Germany coach Joachim Low told Mario Gotze to show the world he was better than Lionel Messi, minutes before he scored the goal that won the World Cup.
Bayern Munich forward Gotze, 22, came off the bench to volley home in extra time as Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup for the fourth time, 24 years after their previous triumph.
Low said he told Gotze at half-time in extra time: “Show them that you are better and can decide the World Cup,” adding that “Gotze is the miracle boy.”
Gotze began the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Germany’s starting line-up but only started three of their seven matches, and came on as an 88th-minute substitute for Miroslav Klose in Sunday’s final.
His goal came with seven minutes of extra time remaining, volleying home after taking Andre Schurrle’s cross on his chest.
Low said: “He is the wonder who can play in numerous positions, he is the decider who can come on and make a difference and that is what he did.
“We are proud to become the first European country to win the title in South America. In Brazil, in Rio, in this football-loving country.”
Gotze, who joined Bayern from Borussia Dortmund for £31.5m last summer, said: “It is an unbelievable feeling, you just score that goal and you just don’t really know what’s happening.
“It’s indescribable, you are having a party with the team, with the country, the dream has become a reality. It is absolutely sensational.”
Despite being on the losing side in the final, Messi was named as the tournament’s best player and coach Alejandro Sabella said the award was “very deserved”, adding: “He played a great World Cup to get us where he did.”
Germany counterpart Low, meanwhile, said victory in Brazil was the result of a 10-year project.
Germany were knocked out at the group stage of Euro 2004 without winning a game, but have since reached three semi-finals and two finals at five major championships.
They had not won a tournament since Euro 96 in England.
Low said: “We started this project 10 years ago and what has happened is the result of many years’ work.
“We’ve made constant progress and believed in the project. We worked a lot and, if any group deserves it, it’s this team.”