After reigning champions Spain were eliminated in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup following a dismal title defence, an open semifinal field made for an unpredictable final stages of the tournament.
One of the would-be contenders - hosts Brazil - were exposed, however, when they were dismantled 7-1 by Germany in front of their own fans in Belo Horizonte.
It was one of the most shocking scorelines in the tournament's history, and prompted the kind of mourning across the nation to rival those that accompanied hosts Brazil's defeat against Uruguay in 1950.
That outstanding semifinal performance appeared to set Germany up for their fourth title, and opened the door for Joachim Loew's side to establish themselves as Spain's successors.
In their way, however, stood Argentina, for whom Lionel Messi appeared desperate to add the Mundial to his extensive honours haul.
Ultimately, it was Germany across the line, as Mario Gotze's extra-time goal took their World Cup final record to won four, lost four.
The winner came in extra time, with Gotze meeting Andre Schurrle's cross from the left on his chest, before slamming a left-footed volley past Sergio Romero.
Gotze hasn't enjoyed much fortune in the intervening years, but this was a goal that - for a moment at least - further established him as one of world football's brightest young talents.
He was the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Wolfgang Weber in 1966, and also the first substitute to come off the bench to score and settle the deciding match.
Messi had a late opportunity to keep Argentina in the contest when the Albicelestes won a free-kick, but his effort was sent over as the greatest player of his generation was made to wait for his crowing international glory.
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