This edition of FIFA’s flagship event has seen plenty of records broken and some exploits that really lit up the stage of this Brazilian football extravaganaza.
In winning their fourth title Germany became the first European side to win the World Cup on South American soil.
Die Manschaaft also made history when they reached their fourth consecutive semi-final, where they shocked the football-crazy host nation.
Germany set a new record when they steamrolled Brazil 7-1 for the biggest margin of victory ever seen in a World Cup semi-final.
That performance contributed heavily to their impressive tournament goal tally of 18 – the last team to achieve that amount was Brazil in 2002.
In fact Germany became the top scoring nation in World Cup history with 224 goals overtaking Brazil in the process who have scored three fewer goals.
Germany racked up the World Cup goal scoring records during this 20th edition and most fell in the semis.
Veteran striker Miroslav Klose became the top scoring player in World Cup history.
His strike against Brazil in the last four moved the 36-year old on to 16 career World Cup goals.
He has scored one more than Brazilian great Ronaldo.
Germany played a part in another record as for the first time in the history of FIFA’s marquee event all eight group stage winners progressed to the quarter-finals.
Brazil 2014 will go down as one of the most entertaining World Cups. It was a tournament full of surprises, shock eliminations and stunning exploits.
The hopes of an entire nation weighed heavily on the shoulders of the Brazil team.
After topping Group A Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men battled past Chile on penalties in the last-16 and then edged past Colombia to reach the semis at which point it went so terribly wrong.
With poster boy Neymar injured and skipper Thiago Silva suspended the Selecao crashed out in spectacular fashion to the Germans.
The Dutch then compounded Brazil’s misery in the play-off for third place.
On Monday (July 14) Brazil coach Scolari resigned following his country’s failure on home soil.
Reigning champions Spain were the first European heavyweights to suffer a surprise early exit.
It was an uphill battle to recover from their opening 5-1 thrashing by the Netherlands.
Having lost their second to Chile, their win over Australia came too late as La Roja became the third defending Champions from the last four editions to go out at the following group stage.
It wasn’t much better for one of the pre-tournament favourites Italy, who exited at the group stage for the second edition in a row. The last time they managed this was in the 1960s.
Their elimination will surely raise many questions about how to proceed for the future.
Coach Cesare Prandelli fell on his sword and after the match announced he would be stepping down from his role.
Italy’s only three points came courtesy of a 2-1 win over England who also had a disastrous campaign and were knocked out of the group stage for a first time since 1958.
Roy Hodgson’s men picked up only one point from their trip to Brazil.
Another under achievement from the Three Lions. Hodsgon has full backing of the English FA and is expected to stay at the helm of the national side despite his men flattering to deceive.
Costa Rica surprised all at this World Cup where they had their best ever showing reaching the quarters.
The tournament’s surprise package beat Italy and Uruguay, and drew with England to top their group. They beat Greece in the last 16 but took teh Dutch all the way before losing on penalties in the last 8 – nonetheless a very fine showing indeed from Los Ticos.
Failing to fire
Before the World Cup started we expected the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and many others to shine in this edition, but a lot of them failed to make their mark leaving the lesser-known players to take centre stage.
Messi was arguably the driving force behind Argentina’s push to their first final since 1990.
Despite flashes of the brilliance that earned him four World Player of the Year awards, the diminutive number ten failed to fire on all cylinders, although the captain did win the golden ball for the best player of the tournament.
Compatriot and footballing legend Diego Maradona later criticised the decision to award his compatriot with the prize saying ‘he didn’t deserve it’.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s attempts to establish himself as the greatest fell way short.
The Portuguese hitman failed to live up to his status as World player of the Year and after an unimpressive campaign left Brazil early with his team.
Neymar is Brazil’s darling and he was hoping for World Glory on home soil. Instead all he got was frustration a plenty and a fractured vertebra in the quarter-finals which ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.
James Rodriguez certainly put his name on the world map with a series of stunning performances in front of goal that earned the Colombian striker the Golden Boot award as as the top scorer with 6 goals.
A low moment of the World Cup came when Luis Saurez bit Italy’s Girogio Chiellini during the group stage.
FIFA went on to ban him from all football-related activity for four months on top of a ban of nine competitive international matches.
It’s not just the strikers that make the hero headlines. The shot-stoppers also had their moments of glory too.
Germany’s Manuel Neuer was in devastating form between the sticks especially in the latter stages of the competition. He was awarded the ‘Golden Gloves’ as the tournament’s top keeper
Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas was one of the revelations in La Liga last season and also impressed at the World Cup with a string of fine displays.
Argentina’s Sergio Romero went from Monaco reserve keeper to World Cup hero.
Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa also lit up Brazil with some stunning saves.
Rais M’Bolhi pulled off some sensational stops for Algeria against Germany .
Tim Howard became an American legend against Belgium, in game that saw him make a world record 16 saves.
Tim Krul meanwhile has been hailed as the hero for the Netherland’s in their quarter-final penalty shoot-out win over Costa Rica.
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