RIO DE JANEIRO -- Germany won the World Cup. Host Brazil won a world of new friends.
The now four-time world champions, the first European team to win it on South American soil, earned the honor of lifting the most recognized trophy in sports after a 1-0 victory in a final as terrific as the tournament itself.
For a 32-day showcase of football at its best, the winning goal was beautifully appropriate. Mario Goetze controlled the ball with his chest and then volleyed it into the Argentine goal, making it look simple.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, sat in the VIP section with other notables, waved a clenched fist. Vladimir Putin later reached across to shake her hand.