Germany were crowned world champions for the fourth time thanks to a stunning extra-time winner from super-sub Mario Gotze.
Argentina are just 90 minutes away from lifting the World Cup in the Maracana after they edged past Holland on penalties in the second semi-final at the Arena Corinthians.
Brazil's dreams of making a return to a World Cup final in the Maracana were shattered in the most agonising manner as Germany inflicted on the hosts one of the most remarkable defeats in the 84-year history of this competition.
Holland's substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul dramatically made two saves in a penalty shoot-out against Costa Rica to carry his side into the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Argentina eased into the World Cup semi-finals as a disappointing Belgium side made a low-key exit from the tournament.
Germany secured a familiar World Cup semi-final berth with a minimum of fuss as French hopes of avenging past injustices shrivelled and died in the Maracana.
An outstanding performance from the United States, inspired by Tim Howard, could not prevent American hearts being broken as Belgium finally produced a performance to match their pre-World Cup billing.