(CNN) -

In a twist of fate, the hosts' vanquishers became the heroes tonight. Germany's Mario Götze's late, late strike made the difference in the final against Argentina, and his sublime goal prevented Brazil's neighbors and arch rivals from lifting the trophy.

The two finalists played out an entertaining match that left both Germans and neutrals fans on the edge of their seats until almost the last kick of the game. Ultimately, all it lacked was the goals that these Brazil crowds have come to expect.

Huge street party

The German capital came alive at the final whistle, with cars taking to the packed streets, waving German flags and scarves. Up to 500,000 fans packed into the huge fan zone in the center of the city, which was extended to 1.3 kilometer from the city's iconic Brandenburg Gate to accommodate the throngs of expectant fans.

The city, whose mood wasn't dampened by the rain that fell throughout the match, hosted fans from all over the country, and beyond.

The crowd in the Mitte district of Berlin erupted as Götze's goal went in on the 119th minute. The Bayern Munich star took Andre Schurrle's pass on his chest before displaying exquisite technique to volley the ball past Sergio Romero.

The raucous street parties that followed were intermittently interrupted by celebratory car horns. It is the country's fourth World Cup, and its first as a unified Germany.

Fans in the capital told CNN that they planned to party well into the early hours of the morning.

Traveling fans celebrate in Rio

Outside Rio de Janerio's famous stadium, German fans were equally delirious.

"I feel very, very good, this is the best day of my life," a exuberant fan named Lars told CNN outside the stadium. "We say before the Maracana, this is an amazing place, but I must say this is a fantastic day for my whole life."

Many of the Argentinian spectators at the Maracana in Rio left before the award presentation was over, distressed and angry at their team's narrow defeat. The heartbreak continues, at least for another four years, when the tournament will kick off again in Russia.

In the end, though, no one could begrudge Germany their fourth World Cup. The team which triumphed also scored the highest number of goals, and produced arguably the most exciting football -- including that 7-1 blowout against the hosts in the semifinal.

Throughout this match and the tournament, Germany coach Joachim Low's men dominated possession and passing. Here, Germany weathered the storm of Argentina chances.

"Team spirit"

"We've always played good football and I believe that over this tournament, over seven matches, we've shown the best performances of any of the teams here in Brazil," Low said. "The boys have also developed a team spirit which is unbelievable.

"It was good that we had played who could come on and make an impact, and [Mario] Götze is a miracle boy -- a boy wonder. I always knew he could decide the match."

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella was magnanimous in defeat, and reserved special praise for his team, who made it to their first final in 24 years.

"My players were warriors and I congratulated them afterward because, beyond the sadness of the result, a coach must always assess his team's performance -- and I believe that was quite good," he said after the final whistle. "They left everything on the pitch."

The German players marveled at a result which stemmed from many years work, which began under the previous coach, Jurgen Klinsmann.

Lasting legacy

"It is unbelievable," German keeper Manuel Neuer, who also picked up the tournament's Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper, told German football magazine Kicker. "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."

The feeling of incredulity was echoed by his teammate, captain Philipp Lahm, who lifted trophy in front of thousands of fans in Rio, alongside ten world leaders, including the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

"It's unbelievable what we have achieved," said the Bayern Munich defender. "We improved throughout the tournament and didn't get down when things didn't always go our way.

"We just stuck to our path and at the end we're standing here as world champions. It's an unbelievable feeling. The team stayed calm and patient, we knew that we had something left at the end."