The party will go long into the Brazilian night for Germany, that much is sure. Joachim Löw and his team have won the 2014 World Cup after beating Argentina 1-0 in extra time thanks to an exceptional goal from Mario Götze. Domestic football in Germany has been on the up in the last few years, and after tonight they've stamped their claim on the international stage too. That's it from me, I, Jonathan Harding, am signing off. Another four years until the World Cup returns, until then Germany will be champions. Gute Nacht.
Love for Löw
What a moment for Löw? After coming so close at the 2010 World Cup and then missing out at the 2012 European Championships, this is a real moment of vindication for the Germany coach. Stability the key but also the lessons he learned and put into practice here. His players belt out Tage wie diese (Toten Hosen) - "Days like this". There have been suggestions that Löw might not stay on after this, but tonight is a special moment. A real sign of just how united this camp is as the Germany wives and girlfriends thank Löw. The Germany family is big and they've got plenty to shout about tonight.
The 23 men that delivered for Germany
Schweinsteiger leads the way with the golden trophy. You get the feeling that the team might have won it just for him. Then again, if there was one man they've won it for then it was coach Joachim Löw. The man with the plan has delivered and it's been a sensational ride. 2014 World Cup winners include Ron-Robert Zieler, Roman Weidenfeller, Matthias Ginter, Erik Durm and Kevin Großkreutz - all of whom didn't play a minute in Brazil but played a part in this win.
Germany are the 2014 World Cup winners
...and lifts the trophy to the explosion of fireworks and smiles. Everyone gets a go lifting the trophy, and enjoying this moment. The fireworks are drowning out almost every other sound. Löw lifts the trophy, and there's a special feeling in the squad. Lahm has his hand on his head and is shaking his head. He can't believe it. Hummels can't even stand up, but he, along with the rest of them, make their way down to the pitch to celebrate in front of their fans in the Maracana.
Germany and their special moment
It's time for Germany. Schweinsteiger hauls himself up the 48 steps, just about, to lead this team towards the moment that will stay in the memory. Klose is all smiles and Germany have started to jump for joy. Löw shares a smile and a hug with Merkel - I don't think she'll mind the economic dip tomorrow morning after this - before he joins his jubilant 23. Lahm arrives...
Messi picks up best player
Lionel Messi follows Neuer, and claims the Golden Ball for the best player in the tournament. He doesn't look that interested mind. His Argentina team follow him up as they claim their silver medals. This is a tough moment for Argentina.
Manuel Neuer is the first one up, and he shares a big hug with Angela Merkel before picking up the Golden Glove award. There's no doubt he was the best goalkeeper in Brazil, and he's probably the best in the world.
Friends and family
Wives, girlfriends, children have all spilled onto the field now as the trophy stand is being built. Julian Draxler, who came on against Brazil, looks like a man who cannot believe what has just happened. Schweinsteiger and Podolski share a moment. They've been here since the start, and now they've seen it through. They are World Cup winners.
Messi left empty-handed
It's not a night to be empty handed, but that's what Argentina are. Messi stares into the middle distance, Aguero has no words, just tears. But for a bit of composure, it might have ended oh so differently for Argentina tonight. But tonight is Germany's night.
Tears, jubilaton and love
What a moment for Germany. They have won their fourth World Cup thanks to an extra-time goal from Mario Götze. The celebrations are underway. Tears from Neuer, a desperate embrace between Schweinsteiger and Löw and huge smiles from Podolski. It's hard to understand just how much this means to this crop, one that Löw started moulding together from 2004 onwards. Proof that there is a happy ending.
FULL TIME! Germany have won the 2014 World Cup!
120+2 minutes: ...but the free kick is over. Is that it? Have Germany done it?
120+1 minutes: Messi drives towards goal... Schweinsteiger throws himself in front and Argentina have a free kick. Schweinsteiger has cramp, Argentina have a chance...
120 minutes: Mesut Özil off, Per Mertesacker on. He comes on and heads clear, straight away. How much time left? How close are Germany? Two minutes.
118 minutes: Neuer is called into action and responds, and the following header is over. Germany are nearly there... Argentina look done.
114 minutes: Helmut Rahn, Gerd Müller, Andreas Brehme. And now, Mario Götze joins Germany's list of World Cup final goalscorers. Great work from Schürrle on the left ends in a cross and Götze controls the ball brilliantly with his chest before volleying into the far corner with his weaker left foot. A fantastic finish, and perhaps even worthy of winning the World Cup.
113 minutes: GOAL! Mario Götze has scored for Germany! Jubilation for Germany!
112 minutes: Schweinsteiger is back on and has the fearless look of Kevin Costner in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves about him. He wants to win this one. Argentina are putting in a few late tackles here.
109 minutes: Schweinsteiger is down again, and Germany have another free kick. Germany's football heart is bleeding under his right eye after Aguero appeared to scrape him on the face. Naughty, naughty Sergio - and no yellow either. He gets treatment and so Germany are a man down for a bit.
106 minutes: The last 15 minutes of the 2014 World Cup are underway. Will this final follow the 2010 one and end in last-minute drama or are penalties the way to pick a winner between Germany and Argentina? Let's find out...
Half time in extra time
105 minutes: A tired cross-ball field from Toni Kroos but Argentina can't counter. Heaving chests from everyone out there now and no one wants to make an error. Lahm takes a tumble and that's half time.
102 minutes: Schweinsteiger takes a late clip from Mascherano and the Bayern Munich man is wincing. He's been a monster in midfield today, but how much has he got in those legs after 100 minutes? Must be running on adrenaline now. Löw still has one more change in his locker...
98 minutes: There's that mistake. Hummels, who has had a near perfect tournament, misses a header and Palacio loops over Neuer but Boateng sees it wide of the goal. Huge sigh of relief from every Germany player and fan right there. Another big chance (third by my count) missed by Argentina.
92 minutes: Six World Cup finals have gone to extra time before this one, with two of them (Brazil in 1994 and Italy in 2006) going to penalties. All the other ones were decided in this half an hour period. Will 2014 follow suit? The tempo has slowed. A mistake is waiting to be made here.
91 minutes: Another half an hour then. What a start too! Götze and Schürrle combine in the box, but Romero saves Schürrle's stinging effort. Özil then has a go, but that's blocked and Argentina are away. A monstrous tackle from Boateng stops the attack. The Bayern man has been marvellous tonight. Furious start to extra time.
90+3 minutes: Full time! We're going to extra time here in the 2014 World Cup final.
90+2 minutes: The ball goes around the Argentina box, but it won't go in. Then Argentina try at the other end, but Hummels makes a huge tackle. Hardly any time left in the 90...
90+1 minutes: Götze goes for glory from range but doesn't get it right. Perhaps the pass to Schürrle would have been better there... Two minutes left of injury time. A late twist here in Rido de Janeiro?
88 minutes: A change for Germany. Miroslav Klose might well have played his last game for Germany and he leaves to a standing ovation. The 36-year-old leaves as the World Cup's all-time leading goalscorer. Well done sir, well done. Mario Götze comes on for him. Can the Munich man be the saviour?
87 minutes: First Boateng makes a brilliant tackle to stop Messi, and then Schweinsteiger comes out of nowhere. Tackling, Bavarian style, keeps Argentina at bay.
86 minutes: Another change, and again it's Argentina. Enzo Perez has run his raise, Fernando Gago comes on.
84 minutes: There's a fan on and so both sides take a moment, but Germany don't seem to want it. They're on top and are pushing for a late winner. Schürrle puts the ball in, cleared and so Germany rebuild. There is no room for error now. Five minutes plus stoppages to go.
82 minutes: Löw calls for Germany to push on and find that winner. Özil does brillinatly on the right and feeds a lovely, low ball for Kroos but his equally low shot is tame and goes wide. Good chance, but again, just not quite right on the night for Germany.
80 minutes: The ball is all over the place. Germany can't get it under control, Höwedes in particular. "Beni" has popped up in the box but he is surprised as the ball is. Then Klose has a go, but he can't get it under control either.
78 minutes: Change o'clock. Higuain has missed a glorious chance and scored an offside one. A forgettable World Cup final for the Napoli man. On for him, the man with the worst haircut at the 2014 World Cup, Rodrigo Palacio.
75 minutes: The ball pings around the edge of Germany's box and then Messi gets a hold of it, runs and runs and then curls goalwards. It's Iran all over again is it? No, sadly not for the Argentina fans. It goes harmelssly wide. Still no goals but it's absorbing.
71 minutes: Shirley you can't be serious? Sadly, Andre Schürrle is. The Chelsea winger finds himself with the ball at his feet in the box, but it comes too quickly to him and the slips away before the chance can really appear. So close, but not quite. He then fires a speculative volley miles over. Tension really creeping in now. Less than 20 minutes to go...
69 minutes: Marcos Rojo is free on the left flank and his ball is dangerous, but a sliding Schweinsteiger deals with the problem. Time for some changes perhaps? No movement from either bench yet.
65 minutes: Javier Mascherano is booked after a late tackle on Klose, and minutes later Aguero clips Schweinsteiger and he too is in the book. Frustration from Argentina or just a reminder that they're still very much in this?
63 minutes: Schürrle breaks and Germany's bench is up, but his cross hits Özil rather than finds him and the chance is gone. Aguero and Hummels tussle and it's a corner. They should have a second after Klose gets the last touch but it's a goal kick in the end.
60 minutes: The hour mark. Lahm crosses from the right after another roam from the Germany captain and Klose leaps and connects but Romero saves comfortably. A little tame from Germany's leading goalscorer, but Germany are slowing coming forward again. The longer it stay goalless, the more Argentina seem to feel they can win this...
57 minutes: Ouch! Manuel Neuer has gone walk about again and as he leaps to punch clear, he collides with the on-rushing Higuain. The Argentine striker gets a face full of Neuer's body and the result? A Germany free kick. Everyone is confused.
52 minutes: Well, Germany have found themselves but haven't found Argentina's goal yet. Höwedes gets away on the left but he can't put the cross in. The tempo has just gone up a notch or two, along with the intensity. Argentina try to feed a long ball through, but Boateng, as he has been all game, is on hand to deal with the threat.
47 minutes: Did Germany come out of the changing rooms at the break? Lionel Messi bursts through and has a clear sight on goal but what looked like a goal has ended in a miss as the Argentine pulls his shot wide. Huge moment of relief for Germany. Another chance gone for Argentina.
46 minutes: The second half has started. Has the 2014 World Cup only got 45 more minutes left? Argentina have made one change, Ezequiel Lavezzi has come off and Sergio Aguero has replaced him. Will the Manchester City man score the decisive goal or have Germany got more to come?
Half time: An intriguing first half. Germany have enjoyed a 63-37 split of possession, 245 to Argentina's 86 completed passes and 4 shots to Argentina's 3. That sort of tells the story of the half, but it also doesn't. Kramer coming in for Khedira and then coming off injured, Higuain scoring but offside and then Höwedes hitting the post. It's been just as thrilling as we expected.
45+1 minutes: HUGE chance! Höwedes leaps superbly and smashes his header onto the post. The rebound falls to Müller, but he's offside. The Schalke captain was mighty free there, but he just couldn't angle his header. Nervy moments for Argentina.
43 minutes: Great combination play from Germany. Müller, this time on the right, drills it towards the edge of the box and Klose turns sharply to pull the ball back for Kroos but his effort is tame and Romero saves. Minutes later, Müller looks to Klose again but it's beyond him. Fantastic from two of Germany's 'M' lads.
40 minutes: Jerome Boateng is Germany's hero. Lionel Messi goes on one of those weaving runs and it nearly ends the way it normally does, and although the effort squeezes past Neuer, Boateng is on hand to clear ball before Argentina's attackers could pounce. Feels like this could be a one-goal game.
37 minutes: Who said anything about Germany being disrupted? Müller breaks down the left and the ball falls to Schürrle, but his swerving shot is saved by Romero with Özil ducking out of the way. Good effort from the Chelsea man.
36 minutes: All these changes from Germany have disrupted them a little. A nasty tackle from Benedikt Höwedes sees him pick up yellow and Argentina have sensed they might have a chance to strike. Messi plunders forward but his shot is blocked, and Neuer claims the resulting corner confidently.
32 minutes: What a shame. Kramer had started so well but he just can't carry on, and understandably so. Interesting change here from Joachim Löw as he brings on Andre Schürrle. That's an attacking one, but now Germany are in more of a 4-2-3-1.
31 minutes: It's a goal! Isn't it? No, it's not. Ezequiel Lavezzi crosses through Germany's back line and Higuain gobbles up the finish but as he streams away, the offside flag is raised. Worrying for Germany, but it's still all level. Schweinsteiger picks up a yellow for a nibble.
27 minutes: Certainly Germany who are controlling more of this game as it develops - Thomas Müller nearly gets to a through-ball but it's beyond him. Never count Argentina out though. After all, Higuain alone has already had more shots (2) than Argentina did in the 1990 final against Germany. Certainly an improvement.
21 minutes: Toni Kroos sends a dangerous header back to Manuel Neuer and it's short, leaving Higuain a chance on goal but he fires wide! What was Kroos thinking? Phew! Panic over for Germany, but will Argentina rue that? Higuain just didn't catch that right.
20 minutes: Germany on top in terms of possession, but nothing concrete for either side. Mesut Özil tracks back and looks keen to prove a point, but then Kramer gets a nasty blow to the face from Ezequiel Garay's incoming shoulder in Argentina's box. He looks shaken up but carries on. Another questionable one perhaps for the physios.
13 minutes: Philipp Lahm curls in a tasty ball for Miroslav Klose, but he just can't reach it. The Lazio striker is on the search for his 17th World Cup goal this evening, not that 16 isn't already a remarkable achievement. Germany are having a lot of joy from the flanks so far - a dangerous tactic from Argentina.
9 minutes: Christoph Kramer has settled well and Germany have certainly enjoyed spells of possession in Argentina's final third. But wait, what's this? It's Lionel Messi who leaves Mats Hummels in his wake to deliver a dangerous ball, but Bastian Schweinsteiger is on hand to clear. A warning for Germany.
4 minutes: Germany's free-kick routine doesn't go to plan, and Gonzalo Higuain fires wide on Argentina's resulting break. A nervous opening from both sides, but it's to be expected. This is the World Cup final after all.
Kick-off in the Maracana! The 2014 World Cup final between Argentina and Germany is underway!
Kramer in for injured Khedira! Even before the kick-off of the 2014 World Cup final, drama has struck. Christoph Kramer is starting instead of Sami Khedira, who had calf problems in the warm-up.
Germany arrived at the Maracana a little more than an hour before kick-off, soon announcing an unchanged team from the 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semifinal.
Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella also announced an unchanged side from the semifinal, with injured midfielder Angel di Maria unable to race back into the first team.
Sixty-four matches, 32 countries, 170 goals, almost 3.5 million spectators around Brazil: in a matter of hours the 2014 World Cup will conclude with a new champion. Preparations began in the stadium in Rio with some glitzy costumes and dancing as almost 80,000 supporters began filling the Maracana. Two ball-juggling experts clad in German and Argentine colors brought the affair back on topic with some trickery in the center circle. Pop singer Shakira, wife of Spain international Gerard Pique, then took the microphone, followed by guitarist Carlos Santana and others.
Joachim Löw's German team can become the first European country to triumph in the Americas, while Argentina can seek revenge not only for the 1990 final, but for their quarterfinal exits in 2006 and 2010. The Germans have waited 24 years for a World Cup, the exact length of time it took Brazil (1970 then 1994) and Italy (1982 then 2006) to win their fourth.
"Kaiser" Franz Beckenbauer, the coach when Andreas Brehme's penalty beat Argentina in 1990, said on Twitter that he was predicting a 2-0 win in Sunday's final.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel landed in Rio on Sunday afternoon ready for the game, having said in her major summer interview with broadcaster ZDF that she did not expect another mauling like the 7-1 against hosts Brazil. "That doesn't matter to me. A win's the important thing," Merkel said when asked what the score would be.
Argentina have not conceded a goal in the knockout stages of the World Cup, defending with two well-organized lines of four marshalled by defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano. Germany are the World Cup's top scorers with 17, but 11 of those goals came as Portugal and Brazil self-destructed.