Every World Cup have their memorable moments, so lets have a quick look back at some of the great moments this edition has provided us.
Costa Rica & Their Magical Run
Group D contained 4 times winners Italy, 2 times winners Uruguay and 1 time winner England. The final nation were minnows Costa Rica. Not many would have predicted before the tournament that it would be the Central American nation that would be the last to leave Brazil! Costa Rica stunned Uruguay in their opening game, coming from behind to win. They then proved that was not a fluke by beating Italy in the next game to qualify. They even topped the group with a draw against England. A tie against Greece provided them with a reasonable shot at going through to the Quarter Finals for the first time. They once again upset the higher ranked nation and beat Greece on penalties. The mighty Holland stood in their way if they were to progress to the final 4. They eventually lost out on penalties, but the fact they managed to even take a team such as the Dutch all the way showed the great resilience which endured the nation to fans around the world.
Colombia Light Up Brazil
Colombia may have been ranked in the top 10, but not many would have been familiar with their team and their style of play. Many experts had tipped them to be one of the Dark Horses of the tournament, but with injury ruling out their star striker Radamel Falcao before the tournament, many wondered how this would effect the team. If anything, his absence allowed the other talented players to shine and take center stage. James Rodriguez was a player who has been shining for a while, but not known to many casual fans. Now, he was the Golden Boy in a team who were playing with great flair. Being supported by players such as Cuadrado, Guarin and Martinez. Colombia won all their games, leading to a Quarter Final showdown with Brazil. A tightly fought match with a physical Brazil side, but they just fell short. Though they crashed out at the 1/4 Finals, fans wont forget the great goals and dancing celebrations the South American nation provided!
Algeria Make History
In 2010, Algeria did not pull up many trees, they finished bottom, with 1 point, and scoring no goals in the process. Not many were expecting them to do much this time around either. They had not won a match at the finals since 1982, a record they would like to put to bed sooner rather than later! In their opener, Algeria were unlucky to lose to Belgium, leading most of the game, they lost after 2 late goals. But signs were there that this was a much better team than 4 years ago. This was shown in the following game, in which they blitzed a shell shocked South Korean team, scoring 3 in the opening half. They went on to win that game, and become the first African nation to score 4 at the finals. Algeria only required a draw against Russia, which they got. Algeria for the first time ever had made it through to the Last 16. They had Germany to face next, and had the 3 time winners on the ropes for parts of the game, spurning many chances to take the lead. In the end, the Germans just had enough quality to go through. But Algeria had done their nation proud, and gained many new fans across the world.
The Dutch Crush Spain
When the draw was made, Holland v Spain was probably the highlight of the Group Stages. A rematch of the 2010 final. Spain were looking to win their 4th consecutive international title, but they were in for a shocking few days. It looked business as usual for Spain, after a Xabi Alonso penalty gave Spain the lead. But just before half time, a wonderful Van Persie header got Holland back on level terms. The game was very much in the balance going into the second half. The following 45 minutes stunned fans watching all over the world. Spain simply imploded. Arjen Robben simply torn the Spanish apart, he soon put Holland in front, before Iker Casillas has a shocking few minutes. First he flapped at a free kick, allowing de Vrij to bundle home. Moments later, he attempted to control a pass, but a heavy touch lead to him losing possession to Van Persie, who put the ball into an open net. Robben capped off his fine game with the 5th goal. It was an astonishing game, simply due to the fact Spain were reigning champions, it didn’t get any better for them as they got dumped out the following game losing to Chile.
Germany & Ghana Serve Up A Treat
The group stages for the 2014 World Cup were simply put, filled with goals. far surpassing the number of goals that were scored in the group stages in South Africa. Where before, teams played defensively, looking not to lose. This time around, it was attacking football that was the order of the day. With teams like Chile and Colombia firing away. The goal crazy nature was summed up by one game, Germany v Ghana. This may not have stood out as a marquee fixture, and the first half was a drab encounter, with no goals being scored. But the second half was totally different. The game was played at a fast pace, with end to end action, it become a thrilling match to watch as a neutral. Germany took the lead early in the second half, before Ghana equalized soon after. Minutes later, Ghana had taken the lead, Gyan with the strike, and a big upset looked to be on the cards, the neutral fans in the crowd were getting behind the African nation. Ghana spurned a few good chances to further extend their lead. Germany punished them, when substitute Miroslav Klose scored, and in turn become the joint highest goalscorer in all World Cup history with the great Ronaldo. A frantic 10 minutes at the end had both teams with good chances to take all 3 points. But a draw was a fair result in a game no one probably deserved to lose.
Probably the result of the tournament. Not for any Brazil fans, but for the rest of the world, they will remember this game for a long, long time! I wont go too much into this game, as it only happened a few days ago, and everyone it probably aware of the chaos that occurred! If one game was to display what this World Cup was about, it would be this.