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FIFA World Cup 2014

July 15, 2014

fifa-world-cup-2014-brazil-logoIt all started a month ago with a dream in the eyes of every Brazilian of what could have been their record sixth world title. They started their campaign having been unbeaten in their home soil since 1975. On the other hand no European country could clinch the FIFA World Cup title whenever a South American country had been the hosts. Stats were in favor of the South Americans, so was the support. But having seen all these Jesus Christ standing in front of the Estadio do Maracana may have smiled as he had something different to offer with. His smile was eventually dispatched to the Brazil fans all around the world in form of agony and tears as world football witnessed one of the most astonishing scorelines ever in the world cup history. And the team to do such wonders was no wonder unstoppable till having the last laugh. We, the people watching the match in television did not only witness one of the most extraordinary scenes of sunset, but also, we did witness a whole new sunrise for the German football.

There are so many teams, individuals, performances and special moments to be discussed about. We had some shocking results. We also had some upsets produced by the underdogs. We will remember the spirited performances from the likes of Costa Rica and Columbia inspired by Navas and James Rodriguez respectively. Neither we can forget how Chile knocked the defending champions out and nearly upset the hosts. And who can ever forget the one of the most magical moments of the tournament when Klose went pass the great Ronaldo to become the highest scorer ever in the world cup finals! Meanwhile let us have a look about the performances of the top 10 heavyweights along with the dark horse in this edition of the FIFA World Cup who were initially considered to be the contenders for the title.

SpainSpain: First of all, the team whose game, strategies and playing style have been the part of the red hot discussions about the world football over the last few years, the defending champions – Spain. From terrific to terrible, possibly is the right phrase in order to describe how their world has changed within less than a week. The team which was found to be the hardest to score goals against has leaked more than a half a dozen in just two games resulting to their elimination. The defending world and reigning European champions this time were the first team who had to book their tickets to home. Not sure what happened to their defense this time. Iker Casillas was forced to be at his best to pull out a plenty of saves. However, he had not been anywhere near to his best and absolutely gifted a few goals during their opening two fixtures. It seemed to be as if the rest of the world has started to get the bite of tikitaka. Xavi-Iniesta duo was as ineffective as ever which did not help either. Diego Costa on the frontline was unable to stand up to the expectations and his team had to pay the most for the trust shown on him. David Villa on getting an opportunity scored a goal in his final appearance for his country to become the all time record scorer for Spain going pass Raul Gonzalez. He proved his essence to his coach, but it was just too late for Spain.

portugalPortugal: Better to say a one man army rather to say a team. Ronaldo could take his men to Brazil single handedly, but to perform at the highest level in a tough group seeks a complete team effort which had been lacking in Portugal since the world cup qualifiers. The half-fit Portuguese captain whose integrity was beyond question, was let down immensely by his colleagues. Crucial injuries and card concerns put Paolo Bento’s men in a spot of bother right from the very beginning and it never was going to be their tournament.

italy_640Italy: The victory in the tight opening match against England and a defeat of Uruguay on the same day seemed to have set the things up nicely for the European giants. But somehow they could not kick on and was not able to match up their next two performances with what they had put up in their opening fixture and their forward line looked unimpressive ever since then. It is not very often we get to see Italy facing early exits in two successive editions of the world cup. They had nothing to show for against Costa Rica as their players were having an exhibition of missing goals while the opponents capitalized to snatch a goal. They had still the doors to round-of-16 opened for them as they needed a draw against Uruguay, and the mistake of playing over defensive in these circumstances that many have made in the past Italy just repeated. They were just not keen to go for goals and looked to settle with a goalless draw. Suarez’s bite on Chelini shattered their focus, and minutes later Italy had to bite dust on course of a late Uruguay winner.

EnglandEngland: Heading to Brazil with a bunch of young talents Roy Hodgson’s side disappoints their fans getting knocked out from the group stages. It is always going to be a huge issue for a coach in order to decide whom he plays and whom he does not. Players like Lampard and Wilshere had to sit out to make place for the likes of Henderson and captain Gerrard who had an awful tournament. Not sure to play with a lone striker in form of Daniel Sturidge and playing Rooney as a withdrawal or winger is the strategy that was ever going to pay off or not. In spite of many critics Hodgson continued with what he had in his mind. Ross Barkley impressed in whatever chances he had, but the coach was reluctant to start with him. England played with a different flavor this time avoiding playing with long balls. Their game looked to be constructive but nobody was really there to provide the finishing touch. But if this side needs to produce the goods in the upcoming days they have to take care of the defensive errors they have made in the tournament. It was a great deal of inconsistency there as they kept the opponent strikers quiet for most of the time but could have done far better to deal with the goals conceded.

UruguayUruguay: The last time semifinalists and the Copa America champions looked two completely different teams with and without Suarez. However they did well to recover from their initial shock of defeat to Costa Rica, managed a place for the round-of-16. But once again they collapsed against their South American rivals. Both Costa Rica and Columbia planned pretty well against their neighbors, while the absence of their star striker seemed to have affected Uruguay’s game plan. Oscar Tabarez did not have any plan B for neither of the cases.

FranceFrance: Perhaps the team to be drawn into the easiest group compared to their standards. France played some good football in the group stages. They have found some good players in form of Valbuena and Griezmann with electric pace in the midfield. Pogba was adjudged the best young player of the tournament. They have shown a formidable defense as well with 3 clean sheets out of the 5 matches that they played. But on the day it mattered most, in the quarter finals against Germany most of the players were lacking spark shown early and somebody like the experienced Frank Ribery was being missed.

BelgiumBelgium: Many people were considering this team to be the dark horse of this world cup. Even though they kept winning before losing out to Argentina in quarter finals Mark Wilmots’ men certainly was not able to match up the level of expectations possessed on them. All their goals during their 4 victories came late in the second half, which was not to be against the Argentine. One of the reasons behind Belgium did not play as per expectations was Eden Hazard’s performance. The Chelsea man was supposed to be the nucleus of the team who looked tired and never looked to be the same player we are used to see. Belgian backs along with their keeper on the other hand had a decent tournament that helped them to proceed.

BrazilBrazil: Yes, Brazil have officially competed in the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup 2014. But I am quite sure that people will never remember what they did to reach the semis. The only thing they will remember is how many goals they conceded in their last couple of fixtures and the way they conceded those goals. Every fan will be desperate to forget how the campaign ended for them, but it is as difficult to forget as coming back after conceding 7 goals in a match. If we look back to the early days of the tournament we will find Neymar all over the place. Once Neymar went out, the dreams for Brazil disappeared with him too. Thiago Silva might have been wondering whether his inclusion could have made any difference or not in the semifinal. In terms of number of goals conceded, yes, 4 goals less what Brazil conceded when the captain came out of suspension in the next match. But in terms of the result, the difference is nil. Many words have been expensed to criticize this Brazil team, and many more can be; but in this case my words do not make any difference either.

hollandHolland: Started their run in grand style, ended it even better. But in between these two games the team we saw somehow was not the same. They had to struggle at times; Mexico nearly got the better of them. Even against Australia they had to come from behind. Chile were having a treat of possession and dominance before Holland could finally find a late goal. They were even unable to break the shackles both in the quarter final and the semifinal. They didn’t have a great record in the shootouts which they have improved a bit beating Costa Rica, but once again it was the tiebreaker that saw off Holland. But whenever they played in spells, they played with some style, looked deadly and at the end of the day it is a well deserved 3rd place for them.

arg_gerAnd finally when it comes to Argentina and Germany, the result has once again gone against the Latin American side for a successive third time in the FIFA World Cup. Germany were ever dominant in their first game where everybody wants to make an impact and in the semifinal, which is supposed to be the hardest game to win. Argentina on the other hand came with an all-win record to play the finals having won each of their games with a one goal margin, except the one decided in tiebreaker. Although Argentina was considered to have the best forward line, but the forwards could not find the back of the net often. It was Messi who rescued them again and again during the group stages. However they defended well this time around, especially during the knockout phase, a department where they have lacked in the past. Heavyweights like Holland and Germany found difficult to break the Argentina deadlock. Romero under the Argentine goal had a superb tournament, having said that had Argentina won the World Cup, the decision for the Golden Gloves may well have gone the other way. It is fair to say Germany had to have to last laugh with the kind of midfield and attack they have. Just when it looked that Spain’s tikitaka is being well read by the opponents, Joachim Low have shown how to use tikitaka to a fantastic effect. He put right players in the right place over the midfield and had the complete authority over that. Even though injury of Marco Rues was a hammer blow just before the start to this tournament, the Germans never looked back. They have also shown some great deal of defending monitored by Mats Hummels. In his first world cup appearance he showed why he is rated as one of the best centre backs in the world right now. And what to say about the man who won the golden gloves! Manuel Neuer really is a monster of a goalkeeper. They have the right players in every department lead by a true leader like Philip Lahm. No wonder they are the reigning world champions. Even the best player in the planet could not do anything but to stand and clap for the first ever European team to lift the FIFA World Cup in South American soil.

champ

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6 Comments
  1. joy permalink

    very well written 🙂

  2. You could definitely see your skills within the article you write.

    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you
    who are not afraid to mention how they believe. At all times
    go after your heart.

  3. Nicely written

  4. Debasmita Bhattacharyya permalink

    well written….. keep it up….

  5. Sebastian Thomas permalink

    great work

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