Germany coach Joachim Loew has revealed he told World Cup final match-winner Mario Gotze to "go out and show the world you are better than Lionel Messi".
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Gotze came off the bench and volleyed home deep into extra-time to break Argentinian hearts in the Maracana - the 1-0 win saw Germany crowned world champions for a fourth time.
Loew told a press conference: "He is a miracle boy, a boy wonder - he can play in any position. I know he is always able to decide a match and he's scored a great winner.
"I said to him (at half-time in extra-time), 'okay show to the world that you are better than Messi and that you can decide the World Cup'.
"I had a good feeling about him."
Gotze hailed the World Cup victory as "absolutely sensational".
The 22-year-old, who had had a difficult season at Bayern Munich, 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."
Gotze, who began the World Cup in Germany's starting line-up before being dropped to the bench, added: "It hasn't been an easy year for me and it wasn't an easy tournament. I owe a lot to my family, my girlfriend, and my friends who have always believed in me.
"It was not been easy but I simply kept on training with the team and every single player deserves to be named - we deserved this trophy."
Loew also expressed his pride at Germany becoming the first European team to win a World Cup in north, central or south America.
He added: "This is the result of many years' work beginning with Jurgen Klinsmann and we continued that.
"Over the years we have been able to improve our performance and it has been 10 years of tough preparation.
"The players have a marvellous technical ability and the will-power to carry it out.
"We are proud to win it here in Brazil, the footballing country par excellence, and to be the first European team to win in Latin America."
"It is unbelievable," Manuel Neuer, who won the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper in the tournament, was quoted as saying by kicker.de
"The team has done superbly, not only the players, but also the team behind the team. At some point we will stop celebrating, but we will always stand up again with a smile."
Captain Philipp Lahm added: "What we have done and how we have worked is incredible."
Lahm, consistently excellent for Germany all tournament, added: "Whether we have the best individual players or whatever does not matter, you have to have the best team.
"We stepped up time and again in the tournament, did not let ourselves get distracted by any disruption, went on our way.
"And at the end you stand there as world champions - an unbelievable feeling. The team has remained quiet and patient."
Centre-back Mats Hummels had his work cut out against Messi and company.
"I am still completely trapped in another world, physically too exhausted to be able to rejoice euphorically. But that will come in the coming days," he said.
"You can only be world champions when you act as a team. We wanted to make that clear to everyone the whole time and we achieved that, even if we got that little bit of luck in the final as we were already a bit waiting for penalties."
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella admitted that his side had paid the price formissing chances but said he was proud of his players.
Sabella said: "The players are bitter and sad because we had a huge dream having made it all the way to the final. We needed to be more clinical and I am sad just like the players.
"Beyond the pain of the defeat in the final they can look themselves in the eyes and say they gave everything for Argentina.
"We have an extraordinary group of players, these were warriors. I congratulated the players because they left every drop of sweat out on the field. They gave their all.
"I am very proud, the boys played an extraordinary World Cup and improved as they advanced through the stages and they gave everything for the Argentina jersey.
"I think that this was a very tough match, Germany started better and handled the ball well and is a great team.
"The match had its up and downs but we had the clearer chances. I congratulate my players for their extraordinary work and congratulations to Germany on the title."
Sabella also refused to be drawn on his future.
He said: "I cannot speak about the future, the future for me now is to be with the players and my people - the coaches and my family - and to rest a bit. I don't know what to say about the future."
An emotional Javier Mascherano said he felt "immense pain" after losing the World Cup final.
"The pain is immense," the Argentina vice-captain said with tears in his eyes. "We wanted to win this for the people of Argentina, for those who came here to support us, but we lost.
"We have represented our country the best we could though.
"We have to lift our heads despite the pain. We gave everything we could out there."