Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer hailed his side’s remarkable team spirit after their 1-0 World Cup final win over Argentina at the Maracana on Sunday.
Neuer, who was named goalkeeper of the tournament following the extra-time victory, paid tribute to the squad and coaching staff, as well as the players who were unable to travel to Brazil due to injury.
“It’s unbelievable,” he told German television. “All of Germany is world champions now.
“All those who didn’t play brought such togetherness into the team, that’s why we won the World Cup.”
Substitute Mario Goetze volleyed home with just seven minutes of extra time remaining to clinch Germany’s fourth World Cup and the first by a European side on South American soil.
The game had looked to be heading for a penalty shootout until fellow substitute Andre Schuerrle escaped down the left and sent in a cross that Goetze controlled on his chest before slamming past Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Neuer’s role in Germany’s triumph extended far beyond his superb shot-stopping abilities as his perfectly timed dashes out of the area to cut off opposition breaks instilled confidence in his back four and helped launch fast counter-attacks.
Several times he put himself on collision course with opposition strikers but he never backed out of a challenge.
“It’s not about me and whether or not I risk my neck for the team,” he added. “The team did a super job, everything was great, the team behind the team.
“We’re going to celebrate for at least five weeks now. At some point we’ll stop celebrating but we’ll always keep waking up with a smile.”