITV’s 4m.
Germany’s 1-0 win broke Twitter records for the most frantic activity around a live event, with 618,275 tweets per minute, almost 40,000 more per minute than the previous high, the team’s 7-1 win over Brazil in last week’s semi-final.
The game was also the biggest sporting occasion in Facebook’s history with 280m interactions, beating the 2013 Super Bowl’s 245m.
HOW WORLD CUP RESULT WAS GREETED IN GERMANY... AND ARGENTINA
Tabloid Bild kept its front page simple but triumphant, hailing Germany as “World Champions”, across an image of final hero Mario Gotze
“We’ll see you in Berlin”, said Berliner Morgenpost in a reference to today’s planned victory parade in the German capital, while a disbelieving Die Welt favoured “It is true” in the colours of the German flag
Beaten finalists Argentina received a sympathetic response from their media, with English-language daily the Buenos Aires Herald echoing the tone of other outlets by stating: “You made us proud”