The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is finally over with Germany on top of the football world once again. With this win, Germany holds the record for the second most number of World Cup titles in history, with four championships at their helm. Germany’s recent feat makes their national football team just one title shy of the current record held by the Brazilians who currently hold five World Cup titles.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been more than just a football competition as the various teams fought for national glory on top of international football recognition. Moreover, what made this edition of the world cup even more special were the twists and turns that ensued in the tournament from the group stages up to the finals. Many unexpected results occurred, just like the 5-1 beating that the defending champs, Spain experienced under the hands of their bitter rivals, the Netherlands. There were also multiple teams who were favorites to make it through to the round of 16, but encountered problems early in the group stages like England, Portugal, and Spain.
Round of 16
After the conclusion of the group stages, the top two teams of every group moved on to the first round of knockout games in the round of 16. The matchups were as follows: Brazil-Chile, Colombia-Uruguay, France-Nigeria, Germany-Algeria, Netherlands-Mexico, Costa Rica-Greece, Argentina-Switzerland, and Belgium-USA.
The round of 16 produced expected winners like France, Germany, Netherlands, and Argentina, but it also produced some unexpected victors and intriguing confrontations. One of which was the penalty shootout victory of Brazil over Chile. The highly favored World Cup hosts were expected an easy passage towards the quarterfinals. But in a spectacular display of football action, Chile was able to push the Brazilians to their limits, although the Chileans ended up losing in the penalty shootout. Also, probably one of the underdog teams in the tournament, the Costa Rica team was able to make it to the quarterfinals, as they overcame the Greeks in a pressure-packed penalty shootout. It was Keylor Navas, the Costa Rican goalkeeper, who came out as the man of the match.
A staple in many tournaments and leagues, upset victories often spice up the contention in the series. One of the upsets that occurred in the World Cup was the fallout of Uruguay by the hands of the Colombians. It was James Rodriguez, the top scorer in the tournament, who led the charge for Colombia to beat Uruguay, two goals to nil. Another disappointing dismissal was the elimination of team USA by Belgium. It was a disappointing loss for the Americans as they witnessed their team plunge deep into the competition only to be halted by a single Belgian goal.
Quarters and Semis
The quarterfinals began with France facing Germany. The two European countries topped their respective groups and were tipped by many to go far into the tournament. The French showed much improvement from the side, while the Germans wanted to finally clinch the World Cup trophy after 24 years. With a generation of players claimed to be one of the best in their history, Germany was a favorite to win it all. The contest was settled early in the first half when Mats Hummels scored a header from a corner in the thirteenth minute.
Brazil vs Colombia was the next game of this round with the Brazilians winning 2-1, with goals from their captain Thiago Silva and David Luiz. The Golden Boot awardee for this tournament, James Rodriguez, scored for Colombia in a game marred by inconsistent refereeing and Brazilian star Neymar Jr. getting injured after getting hit at his spine. With the injury, Neymar Jr. was ruled out of the World Cup and temporarily sits out of the football scene as he lets his injury heal.
Argentina played Belgium with Gonzalo Higuain scoring the only goal at the eighth minute of the game. Argentina’s eventual opponents, the Netherlands went through to the next round at the expense of Costa Rica via penalties. The game is notable due to the Dutch being called offside the most times during a World Cup match and for Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal subbing in goalkeeper Tim Krul for fellow keeper Jasper Cillessen during the penalty shoot-out.
The surprise of the tournament came when Brazil played Germany. Thomas Muller opened the scoring for the Germans in the 11th minute of the game with Miroslav Klose, Toni Kroos (scoring twice in succession) and Sami Khedira scoring four goals between them in just six minutes of play in the first half. At the half, Germany was leading Brazil 0-5. Andre Schurrle added to the Brazil’s misery by scoring twice. Oscar scored to give Brazil a scant consolation during the worst match of their national team since the 1950 World Cup, when Uruguay beat them to win the tournament during the last time they hosted.
The other match in this round featured the Netherlands facing Argentina. After a stalemate during regular time, extra time was brought upon both teams but neither can find the winning goal. A penalty shootout ensued where Lionel Messi scored the winning penalty for the Argentinians with their goalkeeper Sergio Romero saving two penalties from the Dutch.
After a month of fantastic football, the tournament came down to the two remaining football giants, Argentina and Germany. The two teams gave the world the finals they were looking for. Both teams each had 10 attempts on goal but the Germans were much more accurate with seven shots on target compared to Argentina’s two shots. Germany also had most of the possessions with 60% along with a 320 advantage in number of passes completed. In spite of this, both teams remained goalless at the end of regular time and had to move on to extra time.
After 112 minutes of goalless football, it was no other than the German substitute who came in the 88th minute, Mario Goetze, who breaks the silence and scores the first and only goal in the contest. It was set up through a smooth cross by Andre Schuerrle which was received by Goetze inside the penalty box. Argentinian star player, Lionel Messi had a chance to tie the game with a free kick in dying stages of the match but his shot went high over the goal. After a few minutes, the referee blew the final whistle and the celebration began as Germany was proclaimed the winners of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
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