It’s all over! After 64 games, 32 nations and 171 goals scored the greatest show on the World came to an end on the 13th of July. The Germans were crowned World Champions and have now won the famous trophy four times in their history. Argentina put up an impressive battle but just couldn’t take any of their chances. So much pressure was on Lionel Messi’s shoulders he unfortunately didn’t deliver on the biggest stage. These games have had everything from amazing goals, fantastic saves to broken-hearts.. We will be reviewing the last month and putting our views into perspective.
Team of the Tournament
Passionate Football’s team of the tournament.
Player of the Tournament
James Rodriguez – Colombia
I for one was all too confused with the decision by FIFA to award the ‘Golden Ball’ to Messi after the final last night. Whilst i do partially agree with the view that the best player must come from the best team (or in this case, the second best), Messi did not live up to the expectations of many that Brazil 2014 would be his career defining tournament, and thus, crown him the greatest player to ever set foot on the pitch. Instead, he provided an unusually flickering light in a World Cup where many others shone so brightly – one of which, Colombia attacker James Rodriguez. For me, the undoubted player of the tournament, Rodriguez has demonstrated just why free-spending Monaco were willing to hand over £38m to capture his signature as a relatively unproven 21-year-old last summer. Not only did he pick up the Golden Boot award, scoring an impressive 6 goals in just 5 games, but he also had the world gazing on in awe as he churned out consistent man of the match worthy performances, leading dark horses Colombia to the Quarter-finals. Whist Monaco maintain that they are determined to keep hold of their prized asset, Rodriguez’ rise to prominence has alerted some of Europe’s biggest clubs and it will surely be only a matter of time before he makes a big-money move across the pond to – more than likely – join favoured club, Real Madrid.
Match of the Tournament
Ooh, difficult. We certainly haven’t been found wanting in our four-yearly (two if you include the Euro’s) quest for heart-stoppingly captivating international match-ups this year have we? Some of the most exhilarating football ever seen at a World Cup unraveled in front of our eyes in Brazil, and we all had the pleasure of witnessing some memorable clashes. Argentina vs Nigeria, Belgium vs USA, Netherlands vs Spain, and even Australia vs Netherlands will all undoubtedly be spoke of in years to come as demonstration of the roller-coaster of emotions and unpredictability this tournament has delivered. However, for the sheer ‘shock factor’, the capitulation of Brazil in the semi-final of a World Cup in their own ‘back yard’ has to be considered ‘Match of the Tournament’. 5-0 down before the half hour mark, the silence in the Estádio Mineirão was deafening. Some of the home fans sobbed into their Brazilian flags as their Neymar-less team – who had looked suspect in previous rounds – succumb to the merciless Germans and their notoriously efficient attacking play. Whilst the Germans may have eased-off after half-time, they managed to find time for two more and condemned Brazil to one of the biggest World Cup defeats in recent years and complete and utter humiliation.
Goal of the Tournament
James Rodriguez – Colombia vs Uruguay
What a great individual piece of skill! This goal will go down as one of the finest hits in the World Cup games. Before the ball drops to Rodriguez he takes a quick look at the keeper, controls it off his chest then swivels in position to hit it on the volley. He sends the shot thundering towards goal, it hits off the cross bar on its way in leaving the Uruguay keeper hopeless. James Rodriguez netted 6 goals and picked up the golden boot award.
Asamoah Gyan – Ghana vs Germany
In recent years the African teams have been well known for their exciting goal celebrations and dances. Ghana the land of the “azonto”, didn’t disappoint. When Asamoah Gyan a.k.a “Baby Jet” smashed in a goal against the Germans he ran off and celebrated with his team mates in fashion. Colombia also had a few interesting celebrations and brought through a salsa style of dancing, with some well choreographed moves.
Biggest overachievers and underachievers
Biggest Overachievers – Costa Rica
After having being written off after the groups were drawn. Costa Rica were massive underdogs in Group D. They exceeded all expectations and topped the group. Two impressive victories against Uruguay and Italy and a draw against England sent them into the last 16. They went on to beat Greece during the penalty shoot-out, with keeper Keylor Navas making understanding saves. They met the Netherlands in quarter finals and took them all the way into extra time and penalties, where they unfortunately lost. For a team ranked 28th they surprised everyone and certainly showed us their no pushovers.
Biggest Underachievers – Spain
The Spaniards lifted the famous World Cup trophy four years ago in South Africa, they amazed the world with their tiki-taka football and have been pretty much unstoppable these past few years. Expectations were high coming into the games but after the first game in which they got manhandled by the Netherlands 5-1, it all went down hill. A humbling 2-0 defeat against Chile proved to be an end of an era for the golden generation of Spain. Questionable defending, terrible mistakes from Iker Casillas and a lack of attacking prowess ended Spain’s journey in the group stages.
Most Shocking Moment
Luis Suarez “The Bite” – Italy vs Uruguay
Third time offender Luis Suarez caused major controversy when he sank his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder. It left the whole World shocked as to why he would repeat this behaviour again. After having a good season with Liverpool many had thought Suarez left his bad behaviour behind. Was the bite planned? to somewhat manufacture a move to Spain? Who knows but what we do know is that Suarez needs some sort of mental help. FIFA acted promptly and slapped him with a fine and banned him from any footballing activity for four months. Having been banned twice before for Liverpool decided to cash in and Barcelona signed him for £75 million.. He wont be able to play or be inside the Nou Camp until November.
Passionate Football’s Outlook
Ashley Joseph – Brazil is my fourth real World Cup (too young to remember France ’98) to date and by far the best I’ve ever seen. I mean Brazil had more or less everything you could ask for from an international tournament. Records were broken, stars emerged, there were overachievers and underachievers, an abundance of last-gasp drama, plenty of shocking refereeing decisions and most importantly, more goals then you could possibly recollect. Whilst all credit must go to the winners of the competition, Germany, I really do believe that the real winners here are the Brazilian population, who despite feeling aggrieved at some of the politics behind the competition, demonstrated to the world what a great country Brazil really is – extraordinary hospitality and one hell of a show, well done Brazil!
Taku Mudzongo – This has to be one of the best World Cups I have witnessed. South Africa 2010 was good but Brazil 2012 was something else. Germany were outright champions and played as a solid unit throughout. Brazil had so much drama and pressure on their shoulders, even though the national team failed to live up to expectations they were credible hosts. Russia 2018 will have a lot to live up to as Brazil have set a high benchmark. I hope the political issues within Brazil get resolved, they should be proud of how they’ve staged the biggest show on the planet. I’m sad it’s all over but I have so many memories from this tournament.
Written by Ashley Joseph and Taku Mudzongo