RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Battered and bloodied, Bastian Schweinsteiger kept fighting. No Argentine tackle or foul would keep the German midfielder from lifting the World Cup trophy.
Schweinsteiger battled through the final and Germany won its fourth title with a 1-0 win over Argentina on Sunday at the Maracana.
The 29-year-old midfielder was twice led off the field to be treated but returned to hold Germany together.
"We are enjoying the moment, it's incredible. Thank you Germany for all the support," Schweinsteiger said. "We could feel here how the country was behind us. It's an incredible performance, I've never seen the boys on the bench participating so much. That gave us a lot of energy, that's why we won the cup."
Schweinsteiger is one of the generation of German players who have been chasing the title for 10 years and who saw the Brazil tournament as probably their best — if not last — chance to end their careers as World Cup champions.
With 108 matches for Germany, Schweinsteiger is one of the veterans on the team and one of its leaders. But he nearly missed the tournament.
Schweinsteiger struggled throughout the season with an ankle injury that required surgery and later knee injury that put into doubt his fitness for the tournament.
Coach Joachim Loew decided to take him along although he missed a good part of the pre-tournament training camp. Schweinsteiger sat out the first match of the World Cup and was slowly nursed back into the team as his fitness improved during the tournament.