Germany’s celebrations knew no bounds after winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Final with a 1-0 extra-time victory over Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday evening. The team’s songs of triumph were clearly audible in the depths of the iconic Estadio do Maracana after the final whistle and players and coaching staff alike beamed with joy after cementing their place as a golden generation in Germany’s footballing history.
One of the pillars of the freshly-crowned world champions was without doubt Manuel Neuer. The 28-year-old custodian’s astonishing reflexes, ability to dominate his penalty area and his widely-lauded performances in fulfilling a dual function as a goalkeeper-cum-sweeper made him indispensable to coach Joachim Low.
Neuer’s role in securing a fourth World Cup title for Germany cannot be overstated and his displays were recognised with the adidas Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper at a thrilling and top-quality tournament in Brazil.
Given such success it is hardly surprising that Neuer’s voice was among those leading the singing in the changing rooms, yet he still emerged, overjoyed and with glowing eyes, to speak exclusively to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: You and your team-mates have just won the World Cup for Germany for the first time in 24 years and on top of that you were named as the tournament’s best goalkeeper. How are you feeling right now?
Manuel Neuer: It’s absolutely unbelievable. The main thing is of course that we were successful as a team. It’s incredible, we really are world champions now. A dream has come true for us Germans and we’ve finally won the trophy again. We’ve wanted it for so long. It was our time again. Everyone gave their all to be able to win it and I think we deserved to too. It’s still not completely sunk in yet.
What do you think made Germany so strong in Brazil?
Our main strength is just that we’re a good team. It’s a simple as that and we proved that here. Everyone fights for each other, everyone’s there for each other and is happy for each other. We worked well collectively and that’s what counts. We’re a very close-knit group and that really was the decisive thing at this tournament. I can honestly say that we can all rely on every single member of the team. That sense of security drove us to win the title and now we’ve won it.
Over the last few weeks you have drawn widespread praise from numerous experts for your modern playing style. How would you assess you own performances at the competition?
Of course I’m happy with the way I played and I know I’ve had a good tournament, but that’s only secondary. The main thing for me is that the team’s success is always more important. I know that I’m nothing without my team-mates. At the end of the day I was only able to have such a good World Cup because of the people in front of me on the pitch, so my thanks go to them that I could play so well and receive this award.
You made history as being part of the first European team to win the World Cup in South America. Will Brazil always be a special place for you?
I’ve fallen in love with Brazil. The people are amazing, very open and warm-hearted. That’s something we’ve all discovered and come to appreciate over the last few weeks. They love football more than anything else, they’re so enthusiastic and did everything they could to show their country in the best possible light. They succeeded in the most wonderful way and we have to thank them for that. I’ll never forget it.