Gonzalo Higuain misses golden chance to give Argentina an early lead in the World Cup final

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
(@ESPN)

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(@ESPN)

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Perhaps to make the U.S.'s Chris Wondolowski feel a bit better about his late miss against Belgium in the round of 16, Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain squandered the kind of scoring chance against heavily favored Germany that only happens in dreams about the World Cup final.

Argentina came out with the novel approach of actually trying to attack from the start of the match and Germany's backline struggled to keep up with the pace of Lionel Messi and company. In the 21st minute, a misplaced Toni Kroos header set itself up perfectly for Higuain to have a one-v-one against goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but the Argentine striker somehow put it wide of the net.

And no one was more stunned/relieved than Neuer.

Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer eyes the ball as it goes out after a shot by Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain, not seen, during the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer eyes the ball as it goes out after a shot by Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain, not seen, during the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Higuain, whose only goal of the tournament came in the eighth minute of Argentina's 1-0 win over Belgium in the quarterfinals, did celebrate putting the ball in the net a short time later, but the goal was disallowed since he was clearly offside. In other words, the only way the World Cup final could have gotten off to a worse start for Higuain would be if his shorts fell down and tripped him before he could even get a shot off.

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