Jérôme Agyenim Boateng did not kick the winning goal in Germany’s World Cup victory over Argentina. That honor went to Mario Goetze, who scored in overtime.
But Boateng was an integral part of the winning squad, getting a hero’s welcome when he and other players from the Bayern Munich club returned home Tuesday.
Bayern and the local government planned a reception at the airport in Munich. There were problems with the sound system, meaning most of the players’ words were lost to the crowd. The supporters didn’t mind, though, and cheered even louder as Boateng, back in his hometown, shouted: “I can’t hear you!’’
Born in Berlin to a German mother and a Ghanaian father, Boateng comes from soccer stock. His uncle, Robert Boateng, played professionally with a Norwegian club. And Boateng himself, who started playing soccer at age 10, twice played alongside his brother,
Kevin-Prince Boateng, in Germany. His elder sibling went on to play internationally for Ghana.
Boateng, 22, turned professional at 18 and made his way to Manchester City before joining the top-ranked German club FC Bayern Munich. He is mainly a center back but can also play full back on either side.
He started in five games for Germany at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, when the team placed third. He also made seven appearances as Germany sought to qualify for the Brazil meet, becoming one of the key players in a side which the national team was painstakingly building in hopes of taking the World Cup after a break of nearly a quarter-century.
The 1-0 victory over Argentina at the Maracana stadium that gave Germany its fourth title and made it the first European team to win the championship on South American soil, completed a circle for coach Joachim Loew that began in 2004, when Loew became Juergen Klinsmann’s assistant.
The two friends began plotting how to bring the title back to Germany and rejuvenated the team, creating an attacking, entertaining style that pleased the eye and promised success.
Germany fell short at home in 2006, finishing third, and Klinsmann stepped down to leave Loew in charge. Loew’s team reached the final of Euro 2008, finished third again at the 2010 World Cup and was a semifinalist at Euro 2012.
With doubts growing whether Loew’s Germany could ever become a champion, the team pulled off the historic run in Brazil, including a stunning 7-1 victory over the host in the semifinal.
“It was time,” Loew said after the final. “It’s the product of many years of work. And it’s something for eternity.”
Material from The Associate Press and online sources was used in this report.