For the past month, the entire world has been gripped by football fever. Both hardcore football fans and those with a more seasonal interest have had a chance to dress up for their favourite team and yell like mad at the TV screens. We all laughed, cried, and watched countries slowly get eliminated as the Cup progressed. Now that it’s over, we’re stuck with another 4 years before the madness returns. Doing our good duty on the Internet, we bring you the top 10 moments of the 2014 World Cup.
“What a Save!” x 16
What happens when an unstoppable force encounters an immovable object? You get the Belgium-USA match. The Belgian team was a force to reckon with, attacking the USA defensive line non-stop. They truly deserved their win at 2-1, but the American players pushed them as far as they could go, not losing heart despite the two conceded goals. USA keeper Tim Howard was like a wall to the Belgian strikers, denying their attempts in a series of remarkable, record-breaking 16 saves. The USA team played well, showing that while they’re young in the sport, they’re definitely not going down without a fight!
Up to this point in the World Cup, the Germans consistently demonstrated their stellar capabilities with win after win in the previous stages. However, nobody was prepared for their decimation of the host team during the Germany-Brazil match. Many were still in disbelief that the Brazilian gods of football conceded a whopping 7 goals to the Germans in such a short amount of time. The final tally of 7-1 was very close to the highest scoring game in World Cup history- the Austrian-Switzerland 1954 match ending with a 7-5 tally. Brazilian fans were outraged at the performance of their favorite team, and everyone was more than a little stunned at the outcome.
NED-BRA Battle for Third
Meme-able moments abound this 2014 World Cup. This trend was not ignored in the gruelling match between the Dutch team and the Brazilian hosts as they battled for third place. At some point in the match, the Netherlands’ keeper decided that the intensity was just too much and took a break, sitting against the goal post. The Internet didn’t hesitate, and moments later we had him seated on Christ the Redeemer in Rio, across Forrest Gump on a bench, and in a moment of a perfect meme coordination, riding Van Persie’s shoulders as he scored the diving-header in the match against Spain. Ah, Internet! Your creativity never fails to entertain, and neither do the Dutch as they grabbed 3rd place with a 3-0 win.
The match between Australia and Netherlands featured a spectacular goal by Aussie Tim Cahill. When he shot a volley off the underside bar, Cahill proved to the world that Australia’s got game when it comes to football, too! The goal was such a technical beauty that it had fans dubbing it a Marco van Basten impersonation, vying for the title of goal of the tournament against James Rodriguez’s chest-and-volley goal in the Colombia-Uruguay match. The fact that Cahill is a 34-year old midfielder no one expected to score lends an underdog factor that makes Aussie fans cheer with pride.
Who could forget that match between Uruguay and Italy? If you felt a tad peckish mid-game, you’re not the only one! Italian fans and the victim himself, Giorgio Chiellini, cried out in rage when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez took a big bite out of the Italian’s shoulder. In what appears to be a sudden clash between the two, Suarez’ teeth somehow connect with Chiellini’s shoulder. The world was torn between disbelief, outrage, and confused amusement at the fiasco that ensued. FIFA eventually imposed a ban on Suarez despite Uruguay’s insistence against it. Mmm.. Italian meat! Next time you get hungry mid-game, make sure it’s cooked meat that you’re biting into!
Rodriguez Chest Trap of the Year
The Colombia-Uruguay match featured some of the most entertaining goals and celebrations this season. The goal that sparked the Internet’s unofficial title of “goal of the tournament” was made by Colombian superstar James Rodriguez. Colombia’s Aguilar headed a pass on over to Rodriguez, who calmly bounced it on his chest and volleyed it on to score a phenomenal goal. It was truly a superb moment, and the crowd went wild. While Colombia didn’t make it to the final stages, this goal is one of the things that memorialised their place in the 2014 World Cup. Nobody’s going to forget their great teamwork, tremendous goals, and celebratory dances anytime soon!
Brazil Opens With An Own Goal
The Maracaña stadium is packed and fans all over the world sit before their screens, ready for the season to begin. Who better to kickoff a splendid world cup than the host team themselves? Brazil, the one and only 5-time World Cup champs, are pit in a gruelling match against Croatia. Sentiment favours Brazil for the win, but viewers are shocked when the unthinkable happens- Brazil scores a goal in the wrong place. It’s every players dream to score the opening goal of the World Cup, but Brazil’s Marcelo surely can tell you what a nightmare it turned out to be, scoring in Brazil’s own goal!
Championship Take 2
The 2010 World Cup final saw Netherlands losing to the Spaniards by one goal. The Dutch saw the 2014 World Cup as their opportunity to turn things around, decimating the reigning champions 5-1. It was a tremendous match, with Robin Van Persie dubbed the Flying Dutchman as he scored an amazing diving-header and Arjen Robben hitting 37kph when out sprinting the Spanish defence. Dutch fans celebrated and cried “Hup, Holland, Hup!” as the Netherlands dominated the matches in the group stage, beginning with this win against Spain. What an unforgettable opening performance from the Netherlands!
Head-butts and Hat-tricks
The Germany-Portugal match is when things truly get heated. Fans across the globe went wild as Portugal’s Pepe got a red card from the referee after “gently” head-butting Germany’s Thomas Müller, after he allegedly faked an injury. The German born striker went on to score a hat-trick, winning the game. Dubbed Man of the Match, Müller already has 10 World Cup goals under his belt. This tally is just 6 goals shy of teammate Miroslav Klose’s record-breaking 16 goals in the 2014 World Cup. Such amazing talent from these German boys!
What a Championship Match!
So it all boils down to Germany versus Argentina. Everyone’s looking forward to an entertaining match and the teams don’t fail to deliver! The GER-ARG final has people going ‘Grr’ and ‘Argh’ in excitement! Too soon? Well, it wasn’t soon enough for the German boys, who were dying to redeem themselves since Argentina took the Cup from them in Mexico ‘86. It looks like history wasn’t destined to repeat itself, as Deutschland got its revenge with a goal by Gotze in the 113th minute. The game ended at 1-0, and celebratory puns and memes flooded the internet, including sad pictures of Messi with “Don’t cry for me Argentina” written underneath. All in all, it was a great season, and we now have 4 years to wait for the next one!