World Cup 2014 : #5 A-Z Review

“It’s a team game but an entire nation wins!” [Official Adidas twitter account, 2014]

It’s a horrible shame when things don’t live up to their expectations. ‘University will be the best three years of your life’, they said. It wasn’t. ‘Breaking Bad is the best television series ever’, they bragged. It isn’t. ‘Freddy Adu is the new Pele’, they thought. Still waiting on that one. After the horrible bore of the South Africa 2010 World Cup, where Spain won with seven goals in seven games and the most drab final in living memory, the pressure was on for this tournament to deliver. Hosted in Brazil, the samba beat of the footballing heart, people said this would be the best Coupe du Monde ever. Ever? Some billing.

I am delighted to say it did live up to the hype. This has been the best one by a long way. Entertaining games, wonderful goals, top defending, brilliant coverage and beautiful scenery. It’s hard to imagine how Russia will follow this in four years time. Here is my review of the tournament in A-Z format. I’ll admit now that Z was a cop-out but you try suggesting a better one! Zebras, Zulus or Zooey Deschanel all weren’t present and Zambia didn’t qualify.

Amazing

AMAZING
From start to finish the World Cup hasn’t disappointed. On the pitch and around the country, the view was amazing

Brazil

BRAZIL
The hosts provided breathtaking scenery, terrific fans, beautiful stadiums and the most memorable semi final of all time.

Colombia & Costa Rica

COLOMBIA & COSTA RICA
The surprise packages of the tournament were these two; exciting football, great results and terrific style

Deutschland

DEUTSCHLAND
The Germans were the best team. The Bundesliga has got it so right in so many ways and the national team have taken this on

Enjoyment

ENJOYMENT
From the fans through the media all the way to the players, it seemed everyone really enjoyed this. Great to see

Finally

FINALLY
After a 24 year wait finally the Germans win it again. The golden generation emerges victorious

Goalkeepers

GOALKEEPERS
The goalkeeping at this tournament has been top notch. In particular, Howard of USA, Ochoa of Mexico, Neuer of Germany & Navas of Costa Rica

Hammerings

HAMMERINGS
Three games stand out for particular humiliations; Germany 4-0 Portugal, Spain 1-5 Netherlands & Brazil 1-7 Germany

ITV

ITV
Much maligned but always deliver on the big occasion, ITV made the most of the Copacabana as they hosted & analysed from there. Their theme tune was also superb

James Rodriguez

JAMES RODRIGUEZ
The Colombian striker scored the best goal & was many people’s player of the tournament. He turned 23 the day before the final & is one to watch at Monaco this season

 

Klose

KLOSE
Miroslav Klose became the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer overtaking Ronaldo with 16 goals

Late Drama

LATE DRAMA
Never switch off early! This Cup was full of last minute goals & extra time heartache. The extra 30 minutes in Belgium v USA was enthralling

MURPHY Danny Murphy was the surprise star of the punditry. He was excellent in studio & outstanding in the commentary box, the Beeb have found their new number 1 now surely. He sounds eerily like Ron Atkinson too, which helps

MURPHY
Danny Murphy was the surprise star of the punditry. He was excellent in studio & outstanding in the commentary box, the Beeb have found their new number 1 now surely. He sounds eerily like Ron Atkinson too, which helps

Neymar

NEYMAR
The man single-handedly dragged Brazil through the tournament with his goals which were sorely missed when he was injured in the quarter final. The rest of the team reacted as if he’d died before the semi

Oranje

ORANJE
The Dutch delighted this time round & were unlucky not to make the final. Great players, manager & fans who surely will win overall one day?!

Penalties

PENALTIES
There were loads of shoot-outs but the one that stands out is the Dutch win over Costa Rica. Van Gaal brought on sub keeper Krul with 2 minutes of extra time remaining as a ‘specialist’ & he worked his minds games to save the tie

Qatar

QATAR
Unfortunately during the tournament it was revealed the Qatar 2022 bid may have had bribes and backhanders. FIFA corrupt? Surely not

RIO Rio was the base for much of the media & what a beautiful city. Fan parks packed, beaches swarming. Special mention to Rio Ferdinand who was a surprise hit for the BBC in the Rio studio

RIO
Rio was the base for much of the media & what a beautiful city. Fan parks packed, beaches swarming. Special mention to Rio Ferdinand who was a surprise hit for the BBC in the Rio studio

Spray

SPRAY
The referee’s vanishing spray was great, if not strange. It’s already used in Brazil & the MLS amongst others & will feature in this seasons Champions League

image

TWITTER The first social media World Cup provided hours of fun. Twitter showcased the internet's beat photoshoppers & quick wits. So much so that one picture is not enough!

TWITTER
The first social media World Cup provided hours of fun. Twitter showcased the internet’s best photoshoppers & quick wits. So much so that one picture is not enough! @FootballCliches set out to add Italia 90 graphics onto great moments from this Cup

Usa

USA
The United States caught World Cup fever at last. Even president Obama got in on the act & with coach Klinsmann in charge they were great viewing. Tim Howard was unbeatable, leading to several great photoshop moments

Video technology

VIDEO TECHNOLOGY
The goal decision system was used in the World Cup for the first time. For the first few days they showed it for EVERY goal but a few times it was needed & clearly worked well

 

Worldwide

WORLDWIDE
Everyone wanted a piece of the tournament. Viewing figures were up across the world. In Germany they opened up stadiums to fans to watch the big screen with their sofa

X rated

X-RATED
The cameramen spent much of the time focussing in on the beautiful women in the stands. Which twitter loved. As well as that there was of course the Suarez bite on Chiellini

Youth

YOUTH
The young players were the stars this time round. German Muller is only 24! Depay of Netherlands, Rodriguez of Colombia & Neymar of Brazil are younger still. Raheem Sterling of England (mentioned at last!) is still a teenager

ZZZ'S MISSED With the late kick off times sleep was sorely missed. The late games finished at 1am our time but that didn't mean I missed any of it

ZZZ’S MISSED
With the late kick off times sleep was sorely missed. The late games finished at 1am our time but that didn’t mean I missed any of it

So there we have it; 64 games over 32 days condensed into 26 letters to reflect on 1 fantastic tournament. This has been my fifth World Cup (he says, as if a player or pundit) and I’ve not enjoyed any as much as this. It’s hard to think there won’t be live, top quality football on a daily basis from a beautiful location for, well, a few weeks at least. Roll on Saturday 9th August at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer. Channel that Samba beat, follow the Germans lead and we’ll be in for another fantastic season of football!

About Mark O'MEARA
I am Mark O'MEARA.

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