KEIR RADNEDGE in MARACANA: Germany coach Joachim Low hailed Mario Gotze as a “boy wonder” for the manner of his winning strike deep into extra-time in the World Cup triumph over Argentina in Maracana.

Low also revealed that he told Gotze, during half-time in the extra 30 minutes, that he could surpass Argentina’s Lionel Messi and this was the perfect opportunity to prove it. The Bayern Munich forward did just that.

Low said: “In the half-time in extra time I said to him: ‘OK, show the world that you are better than Messi and can decide the World Cup. You have the potential to do just that.’ I had a ¬†good feeling about him.

“Gotze is a miracle boy. A boy wonder. He can play in any position. I know he’s always able to decide any match – and it was a great decider.”

Team tribute

Low also paid tribute to senior players such as “marvellous Bastian Schweinsteiger,” captain Philipp Lahm and central defender Per Mertesacker who came on to secure defence in the last few minutes.

He also noted the “wonderful” response his players had received from their Brazilian hosts and paid tribute to all his players for the work which had been put in down the years and for which they had finally received their just reward.

Low said: “We’ve been together now but we started this project 10 years ago and this is the result of many years of work, beginning with Jurgen Klinsmann and then we carried it on.

“I think our strength was being able continually to improve our performance levels. We made constant progress and we believed in it and worked for it and if anyone deserves it then it’s this team with Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Mertesacker, Podolski, Klose and so on.

“We were disappointed once or twice because we have always played good football. But I think here we showed we deserved this. We showed the best performance of all the teams over seven matches.

Khedira switch

“This team has developed an unbelievable team spirit. It has a marvellous technical capacity and willpower to carry it out and for this reason we made it and we became the first European team to win the title in Latin America, in Rio, in Brazil . . . in the football country par excellence and this makes us very proud.”

Low said that Germany had “never been this good before at set pieces before,” in both attacking and defensive phases his play.

He also explained the late change which necessitated replacing Sami Khedira in the starting line-up.

Low said: “He had a problem with a calf injury in our final training then had treatment in the morning and everything was fine. But during the warm-up he said he needed more treatment for a pain in hs leg and so we decided not to risk it.

“We had hoped he would be able to play but we couldn’t risk that, after 10 or 15 minutes, we would have to substitute a player that early so, at very short notice , we decided to bring in Christoph Kramer.”

Kramer, after taking a heavy blow to the head, had to be substituted himself after half an hour . . . by Andre Schurrle who would ultimately create the winning goal for another substitute in Gotze.

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