Retrospective review - World Cup 2014 in Brazil
By Frans van Hees | www.AboutBrasil.com | Week 29, July 2014
Rio de Janeiro - The group stage of
World Cup 2014 in Brazilwas still underway, when it already was clear: most of the soccer teams were compatible, so every team should push it to the limit every time in order to win its matches at World Cup 2014.
A tremendous team spirit and ambition, coupled with clever game tactics; it proved to be the 'soccer recipe' to get far into the
World Cup 2014tournament.
A small soccer nation like Costa Rica almost got into the semifinals.
Moreover, Argentina made it with this state of mind even to the final in the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Typical of the narrow margins in
How often did a team win a match at World Cup 2014 after initially trailing? At World Cup soccer 2010 in South Africa, only four times the entire tournament a team came back. At World Cup 2014, after only three days into the tournament this number was already doubled.
In the knockout stage however, the trend was a little different: in the second round and final rounds it turned out to be a pre to score first anyway.
But even the later
world champion Germanystruggled sometimes to 'kill' a match early and play off sovereignly.
Ghana, Algeria, France: they left Die Mannschaft sweating deep into injury time.
The danger of a counter attack was lurking in every soccer match of World Cup 2014.
Things were a logic result of the favourite game system of World Cup 2014: a 5-3-2 team sheet, with speed and dynamics of the advancing wing backs and a creative dribble of the two strikers.
Ultimately, World Cup 2014 in Brazil was the World Cup soccer with almost the most goals ever and the least injuries.
171 goals, which is as much as the record of the World Cup in 1998. Compared to World Cup 1998 however, the time for interuptions of the soccer matches due to injuries was 50% less. Besides the unfortunate Neymar, also none of the star players were kicked out of the World Cup 2014 tournament prematurely.
All in all, the above mentioned led to a great World Cup edition in the soccer mad country of Brazil, which more than often proved that things were entirely different than what they seemed to be.
Defender of Brazil David Luiz for € 50/ US$ 68 million from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain? Much cheaper players like Dutch Stefan de Vrij and Argentine Ezequiel Garay defended much better at World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
The Colombians wear sackcloth and ashes without their star striker and soccer shrine Radamel Falcao? James Rodriguez just stepped forward as the new soccer hero.
The only howler in this field is FIFA's ridiculous choice for Lionel Messi as Most outstanding player of World Cup 2014 (Golden Ball award). The lazy (exhausted?) former multiple World Player of the Year showed his soccer brilliance far too little in Brazil.
With far more impressive candidates like Toni Kroos, Arjen Robben or even Messi's fellow-countryman Javier Mascherano, the choice for Lionel Messi seemed more like a chimera of FIFA's marketing department.
And what to think about the total exposure - not to mention humiliation - of Brazil, the host country and Spain, the reigning world champions? Vicente del Bosque and his Spanish soccer stars were in Brazil to show their skills and peak one more time at World Cup 2014; after the group stage they were already back home.
The faith of the Brazilian soccer team was even more embarrassing.
Being helped here an there by the schedule and the officals, the mediocre team of coach Felipe Scolari made it all the way to the semifinals.
However, in the Mineirão Stadium of Belo Horizonte A Seleção set foot on the shores of soccer hell when they got toweled by a historic 1-7 defeat...
To a smaller extent, this applied to more teams which thought to rely on experienced players from Europe's Champions League.
In fact, the only real disappointment of World Cup 2014 was the performance of the host team.
Brasil had to make up for the disgrace of the lost World Cup final of 1950 against Uruguay, also in the famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
However, Team Brazil 2014 crumbled under the extreme pressure.
The maracanazo (the ‘Maracana Knockout’) of 1950 was even surpassed by the above mentioned biggest defeat ever in the semifinals against the subsequent world champion Germany.
Other than its own performance on the pitch, Brazil however surprised the whole world with an astonishingly well-organized mega event. The World Cup 2014 in Brazil actually exceeded all expectations and can be remembered as a great soccer festival, with Germany as the deserved winner. The World Cup soccer stadiums were beautiful, often spectacular soccer play was displayed and the organization was almost flawless.
The question which remains open is what Brazil will gain from World Cup 2014 in the long term. Concerning socio-economic issues, the country with 200 million Brazilians, many living in poverty, yet has to make major catch-up efforts.
The social unrest during last year's Confederations Cup which led to widespread protests and violence, was omitted at World Cup 2014.
There is still a lot of dissatisfaction and anger towards the Brazilian government of president Dilma Rousseff.
Nevertheless, in the end the majority of the Brazilians wanted to show the world that Brazil is indeed capable of organizing such a huge event.
Whoever you talked to in one of the 12 host cities of World Cup 2014, almost every Brazilian was proud that the World Cup 2014 was held in the country of the five-time world champion!
With two countries without any soccer history as upcoming World Cup destinations, Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022), probably for years soccer fans will swoon with the melancholic thought of
World Cup 2014 in Brazil...
Statistics & Awards of World Cup 2014
Results Final rounds - FIFA World Cup 2014