The Golden boys of the 2014 World Cup
Germany's Manuel Neuer was named goalkeeper of the tournament following his team's extra-time victory over Argentina in the World Cup final on Monday morning (Singapore time).
He hailed his side's remarkable team spirit, paying 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," the Golden Glove winner 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."
“We have had incredible cohesion since the start of our preparations. We have had our share of setbacks, including losing players like Lars and Sven Bender, as well as Marco Reus, who all deserve to be world champions."
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer celebrates after receiving the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper after Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. Photo: AFP
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.
"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."
Messi gets Golden Ball
Lionel Messi was named the player of the tournament, but it was clear from his facial expression that he was receiving the Golden Ball trophy with a heavy heart, still stinging from Argentina's loss to Germany.
FIFA President Joseph Blatter congratulates Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi after he won the Golden Ball award after the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. Photo: AFP
Golden Glove winner Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (L) congratulates Golden Ball winner Argentina's Lionel Messi (10) after their 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Fans take pictures of Argentina's Lionel Messi (C) after he was awarded the Golden Ball for best player of the tournament at the end of their 2014 World Cup final against Germany at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. Photo: Reuters
The Barcelona legend and four time Player of the Year was a key part in Argentina’s march to the Maracana stadium, picking up four man of the match performances.
He scored four goals at the tournament, but failed to pick up the one honour eluding him after Germany substitute Mario Goetze’s 113th minute goal dashed the South Americans’ dream of a third title.