Well it was quite a special tournament wasn’t it? It had everything going for it, Brazil, weather, iconic scenes and historic stadia as well as new, plush stadia waiting for the paying public to set foot and make history.
The Brazilians sure know how to put on a show that is without doubt. The atmosphere within the grounds for the majority of the matches was simply staggering. It was so loud on occasion that the TV commentators of the BBC and ITV nearly lost their voices trying to inform us of what was going on down at pitch-level.
Furthermore, not only did the tournament produce off the pitch, it also produced on it. There were 171 goals throughout the tournament, matching the best ever amount achieved in France 1998, there was also the most scorers in a World Cup tournament with 121 and there was also a lot of bad defending!
We saw a number of high quality goals too. Some were outstanding for their simplicity, some were technically outstanding, some were individually outstanding and others were outstanding from a team point of view.
Of course there was also controversy, something that brings out the debaters in everyday Joe Bloggs. As usual, referees and officials made the World Cup a somewhat debatable topic and of course there was BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce who refused to believe that he was wrong and he was stirring a subject that didn’t need to be stirred with regards to goal-line technology.
Overall, Brazil 2014 can be considered a tournament that will live long in the memory, certainly for Germany and certainly for Brazil only for the trouncing they received at the hands of the Germans in the semi-final. There is a lot to be proud of as far as the Brazil tournament goes as in 2010 in South Africa there was a fear that this is what football would become – a lifeless, win-at-all-costs spectacle that would never again produce the goods in terms of entertainment and goals again.
However, it was as if a mentality shift had occurred within teams (apart from Greece!) and they had decided that defending what they had wasn’t enough; they had to win by scoring more goals than their opponents. It was a refreshing sight to see and it made for a spectacle that will live long in the memory of everyone who witnessed it.
We thought we’d go for something a bit different with this one, as we want you to make to make the choice for whom you want as the Guts Awards recipient. We’ll run down a list of players who caught the eye with their performances in Brazil and ask you to vote on who you think deserves the award the most.
a.) James Rodriguez – The 22 year-old Colombian provided some exquisite moments of genius and also provided the spark for a lively Colombian side and of course he finished with the Golden Boot with 6 goals and also scored quite possibly the goal of the tournament with an outstanding volley.
b.) Ron Vlaar – The Aston Villa man proved he has what it takes to provide a steely backbone to any team and he did with an unfancied Dutch side under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal. It was simply an outstanding tournament from the defender.
c.) Javier Mascherano – The Argentina man proved he still has what it takes to play in midfield. He was effectively everywhere in the final vs. Germany and he also performed an outstanding man-marking job on Netherlands danger man Arjen Robben to nullify the threat from him with ruthless ease.
d.) Manuel Neuer – The German goalkeeper had an outstanding tournament and proved the difference when the Germans were under-pressure, specifically against Ghana in the group stages and against Algeria in the Round of 16. He conceded 4 goals and kept 3 clean sheets throughout the tournament, tied with Keylor Navas of Costa Rica at the top of the pile.
e.) Neymar – The Brazilian poster boy scored 4 goals and single-handedly carried Brazil at times and they couldn’t live without the 22 year-old’s absence through injury suffered against Chile.
f.) Arjen Robben – Arjen Robben was as dangerous as he has ever been throughout the tournament and chipped in with a few, crucial goals too.
g.) Philipp Lahm – The full-back started the tournament in a holding midfield role but eventually Joachim Low eventually moved him back to where he is best. Defensively solid and not bad at the attacking game either, the Germany captain demonstrated he has all the attributes that make him one of the best full-backs in the world.
h.) Mats Hummels – The Germany defender suffers from a distinct lack of pace but what he suffers on that side of his game, he makes up for in determination and his reading of the game. Had a very good tournament and deserves to be on the list.
i.) Thomas Muller – The forward was as devastating as ever and he’s closing in on Miroslav Klose’s 16-goal World Cup record. A fantastic performance from summed up with a hat-trick vs. Portugal and other vital goals too.
The Nuts Award is reserved for those who we have seen fail and also cock up – badly. We were amazed to see Lionel Messi receive the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament, as, we thought, he hadn’t performed at all. So, without further ado lets compile the list.
a.) Lionel Messi – Has the Argentinian really been that good? Apart from the a couple of brilliant goals, notably against Iran and Bosnia, he hadn’t scored throughout the knockout stages and failed to inspire anyone around him to produce and his World Cup was summed up with a last minute free-kick in the final which he blazed over the bar and was still travelling when the Germans lifted the trophy.
b.) David Luiz – A prime candidate simply for his awful defending. Nothing more to say on how awful he was.
c.) Eden Hazard – Another who failed to inspire himself or anyone around him, his performances were quite simply woeful. As were his teams’.
d.) Luis Suarez – Need we say anymore as far as the Uruguayan is concerned? His biting antics have finally caught up with him and he deserved everything that was thrown at him for it.
e.) Cameroon squad – The archetypal African football nation, they try and work hard and obviously acquire a love from the neutral that tends to be the case throughout a World Cup tournament…this is what should have happened, however, it didn’t. Cameroon instead sulked over money not paid to them and also there was in fighting which led to 3 awful performances.
There was some splendid goals throughout World Cup 2014 and obviously this is going to be a hard choice for you!
a.) Robin van Persie (1st goal) v Spain – A flying header which caught Iker Casillas off guard and set up a very good tournament for the Dutch.
b.) Lionel Messi v Iran – A wonderful curling effort from all of 20-yards that had the keeper beaten all ends up.
c.) James Rodriguez v Uruguay – A quite epic volley from outside the box that swerved and dipped and went in via the underside of the bar – a simply stunning effort.
d.) Tim Cahill (1st goal) v The Netherlands – Another epic volley with his wrong foot that again flew in off the underside of the bar and stunned the Dutch 30 seconds after they had taken the lead.
e.) David Luiz v Colombia – A brilliant free-kick from the ‘defender’ who sent the Brazilian crowd into a frenzy with this winner.
f.) Jermaine Jones v Portugal – The USA midfielder produced an amazing bending shot from what seemed miles out and it bent into the net.
g.) James Rodriguez v Japan – A lovely dinked finish after twisting the Japanese defender inside and out before the cherry was planted on top of the cake.
h.) Andre Schürrle v Brazil – A spectacular volley from the German from a seemingly difficult angle. Not so difficult for it to fly in via the underside of the bar.
It had to be didn’t it? Match officials were consistently found wanting at crucial times and they were either reluctant to book people or booked people for stupid, insignificant fouls. A major gripe is the quality of them on the International stage.
Categories: world cup