The official face of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 tournament, Neymar Jr., cooly opened his scoring FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 account against Croatia in the opening game of the tournament with a left-footed long range strike that subtlely ricocheted off the left post.
Neymar Jr. set the general tempo of exploits in scoring without failing to deliver, despite the weight of the world on his shoulders. The elated samba party ignited early for Neymar Jr. in Brazil in aiming to secure both the FIFA World Cup and Golden Boot honors.
However, thereafter Neymar Jr. sustained an injury against Colombia, Brazil soldiered on and later faced Germany in a 7-1 defeat, which witnessed Brazil proverbially mourn thereafter being eliminated.
United States goalkeeper, Tim Howard, instantly became a certified national treasure and worldwide internet meme after superbly registering an all-time FIFA World Cup record of 16 shots blocked against Marc Wilmots’ Belgium.
A national petition to officially rename the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C to Howard National Airport received overwhelming support, with the former Everton shot stopper personally congratulated by then-United States President Barack Obama, based on his performance at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. The New Jersey native overcame Tourettes syndrome during his formative years and became a true hero and certified role model.
During the group stages, Jermaine Jones punctuated an inspirational 2-1 lead for United States with an accurately unstoppable right footed rocket against Portugal from distance. The magnificent goal from the competitive German-born midfielder was certainly one that very few goalkeepers in the world could have claimed to prevent from sailing in.
The feisty holding midfielder, not noted for scoring goals, showed the adept precision of a striker in singularly placing Portugal’s back against the wall. Jones’ celebratation was perhaps the most animated since Salvatore Schillaci twenty four years prior.
The certified Cindarella fairy tale story of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 was when Costa Rica, a small country with a population of around 4.5 million citizens, ultimately earned grand respect on the world stage. The defiant Central American team came, saw and conquered beyond all expectations in reaching the quarterfinals against the Netherlands.
The Netherlands defeated Costa Rica 4-3 via penalties in the last eight of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, after a 0-0 draw at the end of Extra Time. The Costa Ricans, defiantly standing tall in not succumbing to becoming the proverbial stepping stone to superior soccer nations who once called themselves champions (Italy, England, Uruguay, Greece) did not deter them.
Costa Rica were the surprise package of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 tournament and a technically underrated side that uninformed commentators unfairly vilified as nothing more than machismo and red-blooded fire. Costa Rica did an entire nation proud.
Throughout The Netherlands group stage at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Arjen Robben rapidly accelerated on the The Netherlands break, leaving a herd of hapless Spanish defenders at his very disposal with perfect control. The majestic Robben then subsequently fired past a woeful Iker Casillas in a sensational 5-1 victory. The mercurial Dutch master imprinted his name on the tournament from the get-go and was instrumental in ending Spain’s golden generation at the biggest tournament in the world.
During The Netherlands 5-1 annihilation of Spain, a superbly headed goal that possessed the benevolent finishing of Marco van Basten, accompanied with the God-given precise first touch of Dennis Bergkamp. The clear vision, amazing timing, and mercurial finish of Robin van Persie’s leaping diving header past Iker Casillas confirmed the world-class caliber of the Dutchman. Van Persie’s stunning goal against Spain at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 will be replayed for many years to come in the van Persie highlight reel.
The most emotionally heartwrenching elimination game of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 that even neutrals empathized and resonated with in its aftermath was between Brazil and South American counterparts Chile.
After Chile’s Gonzalo Jara misguided penalty attempt rebounded off the left post during a climatic penalty shoot-out, sincere tears of joy and and sadness completely filled the entire stadium in a thrilling penultimate moment in the samba sun.
The gifted Chileans – lead by Alexis Sanchez – took the five-time FIFA World Cup winners to the very bitter limit prior to seeing their fate sealed in penalties. Post-game, Brazil Goalkeeper, Julio Cesár, openly wept as though Brazil had claimed the FIFA World Cup trophy in advance. Chile vs. Brazil at the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 tournament quantified he very essence of the beautiful game.
Colombia playmaker, James Rodriguez, officially became a household brand name overnight at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. The exceptional Colombian inspirationally lead Colombia to the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Quarter-finals with six finely scored goals netted in five games.
The Colombian hero – incidentally named after James Bond – truly exhibited a deadly Goldeneye in front of goal when it mattered most at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. Thereafter becoming a superstar at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Spanish giants Real Madrid signed James Rodriguez from AS Monaco.
During the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 group stages, James Rodriguez received a brilliantly placed pass via an unsure Japan defense which lead to the talented Colombian to delicately weave, cut inside and humiliate the same Japanese defender before crucially slotting home with a finely confident touch. James Rodriguez provided hope and excitement for Colombia sans Radamel Falcao. A touch of class.
Then reigning FIFA World Cup holders and then world ranked number one Spain nonchalantly dominated the international game with eloquently crisp, Tiki Taka play at a siesta tempo that excellently dictated the world stage for six long years (2008-2014). Spain won the 2008 European Championships, followed up with the mesmerizing FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 triumph, capped off with the 2012 European Championship. Spain had the world at their feet and headed into Brazil with large expectations to become the first-ever back-to-back European champions and FIFA World Cup winners.
However, Spanish eyes no longer sparkled after a profoundly humiliating 5-1 loss to Netherlands, coupled with a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat to Chile that saw La Furia Roja unceremoniously eliminated after just two games in FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. Spain’s FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 performance was undoubtedly the worst FIFA World Cup performance for defending FIFA World Cup champions since France at FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan 2002, where France were also eliminated in the group stage.
Mexico goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa – who ironically has six fingers on one hand – made a plethora of unbelievable saves in a world-class performance against Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil in a pulsating 0-0 draw.
Ochoa miraculously saved a thunderous headed attempt from Neymar Jr, that has since been compared to Gordon Banks’ incredible save from a guided Pelé headed attempt at FIFA World Cup Mexico 1970.
The uber-talented former AC Ajaccio stopper – who was a free agent during the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 tournament – invariably played like he had nothing to lose, and absolutely everything to gain. Arsenal and Atletico Madrid were among the major European teams who wanted to secure the services of the Mexican hero thereafter Ochoa’s impressive performances. The Mexican save was more prominent than the Mexican wave in Brazil.
Marc Wilmots’ tactically brilliant Belgian late show was a recurring theme throughout FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 for the well-documented dark horse of the tournament. The fine in-game adjustments and smart substitutions all paid rich dividends in enabling Belgium to reach the Quarter-finals against Alejandro Sabella’s Argentina.
Belgium heartbreakingly ended the American dream with a 2-1 defeat against the United States, whilst remaining undefeated throughout the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 group stages. Belgium’s new golden generation did not do any disservice to a nation.
The Super Eagles claimed their finest finish in sixteen years at the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. Nigeria’s showing was the finest since the talented Super Eagles golden generation reached the final sixteen at FIFA World Cup France 1998.
Nigeria qualified for the final sixteen at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, with an entire nation largely captivated by the then reigning Africa Cup of Nations holders. Nigeria – alongside Algeria – were undoubtedly a true credit to African soccer, with Nigeria’s inspirational Vincent Enyeama being one of the most impressive Goalkeepers of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.
Nigeria’s African counterparts Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon were all eliminated in the group stages. Nigeria started v in Brazil with an vastly unmemorable 0-0 stalemate with Iran, yet The Super Eagles supremely grew in character, spirit and performances as the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 tournament progressed. Nigeria’s powerful brotherhood and selflessness was a rarity in the contemporary age of the glorified one-man show.
Uruguay superstar Luis Suárez resolutely scored twice against England to end the Three Lions hopes and dreams in Brazil. The controversial superstar then subsequently created one of the most infamous scenes in FIFA World Cup history.
The vast importance of the defining second strike by Suárez against England was vastly important for Uruguay. This was with lighting striking twice for an England team, who was expected to marginally expose a documented slow and vulnerable La Celeste defense.
Suárez’s world class positioning, finishing, control, relentless attacking prowess, anticipation, and daunting kiss of death against England remotely shattered the Three Lions ambition of proceeding into the final sixteen. This would turn out to be the most positive watermark of an otherwise disgraceful campaign at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 for Suárez .
Zinedine Zidane aggressively head-butted Marco Materazzi at FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 final against Italy in his final game of his decorated career. Whereas the Suarez biting incident at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 is also comparable to Diego Armando Maradona being suspended at FIFA World Cup USA 1994 after doping failure.
The goal-hungry Uruguayan decidedly biting Giorgio Chiellini in a well-documented scenario saw Suárez receive a lengthy four month suspension from FIFA as well as effectively being forced out by Liverpool in a sale to FC Barcelona. Suárez undoubtedly bit off more than he could chew on this grave occasion.
Miroslav Klose remains as Germany’s all-time leading goalscorer, which witnessed the well-organized Germany officially never losing a game when the Poland-born striker registered a goal. However, Klose surpassed two-time FIFA World Cup winner, Ronaldo, for the FIFA World Cup all-time record at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.
Klose has netted more FIFA World Cup goals than Pelé, Paolo Rossi, Jairziho, Karl-Heinz Rummenige, Sándor Kocsis, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano, Ronaldo, Zico, Christian Vieri, Mario Kempes, Grzegorz Lato, Johan Cruijff, Gerhard “Gerd” Muller, David Villa, Eusebio, Jurgen Klinsmann, Gary Lineker, Gabriel Batistuta, Eusebio, Teófilo Cubillas, and Diego Armando Maradona.
Argentina solemly needed something special, from someone very special. FC Barcelona superstar, Lionel Andrés Messi defied the overwhelming odds to deliver a sublime left foot strike from eighteen yards in the dying moments of time added on in a Group C game to enable La Albiceleste a 1-0 win over Iran.
This was to qualify for the final sixteen at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. It was one of Messi’s most important goals for La Albiceleste as Argentina marched on to reach the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 final against Germany.
During the group stages, Messi radared a rather vulnerable Vincent Enyeama, who co-ordinated – and wildly barked – at The Super Eagles wall to no avail after Argentina attained a free kick in a direct position.
However, Messi stunningly swerved a meticulously placed left foot free kick past the helpless Nigerian goalkeeper. The exceptional Argentine’s free kick appeared so effortless and graceful, yet so timeless regardless how many times this piece of Messi magic is viewed.
Australia’s talismanic captain, Tim Cahill, rampantly risen like a kangaroo to the expertly convert a trademark headed goal in the socceroo’s opener against Chile. However, the wonderful coupe de gráce was specifically reserved for Australia’s second game versus Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands.
During Australia’s game against The Netherlands, Tim Cahill perfectly conjured a first time, tremendously timed thunderbolt left foot volley from a delightful high cross from the right side, which the Australian star thunderously cannoned off the crossbar and into the back of the net in exquisite fashion on the grandest stage.
During England’s opening FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 group game against Italy, the classy building of the equalizing goal involved Raheem Sterling. Sterling distributed a timely through ball pass through four Italian players to find Wayne Rooney on the left channel. Rooney would thread a well-timed assist on his weak foot (left) past three solid Italian defenders to find, Daniel Sturridge, who issued a finish. It was subtle brilliance and textbook clinical finishing at its finest for the Three Lions.
More predictions at Doc’s Sports.
(Photo Credit: FIFA.com)