Manchester City were on the verge of going from no World Cup winners to three in one night, but in the end it is Arsenal and Chelsea who will be welcoming home their championsNobody has ever won the World Cup while representing Manchester City, and the Premier League champions came within a whisker of adding three players in one evening.
It was not to be, though, with Germany winning their fourth world title after Mario Gotze scored the solitary goal in extra-time. Chelsea's Andre Schurrle carved the chance out almost single-handedly, and he will go back to England as a champion alongside an Arsenal trio.
So, for the final time this summer, Goal examines how the Premier League representatives performed at the World Cup.
The Chelsea man started the night on the bench but ended it having set up the winning goal in the World Cup final.
For most of the match he was involved in a running head-to-head with Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta after coming on for Cristoph Kramer, who himself was a last-minute replacement for Sami Khedira, in the first half.
Both Schurrle and Zabaleta had their good moments and bad; at one point the German skipped past the Argentine on the edge of the box only to be clattered, although the referee played advantage, and late on he failed to get the ball under control when free in the box 16 yards out.
He played some neat balls to stand-in left-back Benedikt Howedes, which went to waste, and actually forced a good save from Sergio Romero in the first half, although it would not have counted as Mesut Ozil was standing offside in front of the Argentina keeper.
Schurrle did make a decisive contribution, though; not wasting any time, he drove down the left with a determined run and swung in the cross for Gotze to win Germany their fourth World Cup. It was an excellent run and ball in which was every bit as good as the finish itself.
The Arsenal playmaker had a very good game for Germany, picking his passes well and probing the Argentina backline when afforded the opportunity.
For a player who has been forced to live and die by assist statistics, he will be disappointed Toni Kroos didn't fire home from the edge of the box after he laid the ball on a plate from the right-hand side.
He had earlier set up Kroos with some fine footwork, but the Bayern Munich man, who didn't have his best night, sent a slow shot straight down Romero's throat.
Like Schurrle, Ozil was also let down slightly by Howedes, who twice wasted good opportunities to cross after being played in neatly.
Ozil was withdrawn in the 120th minute, with Gunners team-mate Per Mertesacker coming on in his place - and not being called into action. Club-mate Lukas Podolski remained on the bench for the full 120 minutes.
|DEMICHELIS & ZABALETA
The Manchester City men were rocks for the most part, keeping all-time World Cup top goalscorer Miroslav Klose and 10-goal Thomas Muller quiet. Whether in the air or on the ground, inside or outside the box, Demicheles was all over Klose and kept him away from Romero's goal, while Zabaleta was close to Muller when the Bayern man was on the left, before keeping tabs on Chelsea's Schurrle when he came off the bench.
Zabaleta also provided a good low cross early on, only for it to evade his two team-mates in the centre, and cut out a dangerous Muller cross in the 93rd minute of normal time.
But the decisive goal, which handed Germany their fourth World Cup and denied Argentina their third, came when Schurrle crossed from the left for Gotze, who replaced Klose in extra-time, to get away from Demichelis to take the ball on his chest and fire into the far corner. Just one move and the Manchester City men were deflated.
The striker only returned from yet another hamstring injury late in the semi-final against the Netherlands and he looked well off the pace that night, but he was back in better health when introduced at half-time for Ezequiel Lavezzi, who had actually looked good in his 45 minutes on the pitch.
Aguero did not get much of a sniff in front of goal, though, and could've been sent off after first clattering Bastian Schweinsteiger to earn a yellow, and then drawing blood from the Germany midfielder with a fist to the cheek.
On the rare occasions he got one-on-one with a Germany defender he did not have the sufficient pace to beat his man. He was clearly not fit enough to make a difference, perhaps like his close friend, Lionel Messi.