15 July, 2014 - 16:36

Top memories of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

FootballTop selects the most memorable impressions of the World Cup that will stay for years.

1. Le roi est mort, or how Spain handed over the crown in opening game

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Well, it only happened twice that the World Cup holders managed to retain the title. Italy did it before the World War II, in 1938, and Brazil stuck to the cup in 1962 in Chile. So there was little hope that the Spaniards would manage to repeat their South African success. However, the fashion in which they surrendered in Brazil, was fascinating and will get to history books. 1-5 demolition at the hands of Netherlands in the opening game witnessed Spain’s inability to bid for the second straight title.

2. Brazil amateur performance in semifinal

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There are not many people in the world who wouldn’t have heard about annihilation that the famous Brazilians suffered in the semifinal against Germany. Amateurish performance in the semifinal on home soil and tears of humiliation from players performing for European top clubs will get down in memory like Diego Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ or Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt.

3. Brilliant goalkeeping

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Some of the national teams will be mostly remembered for astonishing performance from their goalkeepers. While Adidas claimed Brazuca balls had been designed for tricky courses and a handful of goals, it was down to number 1’s that such teams as Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Nigeria impressed at the World Cup. Guillermo Ochoa turned into one of the most sought after goalkeepers in the world after keeping a clean sheet against the hosts, Keylor Navas brought his brilliant form with Levante to Brazil and was about to see his modest teammates progress to the semifinals. Tim Howard did unbelievable job against Belgium and proved he’s got it all to remain Everton’s first-choice goalkeeper in years to come. But for a single mistake against France, Vincent Enyeama could take Nigeria to the last eight. On top of that all, there is Manuel Neuer, who, just like with Bayern Munich, was not tested enough to be able to show his best. Against Brazil, nobody would have been surprised if he got on the scoresheet. We witnessed that one player can make a difference on top level, if there is a nation behind him.

4. Once a thief, always a thief

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World Cup not only is a tournament between football teams. It has a higher mission to push the ideas of friendship, anti-racism, tolerance and great sportsmanship and promote them among younger generations. However, it is not always the case for such people as Luis Suarez, Arjen Robben or Sepp Blatter. Let me get it straight – we do admire the outstanding talent of mentioned players, and do give credit to FIFA for giving opportunity for developing countries like South Africa, Brazil or Russia. But, in Brazil we saw that they just do not give a tiny piece of effort to give a good example. After all his disgusting incidents and bans Luis Suarez goes on to bite Giorgio Chiellini and fails his country. Instead of a chance to shine and fight for Uruguay in play-off, he gets banned for four months and prefers to go down in history as a talented, but mean and disgusting human being. Arjen Robben, one of the most gifted football players to ever shine at World Cups, keeps diving and goes even further with admitting his cheating. Players like Fred or Oscar are the other examples. Sepp Blatter, heavily criticized for his questionable moves, goes even further and awards Lionel Messi with a Golden Ball. Seriously, Mr.Blatter? Messi is the best player of the tournament? 99 of 100 people who have the slightest understanding of the game and a couple of eyes would not even consider the Argentine for the award. Messi ahead of Javier Mascherano, who worked his socks off in every match to drag his team to the final? Messi ahead of Keylor Navas, who kept clean sheets against England, Italy, Netherlands and denied Greece in penalty shootout? Messi ahead of the top-scorer James Rodriguez? Messi ahead of Toni Kroos, who dominated the midfield, completing a total of 85% of the passes, made four assists and scored two himself? FIFA’s decisions have nothing in common with fair play and common sense. They are playing their own game, and all the “No to racism” or “Fair play” initiatives are just a nice cover for their own interests.

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Author: Leon Smolski

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