RIO DE JANEIRO —Bastian Schweinsteiger says he always believed Germany could be the best at the 2014 World Cup, despite losing out at the semifinal stage in the last two tournaments.
Schweinsteiger was part of the side that lost to Italy in the last four in 2006 and also featured in the team that succumbed to Spain in 2010, but he can finally celebrate a World Cup win some two weeks short of his 30th birthday.
The midfielder says his team always had belief it would come out on top, even in the toughest moments of its campaign.
"It’s an unbelievable feeling," the Bayern Munich midfielder said in the mixed zone after the extra-time win over Argentina.
"There were some matches, especially against France, when it was not so easy. But we believed in ourselves. Against Argentina it was the same - we believed in ourselves.
"We said 'come on guys, we have to do this' - and we did it. Since 2006 we have always been in the semifinals, but now we have taken a step up."
Germany thrashed Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals last Tuesday to make it to the Maracana showpiece, but found Argentina a tougher nut to crack, having been forced to wait until Mario Gotze's strike in the second half of extra time to seal victory. And Schweinsteiger says his side's quality shone through in the end.
"The most important thing is that we have quality," Schweinsteiger said. "We have quality players, tradition in our game and mentality.
"We can run, we can press, we can defend, and the mix between this and the mentality – that’s the solution. Now we are number one in the world and we want to enjoy this moment."
"We had no pressure," he added. "It was not like in London [in the 2013 Champions League final against Dortmund]. That was pressure. The first 25 minutes of that match were not easy at all, but there was no pressure in this one.
"We are the first European team to win a World Cup in South America. For me it’s very special, the guys are so happy. We played tonight for the Brazilians as well, so we would like to thank them for their support."