Thank goodness for Mario Gotze's superb volley seven minutes before the end of extra time in the World Cup final last night. It saved us from the depressing spectacle of a penalty shoot-out which would have been an awful way to end an otherwise very good World Cup tournament.
There could be little denying that Germany deserved to win the trophy, although there was never any chance that they were going to put Argentina to the sword as they has done with Brazil four days earlier. Argentina put up a much stiffer test, although their inability to get a single shot on target - even with eventual Balon D'Or winner Lionel Messi in their line-up - suggests that they struggled to make any inroads into the German defence. However, that hides the reality of misses by Higuain, Messi and Palacio, as well as the dominating presence of Manuel Neuer in the German goal.
Gotze's chest control and volley on the turn were worthy of a World Cup final winning goal. It was just a pity a goal didn't come early to potentially spark the final into life. It never quite lived up to its billing.
Germany now join Italy on four World Cup wins and with this young team, there's no doubt at all that they will be challenging again in Russia in four years time. They also become the first country, apart from Brazil, to win the World Cup away from their home continent. Full credit should go to Joachim Low, but also to Germany as a whole for the rebuilding plan they put in place after the failure at the 2004 European Championships.
If only England would do something similar.