It came with just seven minutes of extra-time remaining and saw Germany secure a fourth world title, becoming the first European team to win the tournament in South America.
The match had begun at a lightning pace but faded badly in the second period and looked all set for a shoot-out until Goetze struck.
Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain blazed a glorious opportunity wide early on before having his moment of redemption stolen away when he was correctly flagged offside while finishing off a sublime move involving Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
For Germany super sub Schuerrle's effort was beaten away by Sergio Romero before Benedikt Hoewedes somehow contrived to crash a free header against the post from inside the six-yard box on the stroke of half time.
Lionel Messi could, and should, have had his big World Cup moment after the restart but dragged wide and it proved to be the best of the action until extra-time when Schuerrle tested Romero and Rodrigo Palacio lobbed off target when clear.
Mario Goteze (AFP)
Pre-match - Germany lose Khedira, Argentina unchanged: Germany initially named the same team that hammered hosts Brazil 7-1 in the last four but were forced to bring in Christoph Kramer to replace Sami Khedira (calf problem) at the last minute. Angel Di Maria does not feature from the start for Argentina despite rumours he would be involved.
21' - ARGENTINA CHANCE. WHAT A MISS! A shocking back-header by Kroos puts Higuain clean through but he snatches at the chance and drags it harmlessly wide from the edge of the area.
30' - GOAL DISALLOWED!!! The cross from Lavezzi on the right is ruthlessly tucked home by Higuain just outside the six-yard box but the flag is up and it won't count. It's the right call too.
31' - BLOW for GERMANY: The pre-match replacement is replaced as Kramer comes off and Schuerrle takes his place.
37' - GERMANY CHANCE. GOOD SAVE! Romero dives to his right to push away Schuerrle's first-time effort after a quick break by the Germans.
40' - ARGENTINA CHANCE. Messi sprints down the right and into the area. The little magician is tight to the byline but somehow gets the ball past Neuer and Boateng comes to the rescue by hooking away from inside his six-yard box.
45+2' - OFF THE POST! Höwedes has all day to attack a corner four yards out but somehow plants his header against the post with Mueller offside on the rebound. What a miss that was!
47' - ARGENTINA CHANCE! Messi times his run on the shoulder of the last defender perfectly but fires his low shot wide of the far post. He looked odds-on to score there.
82' - GERMANY CHANCE! Close for Kroos as the midfielder arrives on a cut back from the right but slots his side footer wide of the right-hand post from the edge of the box.
92' - GERMANY CHANCE! Sensational start to ET as Romero beats away an effort from Schurrle inside the opening few seconds.
97' - ARGENTINA CHANCE! Palacio lobs Neuer but sees his shot drop wide of the right-hand post after Hummels had missed Rojo's wonderful ball from the left.
113' - GOAL! ARGENTINA 0-1 GERMANY. Goetze breaks the deadlock!!!! Schuerrle races down the left and clips a lovely ball into Goetze who chests down before flashing a volley into the corner on the stretch!
Germany have won the World Cup for a fourth time. Only Brazil (5) have more wins.
A confederation (UEFA) has won three World Cups in a row for the first time.
Germany are the first European team to win a World Cup in the Americas.
Argentina failed to have a shot on target in a World Cup game for the first time since the 1990 final vs West Germany.
Germany’s total of 18 goals is the most in a World Cup since Brazil scored 18 in 2002.
The 2014 World Cup ends with 171 goals, the joint-most in a single World Cup (along with 1998).
Argentina conceded a goal in extra time at the World Cup for the first time.
Eight games went to extra-time in the 2014 World Cup, a joint-record along with 1990.
Christoph Kramer is the first player to make his full World Cup debut in the final since Gustavo Dezotti for Argentina in 1990.
Miroslav Klose played in the 2014 final, 12 years after appearing in the 2002 final. Only Pele (1958 & 1970) has appeared in finals 12 years apart.
Mario Götze’s winning goal was 32nd substitute goal of the tournament, a World Cup record.
Mario Goteze (Reuters) Germany
The last three World Cup finals have gone to extra-time.
Argentina only trailed for seven minutes in the entire tournament.
Götze was the only player to have more than one shot on target in the final.
Argentina had just 36% possession; their lowest return from a single World Cup match (1966-2014).
TALKING POINT: Are Germany set to dominate? The Germans have finally emerged from their recent role as perennial bridesmaids and proved to be the most consistent side throughout the World Cup. It was a tournament where they came of age and with such a wealth of young talent in the likes of Goetze, Mueller et al they could be set for a Golden era of success.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger reacts after the whistle during extra time in the 2014 World Cup final between …
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany): The Bayern midfielder gave an imperious display at the heart of his team. Inventive in attack and solid in his defensive work, he covered every blade of grass on a night where he received a bloody face for his troubles. It will all have been worth it when he takes a look at that winners' medal.
GERMANY: Neuer 7, Lahm 7, Hummels 7, Boateng 6, Hoewedes 6, Schweinsteiger 8, Kramer 6, Mueller 7, Kroos 7, Ozil 7, Klose 6. Subs: Schuerrle 8, Goetze 8, Mertesacker n/a.
ARGENTINA: Romero 6, Garay 6, Zabaleta 6, Demichelis 6, Rojo 6, Biglia 6, Perez 6, Mascherano 7, Lavezzi 6, Higuain 5, Messi 6. Subs: Aguero 6, Palacio 6, Gago 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Mario Goetze
- 2014 World Cup
- Gonzalo Higuain
- Lionel Messi