BERLIN - Germany basked in the glory of their fourth World Cup title on Monday after a 1-0 thriller against Argentina made them the first European team to win football's top tournament while in South America. Ecstatic fans were preparing a heroes' welcome for the Mannschaft on Tuesday in Berlin after partying the night away with fireworks and honking motorcades across the country, singing 'Oh, it's beautiful!' and chanting 'Super Deutschland!' into the early hours.
Bayern Munich star Mario Goetze struck in the 113th minute of a gripping battle at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium as Argentina superstar Lionel Messi's hopes of emulating Diego Maradona ended in defeat. Media hailed "Super Mario" Goetze as the country's new "football god" and showered praise on the team, the first to win the title for a reunified Germany, who are due to be honoured upon their arrival home on Tuesday with a giant party at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate. "It Is True", headlined Die Welt daily, with the three words printed in the national colours of black, red and gold. "What a match, what a fight, what drama."
With four World Cups, the European powerhouse is now just one behind Brazil's record tally of five. The tournament earlier saw Germany crush Brazil by a humiliating 7-1, and the hosts lost Saturday's game for third place 3-0 to the Netherlands, sealing the fate of national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose contract Brazil's football confederation decided not to renew, according to local media.
Germany printed victory stamps before final: Germany will this week issue a World Cup victory postage stamp, five million of which were printed before the final was even held, officials said Monday. "This year I dared to hope very early on that our team would take the title," said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. "It's wonderful that the team turned this dream into a reality. I hope that this stamp will remind many citizens of the immense joy the team has given us." The 60-cent stamp, marked "Germany Football World Champion 2014", will go on sale Thursday after the first commemorative copies are presented to the coach, players and team staff. Graphic designer Lutz Menze told German national news agency DPA that the image shows footballers running, but not their faces in order to honour the whole team, not an individual.
Blatter gives event 9.25 out of ten: FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Monday lavished praise on the World Cup in Brazil, saying it had been a "very special" event. "What makes the World Cup so very special this time is the quality of the football, the intensity of the Games," said Blatter, adding FIFA gave the tournament 9.25 out of ten. Blatter saluted the passion and the intensity of the 32 teams in the event which culminated in Germany beating Argentina in the final on Sunday to win their fourth title. "There was not one single match which didn't have this intensity," Blatter told reporters. "It's more than emotion and passion -- it is a drama," said Blatter.
Thousands welcome home Argentina: A crestfallen Lionel Messi kept a low profile as thousands of people greeted the Argentina squad on their return home Monday, just hours after their World Cup final defeat to Germany. "I just want to thank everyone for the welcome," Messi, who spent much of the morning with a pained look on his face, told a reception with President Cristina Kirchner at the offices of the Argentine Football Association. "I would have liked to have brought home the Cup and enjoyed it with you (the country). We gave everything we had but we just didn't manage it."
Kirchner had the bright energy of a school teacher as she greeted the squad -- who in turn resembled pupils shyly trying to keep to the back row and avoid being called on to speak after their 1-0 extra-time loss on Sunday. She met the team with hugs and set a light tone for the welcome ceremony, teasing striker Gonzalo Higuain, forward Ezequiel "Pocho" Lavezzi and winger Angel Di Maria, among others. She drew laughs when she told Higuain he should go to the doctor for an MRI scan after German keeper Manuel Neuer crashed into him in the second half, an incident that controversially the referee waved away. Kirchner tried hard to provoke a blush from Lavezzi and Di Maria, often described as the team's best-looking members. "Pocho, come here, they say you're the sex symbol of the team," she told Lavezzi.
, trying to persuade him to say a few words. "Di Maria, come here, the girls are asking for you," she said.