Punters splash $2m on final

By Matt Ogilvie

Fifa World Cup showdown third most popular event behind Tua fight and RWC final.

German players celebrate with the trophy after the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina. Photo / AP
German players celebrate with the trophy after the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina. Photo / AP

Kiwis bet more than $2 million on the 2014 Fifa World Cup final, making it the TAB's third most popular sporting event in history.

It was closely behind David Tua's world heavyweight title shot, which took in $2.6 million, and the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and France, which remains the TAB's highest turnover for a sporting event at nearly $3.5 million.

Germany beat Argentina 1-0 yesterday, with a match-winning goal during extra time by Mario Gotze in the 113 minute, and became the first European team to win a final in South America. It was the third final played between the two countries, a World Cup record. The match had 70,000 Kiwi punters dipping into their pockets to test their chances.

The odds at kickoff were Germany $2.15, Argentina $3.30, draw $3.20.

Alex McNeil, 27, is one of the lucky punters who is $1825 richer this morning after the German win rounded off a multi-bet.

"I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I was confident Germany looked like a championship team after their 7-1 thrashing of Brazil," he said.

Mr McNeil put $500 on an NRL Newcastle Knights victory on Sunday and for Germany to win the final.

The semifinal games drew in a combined $3.5 million and the third-place decider between home team Brazil and the Netherlands attracted $917,074 in bets.

The Fox pub in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour was at capacity from 6am, with many fans arriving at 5am to secure a seat for the final.

Argentine fans were outnumbered from the start, but were proudly sporting their blue and white jerseys.

Aucklander Paula Charmley was supporting Germany and said the first half of the game had her feeling nervous.

"My heart rate is through the roof. I'm standing here watching next to a few Argentina supporters so it's been a bit tense," she said.

"The second half will be ours."

The Honorary Consul for Germany in Auckland, Erich Bachmann, was proudly celebrating at the end of the match.

"This is just a small version of what it would be like in Germany," he said. "It's absolutely fantastic, the first time in 24 years."

The Weekend Herald spoke with Liam and Ryan McCracken, who unknowingly predicted the tournament's finalists when purchasing a team jumper each.

Sibling rivalry reached its peak during the final as each of the brothers cheered for opposing teams.

Liam, 10, chose the German jersey and was ecstatic with the extra time result yesterday.

"At the end of the match I tried to jump up and down on the couch, but Ryan kept holding down my leg," he said.

Their father, Geoff McCracken, said Ryan, 7, conceded Germany played the better game.

- NZ Herald

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