It’s time to reflect on the world’s most popular tournament now that the World Cup has concluded. From the group stage to the final match, there were shocking upsets, masterful goals, great individual performances and a lot of controversy. These are the top five story lines of the 2014 World Cup.
5. James Rodríguez, the
unknown Colombian star
At the start of the World Cup no one was talking about James Rodríguez. If the pundits weren’t talking about Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, they were talking about Argentina’s Lionel Messi, or Brazil’s Neymar. Even Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic got more pre-tournament publicity and he wasn’t in the tournament.
Messi was named the best player in the World Cup, winning the Golden Ball, but James stole the show and was the best player in the tournament. James had two more goals and one more assist in two less games then Messi. The Colombian went into the tournament unknown and came out robbed of the prestige he deserved for his great performance.
4. Spain gets “inquisitioned”
Not a lot of people predicted that Spain, the number one team in the world and winner of three previous international tournaments, would be dethroned and even fewer expected the team to go home before the knockout stage. The rematch of the 2010 World Cup final was one of the biggest in the group stage, and turned out to be one of the biggest blowouts in the tournament.
There were less casualties in the Spanish Civil War. Spain’s heralded goalkeeper Iker Casillas looked every bit of 33-years old as he found himself in Spain’s most embarrassing World Cup defeat since their 6-1 loss to Brazil in the 1950 World Cup.
3. I Believe That We Will Win!
If the American media is good at anything, it selling the crap out of the United States men’s national soccer team. Four years ago, the United States lost in the round of 16. They beat decent teams, got off to bad starts, blew opportunities and Alexi Lalas talked about how bright the future was for American soccer.
Fast forward four years—the U.S. beat a decent team, got off to bad starts, blew opportunities and Alexi Lalas talked about how bright the future was for American soccer. If you watched World Cup tonight though, you would have thought a soccer revolution was going on in the United States. Luckily, everything is back to normal and ESPN is back to 20 hours of LeBron James coverage.
2. FIFA is a dirty pimp
Besides putting on the greatest sporting spectacle in the world, FIFA works nights pimping out third world countries by using their undeveloped land to create state of the art stadiums that will never be used again.
Now that the sponsors, 100,000 Americans and the jovial Germans are gone, the locals are still desperate for hospitals, better education and basic necessities to live. Maybe the World Cup should be hosted in countries that already have world-class stadiums, for example, the U.S.—a prosperous country that has over 100 stadiums with a minimum capacity of 50,000. Then again, if exploitation didn’t occur, FIFA wouldn’t make any money and that’s a problem.
1. Germany scores a million, goes against Brazil
Brazil came into the game limping, but their pride and 58,000 delusional Brazilians were there to back them up. Seven goals later, Brazil left Minas Gerais on a stretcher and those 58,000 Brazilians cried enough to overflow the Amazon River.
Germany scored four goals in six minutes, and at one point it looked like they would be the first team to reach infinity. Brazil had never suffered such a sorrowing defeat, each goal seemed like a punch to the kidneys, everyone watching could feel it. With the breakout stars, falling champions, sensational journalism and corruption, nothing compares to the German’s Blitzkrieg on the host nation.
Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]