Germany captures its fourth World Cup title. The win is Germany’s first as a united country. West Germany won the World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990. (Image: Getty Images/Jamie McDonald)

With two quick touches, Mario Goetze ended Germany's 24-year wait for another World Cup title.

Goetze scored the winning goal in extra time to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday in a tight and tense World Cup final that came down to one piece of individual skill.

Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero celebrates after he saved shot by Netherlands. July 9, 2014. Brazil. (AP/Frank Augstein)

The World Cup's second semifinal was supposed to put the silky skills of Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben in the spotlight. Instead, a goalkeeper and two rock-solid defenses stole the show.

Argentina goalie Sergio Romero saved two penalties Wednesday to send Argentina into the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after tough defending and a lack of creative spark from either team consigned the match to a 0-0 stalemate.

Germany's Miroslav Klose, right, takes on Brazil's David Luiz during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany  Brazil, July 8, 2014. (AP/Francois Xavier Marit)

The tears started flowing before half time, and by the end of a 7-1 shellacking in the World Cup semifinal, millions across Brazil were in dazed, damp-eyed disbelief.

The national team wasn't just defeated by a powerful German team. It was routed in front of the entire world, humiliated at its own party. Young and old, Brazilians shared in the anguish of what many called a national calamity — the worst loss in their team's storied World Cup history.

United States' goalkeeper Tim Howard, left, makes a save as Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, front, looks on during the World Cup 2014 soccer match between Belgium and the USA ,Brazil, July 1, 2014. (AP /Themba Hadebe)

They captured the eyes and hearts of a suddenly awakened soccer nation, who gathered in unprecedented numbers to watch the world's game.

But the end of the ride came at the exact same point as four years ago: with a loss in extra time in the World Cup's round of 16.

Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, left, slides in to make a save against Algeria's Islam Slimani during the World Cup 2014 Porto Alegre, Brazil, June 30, 2014. (AP/Matthias Schrader)

Substitute Andre Schuerrle and Mesut Ozil scored in extra time and Germany survived Algeria's aggressive play with a 2-1 win Monday to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the ninth consecutive time.

All three goals came in extra time after Algeria dominated for long stretches during the opening 90 minutes.

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