World Cup 2014’s 16 Most Memorable Moments
It was always going to be an exciting World Cup. Even with the news of half complete stadiums and below par pitches, a world cup in Brazil was never going to disappoint and that is exactly how it turned out. For not only was it a great tournament, it was perhaps the greatest World Cup in history! From the unbelievably amazing Brazilian fans and world famous soccer players, to the goals, saves and controversies; no other sporting event has even come close to matching the energy and enthusiasm in Brazil.
‘The English invented it, the Brazilians perfected it’ is a quote that exemplifies the Brazilian obsession with soccer and their love for the game. Soccer has been widely acknowledged as the most popular sport in the world and the chance to see the sport’s showpiece event at the Mecca of soccer was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As the World Cup finally ended with Germany lifting the famous ‘Jules Rimet’ trophy it felt surreal that this unbelievably exciting tournament had come to an end. But, looking back at it now, as sad as it was watching it end; the World Cup did leave us with some amazing memories, ones that will be talked about for years to come
1.The Brazilian national anthem
The Brazilian national team has virtually won everything there is in soccer; including a world record five World Cups. So when the first game for Brazil of the tournament came around, expectations were very high from a nation obsessed with the sport. However, the excitement started even before the match. As the Brazilian national anthem began, more than 50,000 Brazilian fans along with their national team joined in. The noise was deafening and they carried on signing the national anthem even after the background score had died down. It was an exhilarating moment that set the tone for what turned out to be a fantastic tournament.
2.Spain vs. Netherlands (1-5)
It was touted as the battle between two of the strongest teams at the tournament. It was a battle that Spain lost in resounding fashion. The chances of a closely contested match were apparent, before Netherland’s attacking force completely wiped the floor with Spain’s defense and hit them with five goals. However, their first goal will remain the memorable moment of the match as Robin Van Persie, showed us why he’s known as the ‘Flying Dutchman’. A 40 yard cross from Daley Blind was met by Van Persie’s header 15 yards from goal. RVP dived in the air and his headed ball lobbed over the Spanish goalie and in to the goal. It came right at the stroke of halftime and the Dutch then delivered a counterattacking master class to rout Spain 5-1.
3.Colombian team dance routine
One of the surprise packages of this World Cup was the Colombian soccer team lighting up the tournament with their performances, their star player James Rodriguez, their fans and their dance routines. Yeah you read that right. Every time the Colombians scored a goal, they would celebrate with a pre-prepared dance routine to the delight of soccer fans everywhere. A team consisting of mainly young and talented players, it was refreshing to see them play with a lot of confidence and swagger.
Another surprise package of the tournament was Costa Rica. They performed above and beyond everybody’s expectations. Having been drawn in the ‘group of death’ with Uruguay, England and Italy, nobody expected Costa Rica to qualify. Well qualify they did and not only that, they topped the group as well, going unbeaten till the quarterfinals. They beat Uruguay and Italy, then went on to draw against England, three teams that have seven World Cups between them. They defeated Greece on penalties to reach the quarter finals for the first time in their history where they were to meet Netherlands. Costa Ricans managed to take that match to extra time and penalties before losing out in the end. It is however noteworthy that Costa Rica remained unbeaten from open play during the tournament and for a team who last qualified 12 years ago, this was a tremendous achievement.
5.England physiotherapist twists his ankle
The England team had a disappointing World Cup campaign even by their standards. Their performances were hardly memorable and they paid the price for it but England’s physiotherapist Gary Lewin went…one step too far. England were a goal down against Italy when Daniel Sturridge equalized and had all the British fans celebrating. Gary Lewin also rushed out of the dugout to celebrate the goal, but slipped on a bottle of water and dislocated his ankle. In a seemingly harmless incident, Lewin fractured his fibula in two places, fractured the back of his tibula and also ruptured the ligament between the two bones. This was as painful as watching England’s performances in the tournament.
6.Germany vs. Portugal
The game was to be Christiano Ronaldo’s opportunity to prove his worth as the best player in the world. A red card for Pepe early in the game and Germany’s ruthless attack ensured that the result would be entirely different. A hat-trick from Muller and a goal from Hummels took the match out of Portugal’s hands and Ronaldo remained virtually anonymous throughout the game as Portugal lost by four goals to nil.
Ghana had kicked out the U.S soccer team in the last two World Cups, so the Americans were looking for some revenge. It did not take long for them to get it. In fact, it took Clint Dempsey only 29 seconds. He officially scored the fifth fastest goal in the history of the World Cups and the fastest goal in this year’s tournament.
The group stage game between Brazil and Mexico might not be remembered as an exciting encounter but people will remember Guillermo Ochoa, the Mexican goalkeeper’s heroics. His saves for Mexico came at the most crucial stage of the match with Brazil threatening the Mexican goal again and again but to no avail. His instinctive diving save for Neymar’s header was even heralded as one of the best save in the history of the World Cup. Ochoa’s brilliance carried Mexico through the match and eventually all the way to the quarter finals.
Considered one of the best goals of the tournament, it was surprising to some people to see that it was scored by Australian Tim Cahill, against a Dutch side that had only a few days earlier humbled Spain. A volley of some power and precision, it was a breathtaking strike. The ball was passed from a deep position to Cahill inside the box. Cahill patiently waited for the ball to cross over his shoulder before volleying it in the top left corner. Netherlands won the game but Cahill stole the show with that fantastic goal.
10.Italy, Spain and England woes
With six World Cup trophies between them it was widely expected that these three teams would at least qualify for the round of 16 of the tournament. It was surprising then, when the reigning world and European champions, Spain, became the first team out of the World Cup. England became the second as they failed to take away more than one point from three games and Italy went out at the group stages of their second world cup in a row. Three of the biggest teams in the world were out of the tournament before the knockout rounds began, making this one of the most unpredictable tournaments in recent history.
11.THAT Ronaldo cross
Heavily criticized for their performances, Portugal failed to make a mark in this World Cup even with Ronaldo, the ‘best player in the world’, in their team. Having lost their first match and needing a victory to qualify for the next round, Portugal found the US a tough opponent. With Portugal down by one goal and with 30 seconds remaining in the match, Ronaldo drifted to the right of the pitch and curled in a beautiful cross in to the box for the Portuguese forward Varela to head the ball into the goal and keep Portugal’s hopes alive, albeit just mathematically. The victory was short lived however as Portugal did eventually get kicked out in the group stages.
Arguably the most memorable moment of the entire world cup; a moment that will be remembered for years to come. Italy vs. Uruguay was a very important match as the losing team was going to get kicked out of the World Cup. A draw would have put Italy through to the next round on goal difference. Suarez has been Uruguay’s star player for a very long time. But he has also been one of the most controversial figures in soccer over the past few years due to his on and off the field antics. He was at it again. Just before Godin scored the only goal of the match to win it for Uruguay in the 81ast minute, Suarez had his moment of madness. The Uruguayan team was assembled in the Italian box for a corner and Chiellini, the Italian defender was marking Suarez very closely…perhaps a bit too much. Suarez went forward not for the ball but for Chiellini’s shoulder and bit it. Yes, you read that right, Suarez bit a player for the third time in four years.
Both players went to the ground; Chiellini with a valid excuse and a bite mark to prove it and Suarez claiming Chiellini elbowed him in the mouth even though replays showed exactly what had actually happened. The referee, however, missed the incident and no cards were shown despite frantic Italian protests. A few minutes later Godin scored to win Uruguay the game and kick Italy out of the tournament. Due to the huge public outcry after the game, FIFA suspended Suarez for nine matches and banned him for four months from any soccer-related activity.
Xherdan Shaqiri was always touted to be a great player and that was one of the reasons Bayern Munich sought his services in 2011. However, due to the wealth of attacking options available to Bayern, his role has been diminished, especially after the arrival of Pep Guardiola as the new coach. But club form aside, Shaqiri was instrumental in getting Switzerland to the World Cup with some very good performances during the qualifying rounds. But his best performance came against Honduras in the group stages when he became the 50th player in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup. Shaqiri had also never scored a goal in a World Cup match before that day, but his 6th, 31st and 71st minute strikes put an end to that. His first goal, a curling shot from the right that flew straight into the top left corner was just brilliant.
Colombia qualified for the World Cup in style with their star player Falcao playing an important part in their success by scoring 9 goals in 13 matches. However, he injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee playing for his club Monaco and was ruled out of the World Cup. Enter James Rodriguez. Falcao’s team mate for both club and country, James at just 23 years of age stepped up and decided to take charge. One of the revelations of this World Cup, James thrilled soccer fans all over the world with his performances and wining the ‘Golden Boot’ award. His volleyed goal against Uruguay was voted the best goal of the tournament. Many people even believed he deserved to win the “Golden Ball” award over Lionel Messi which included former players like Diego Maradona.
The last time the World Cup was held in Brazil, the national team lost to Uruguay in the final, crushing the hopes and dreams of millions of Brazilians in the process. This World Cup was touted as Brazil’s chance at redemption. Brazil started off well and their star player Neymar played a big part in getting Brazil all the way to the semi-finals by scoring 4 goals in 5 matches. The team had been criticized for relying too much on Neymar’s brilliance and Thiago Silva’s defensive abilities throughout the tournament and to the dismay of fans all over the world, both became unavailable for the semi final against a formidable German team.
Thiago Silva picked up his second yellow card in the quarter final match against Colombia while Neymar was severely injured by a rash challenge from the Colombian player Zuniga. Even with their absence nobody had predicted what was to come next. Germany scored the first goal in the 11th minute and by the 29th minute, they were 5-0 up. The last four goals coming in the space of 6 unbelievable minutes! Two more goals followed in the second half but the match had essentially been over after the first 30 minutes. Oscar scored Brazil’s consolation goal in the 90th minute and the game ended as the Brazilian national team’s came face to face with their greatest loss in their entire soccer history. Germany won by 7 goals to 1 and Brazil bowed out of their own World Cup with a loss that will have huge ramifications for the sport in the country.
After their thrashing of the Brazilians and Argentina’s unconvincing path to the final, Germany were considered favorites to win the World Cup, so much so that the German government had already released stamps commemorating their victory. And they weren’t disappointed. During the game Germany kept possession and control of the ball while Argentina counter attacked and created chances with Messi and co coming close. But it was Mario Gotze who in the end came off the bench and scored a superb volleyed goal, seven minutes from the penalty shootout, to win Germany their fourth World Cup.
These were, in our opinion, the most memorable moments of the World Cup. Over to you now to let us know what you have to say about how this World Cup will be remembered. Was it Suarez’s bite or Brazil’s thrashing at the hands of the Germans. Share your comments below.