Sport, World Cup 2014

Summer of Sport: World Cup Wrap-Up

Germany became the first European team to win a World Cup in South America as they stormed to victory in Brazil 2014. Joachim Low’s young side thrilled the watching world – and a somewhat opportunist Angela Merkel – with a 1-0 triumph in the final against Argentina, a result that must be seen as no accident.

2010 was widely accepted as a tournament too early for the now ‘Weldmeisters’, but their time finally came in Rio, having created a purpose-built training ground especially to help them adapt to conditions on the continent.

Once again, German football proved itself better organized than its counterparts, though much of the battle for the Jules Rimet trophy was tragically overshadowed by FIFA’s incompetence. Hosts Brazil were helped through the early rounds with a number of questionable refereeing decisions, and struggled with the knowledge that thousands of baying compatriots were rioting on the streets in protest at the tournament’s expense. A 7-1 semi-final humiliation at the hands of the eventual winners did little to ease that pressure.

Expectation loomed large on the sides representing South America, with Lionel Messi leading from the front for Argentina. Uruguay were perhaps misguided in pinning their hopes on Luis Suarez; the ravenous forward has since mercifully avowed not to bite anyone for the rest of his career, but his contrite pleas came too late for Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, who was the third player in four years to feel the wrath of the Barcelona striker’s teeth.

For all the World Cup bad boys, it had its stars too. James Rodriguez earned a move to Real Madrid after his exploits with Colombia, while Arjen Robben shone for Holland, despite being caught up in a storm over diving. Neymar’s exploits were cut short through a fractured bone in his back, though little could have helped Brazil’s cataclysmic defence to the final at any rate.

Everton goalkeeper Howard produced a phenomenal display against Belgium, but to no avail, as the USA went crashing out at the last-16 stage. Howard’s popularity back in the States epitomises the impact the World Cup has had on the land of ‘soccer’.  On a personal note, he received congratulations from no less than Barack Obama. Fortunately, David Cameron was spared such a task on this side of the Atlantic.

The less said about England’s early World Cup exit, the better. The only consolation was that holders Spain suffered the same fate of a group stage exit, though they will at least be comforted with having won three major trophies in the past six years.

England’s Roy Hodgson and Spain’s Vincente Del Bosque have kept their jobs despite their respective sides’ calamitous displays. Elsewhere, there was a managerial masterclass from Holland’s Louis Van Gaal, though he now has a slightly bigger task on his hands in transforming Manchester United’s ailing fortunes. Jorge Luis Pinto also won praise for his leadership of Costa Rica, the tournament’s token surprise package, who lit up the early stages.

While the knock-out rounds proved a much tighter affair, the groups were a case of goals galore, with Robin Van Persie’s soaring header and Tim Cahill’s volley hitting the headlines. Mirsolav Klose also became the World Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer, bowing out of the Germany team on a high having overtaken the Brazilian Ronaldo.

And so, it fell to 22-year-old Mario Gotze to give the World Cup a fairy tale ending – though it looks as though for a rampant Germany, this may be just the beginning.


About Author

katherinelucas Kat is a cricket writer with GiveMeSport and supporter of the much-maligned Tottenham Hotspur. When complaining about Spurs’ misfortunes gets tiresome, she can occasionally be found studying history, and has a keen interest in Irish politics. An average guitarist and technophobe, Kat played cricket for five years before injury fatefully confined her to the pursuits of sports journalism.

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January 2022
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