Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 World Cup Review

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is in the history books, with my pre-tournament pick Germany winning their fourth World Cup title. The final was okay, the extra time picked up after a disappointing second half. It was better than that awful Spain-Netherlands 2010 Final. However, the past few Women's World Cup finals have been much better than the past few Men's World Cup finals.

Worst Team: Cameroon. Not only did they finish as the worst team with 0 points and a -8 Goal Differential, players even fought with each other. How do you expect to win with no chemistry? The best team was obviously Germany.

Best Fans: Japan. They actually cleaned up their section in the stadium, despite some poor results from their team, who couldn't live up to expectations. The fans stayed positive and respectful. USA fans come in a close second for redefining American soccer fans, showing up in outstanding costumes and big numbers, becoming favorites of the Brazilians.

Unexpected Star: Miguel Herrera, Mexico. His goal celebrations became legend. He became the face of joy. As a US Soccer fan you're supposed to dislike everything about the Mexican team, but Herrera changed that. Just as Graham Zusi of the US will always hold a special place in Mexico fans' hearts. We built bridges!

Best Goalkeeper: The Great Wall of CONCACAF! Alright, I'll rank them.
1. Tim Howard, USA. - I wanted to put Navas 1st, but Howard had one of the greatest performances by a Goalkeeper ever seen in the World Cup against Belgium in the Round of 16. That 16 save performance had to elevate him to the top of the list.
2. Keylor Navas, Costa Rica. - Navas was one of Costa Rica's biggest assets in helping the island country to its best showing ever at a World Cup, losing to the Netherlands in a penalty shootout in the Quarterfinal.
3. Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico. - Ochoa's performance against Brazil was the best Goalkeeping performance until Howard's. CONCACAF proved to be tough in this tournament, and worthy of getting a 4th spot guaranteed at the next World Cup rather than having to go to playoff, which Africa should do. Outside of CONCACAF, Thibaut Courtois of Belgium and Manuel Neuer of Germany were both outstanding.

Most Disappointing Teams: 1. Japan - I know...Spain were poor and everyone expected more. But they've also won two straight Euro's & the 2010 World Cup. They were bound to crash eventually. Japan seemed to be on the upswing though to build on 2010, but they only came away with 1 point. And that point was against a 10-man Greece. They lacked creativity in the attack, the opposite of their Women's team who won the World Cup in 2011.
2. Spain - They followed in the footsteps of France in 2002 and Italy in 2010, defending champs who went out in the group stage. I was torn between them and the Netherlands when I made my picks. Sadly I went with Spain to get out of the group with Chile. The "experts" swayed me on it, even though I had a hunch. Never again!
3. Brazil - They were lucky to finish 4th, aided by the post against a superior Chile and gifted a Penalty Kick against Croatia. They seem very stagnant when they play. Maybe fans should show more support to the superior Women's team, who still manage that Brazilian flare the men lack, even as they get less than half of the support from the Brazilian Federation (as most South American teams do).

Tightest Jerseys: 1. Uruguay - They always win this award. It's as much of a tradition as Luis Suarez biting people. 2. Algeria - One of the more improved teams. 3. Ivory Coast - They failed to get out of the group again, but at least they get something.

Best Goals:
1. Tim Cahill, Australia. Cahill's volley into the net against Netherlands was incredibly difficult and it made for a beautiful and unexpected goal. It came on a long distance pass, with Cahill moving around a defender to send it in.
2. James Rodriguez, Colombia. James' goal against Uruguay, which came off his chest and then sent hard into the top of the net was the best looking goal of the tournament. The Colombian dancing to make Shakira proud after each goal only helped. His goals and celebrations helped make him a favorite of many fans.
3. Robin Van Persie, Netherlands. His flying header against Spain became the meme of the tournament, inspiring people to do what con only be described as a flying plank.
4. Jermaine Jones, USA. Jones curled his shot into the net with power and precision at the most crucial moment for the United States against Portugal. It was also pretty far away, expertly moving past a host of defenders.
5. Mario Goetze, Germany. Goetze's goal in extra time in the final against Argentina wasn't an easy shot. He sent it in from an angle after chesting down the cross, falling to the ground after the pinpoint goal.

No comments:

Post a Comment