|World champions! Germany have won the World Cup, in a superb tournament all-round.|
First of all, I would like to post a quick match report + review from last night's final, between Germany and Argentina.
Here it is -
At the end of the day, the best overall team in the tournament won the World Cup. There is no denying that in my opinion, they have outclassed the majority of the opposition in-front of them and looked relatively comfortable and cool in doing so.
It gives me pleasure to say that Germany have won the 2014 World Cup, and this could be a sign of things to come. They have many up and coming youth starlets and wonderkids in the ranks who were unable to play in this competition, simply because of the strength and depth in their squad.
They have adapted their tactics well to the different climates, situations and teams that they have come up against and so far it has been effective.
Plus, the clear fact to see is that they just seem to have that “bit” about them. They are a unified team, which will be worrying for their rivals to see – unity and togetherness. They beat both South American powerhouses (Brazil and Argentina) to win the final, they have deserved it.
The final itself was not exactly the best match to watch, but it was a tense game to watch as a neutral who was eager to see many goals and late drama (perhaps) in the end. I’ll give out my individual awards in a minute, but you also have to give credit and commiserations to the runners-up of the tournament, Argentina.
Argentina were expected to do well, but not many people would have predicted them to get to a final and get within touching distance of winning it all.
Quite frankly, if the World Cup was a one-person game, Messi would have won it many times over by now – but it is a team game, and unfortunately, his team isn’t as good as he is on his own. Higuain for example, he missed two or three CLEAR-cut chances in the match, and I mean seriously.
Palacio missed a dinked effort over Neuer, trickled past the post while Messi fired narrowly wide at the start of the second-half. IF, Argentina had taken their chances, they would have won the World Cup on enemy (Brazilian) soil within 90 minutes of time. But, it was still 0-0 at full-time, meaning that extra time would be needed to settle the match.
A part of me wanted the game to go to penalties, but I also wanted to see someone win the game without having to go “all the way” to the shootout itself.
So I didn’t know how to react in truth when Bayern Munich’s 22-year-old creative midfielder Mario Gotze controlled an overhead pass perfectly before slotting into the net past Romero.
Germany won the game 1-0 in the end, and even though armchair fans will probably be slating Messi & Co for not “turning up in the big match itself”, they actually played well and deserved better than what was shown.
Like I said before, they could have easily been 3-0 up at full-time, with quite a different story emerging in the media.
At the end of the day, the Germans lifted the World Cup for the first time in over 20 years, which will be a sigh of relief for them – seeing as they historically get so close but always stumble in the semis or the final itself.
They have a bright future ahead of them aswell, they have the potential to be at the top of their game for many years yet, you watch out!
Match 1 - Brazil 3 Croatia 1:
This was the opening game of the World Cup, and it didn't disappoint. The hosts won, and they arguably got lucky to do so, two goals from Neymar and another from Oscar gave the Brazilians a dream start to the tournament.
|Chelsea duo Ramires and Oscar featured for Brazil, and the latter scored in the opening game.|
The Mexicans got off to the best possible start, with a slender 1-0 win over African side Cameroon thanks to a goal on the hour mark from Oribe Peralta.
|3 points for us: Peralta celebrates his strike against Cameroon in their opening Group A fixture|
Match 3 - Spain 1 Holland 5:
This match signalled the start of the end for the Spaniards, 1-0 thanks to Alonso's penalty strike - but they somehow were able to lose and got thrashed 5-1 by van Gaal's men.
Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben both collected braces, and Stefan de Vrij also got on the scoresheet.
FACT: That was Spain's heaviest loss in a World Cup since 1950, and the biggest lost margin of a defending champion.
This next picture says it all.
Match 4 - Chile 3 Australia 1:
No-one really expected the Aussies to go far in the World Cup, but fair play for trying. They lost their first group game against the Chileans, 3-1 thanks to Sánchez, Beausejour and Valdivia.
Match 5 - Colombia 3 Greece 0:
It couldn't have got any better for the Colombians; winning comfortably, 3-0 against Greece in your first group stage match of the competition.
The Greeks looked out of sorts as they were taken apart by quick counter attacking moves and goals from Armero, Gutierrez and James Rodriguez ensured that they topped Group C after the first fixture.
Match 6 - Ivory Coast 2 Japan 1:
The latest kick-off of the tournament resulted in the Africans recording a 2-1 win over Japan, who were the first team to qualify for the tournament after the hosts.
Japan were 1-0 ahead thanks to a sweet strike from Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda; but two goals in two minutes (second-half) from Bony and Gervinho gave the African side all 3 points.
Match 7 - Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3:
Costa Rica provided the first real shock of the tournament, coming from 1-0 down to beat the Uruguayans with an accomplished look to their performance.
Uruguay went 1-0 ahead thanks to PSG striker Edinson Cavani's goal from the penalty spot, but the second-half saw a different approach from the Costa Ricans which ultimately paid off.
Arsenal's young striker Joel Campbell stole the show with a thunder strike, and also got an assist for his troubles.
Match 8 - England 1 Italy 2:
The Three Lions were tamed by an impressive and comfortable Italian side, losing 2-1 in their first group stage match of the tournament.
Goals from Claudio Marchisio (Juventus) and Mario Balotelli (Milan) gave Italy the perfect start to their World Cup campaign, but not without a few hitches along the way.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge scored a fast-paced equaliser a few minutes after Marchisio clinically finished off a well-worked corner routine.
But in the end, Balotelli's header at the far post settled the interesting affair - and England lost.
Match of the tournament – USA vs Belgium. End-to-end, fast paced and nerve-racking to watch, with goals and drama aswell. What else do you need?
Player of the tournament – James Rodriguez.
What can I say about James? Well, he scored 6 goals at the World Cup, created 2 assists and helped Colombia get to the quarter-finals, before they were beaten 2-1 by Brazil.
Scored the goal of the tournament, won the Golden Boot for the most goals in the competition itself and carried the underdogs Colombia, who were impressive throughout in Brazil.
His market value may have just sky-rocketed after the tournament, not that he was a cheap wonderkid before. The recently turned 23-year-old creative midfielder signed for Monaco last summer, for a reported fee of £35million from FC Porto; and now many top European clubs are monitoring his progress as they attempt to sign him.
- Serge Aurier, Toulouse and Ivory Coast
- Paul Pogba - Juventus and France
- Joel Campbell of Arsenal and Costa Rica
- Raheem Sterling; Liverpool and England
Goalkeeper of the tournament – Manuel Neuer and Guillermo Ochoa, you can debate between the two in fairness.
Flops of the tournament – England and Spain. That is all.
Shocks of the tournament – Suarez sinking his teeth into Chiellini, Brazil getting thrashed 7-1 by Germany.
|Emphatic: Germany sealed their place in the final after thrashing the hosts 7-1 in Belo Horizonte|
|Controversy: Suarez's bite on Chiellini in the Last 16 was the talking point of the tournament.|
Manuel Neuer (Germany) - The best goalkeeper in the world, no doubt about that. He proved himself once again on the biggest stage, making good saves and staying consistent throughout the competition to ensure that he only conceded 4 goals in 7 matches.
|Although the German defence is solid, Neuer made good saves when he was relied upon|
|Heroics: Neuer was a standout player vs Algeria, playing like a defender and coming out of goal|
Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico) - If it wasn't for Neuer's presence in between the German sticks, Ochoa would have been my standout goalkeeper of the tournament.
Ochoa saved Mexico throughout the group stage and got them into the knock-out rounds, where they were unlucky to lose against Holland in the last few minutes of the match.
His performances against Brazil and Holland were standout for sure, he was the rest why Mexico progressed from Group A with the hosts.
|Top saves: Ochoa did well to deny Brazil on several occasions in their group stage match|
|Ochoa made a great goal-bound save in the match with Brazil, winning plaudits from the media|
|Under-rated: Ochoa's superb performances at the World Cup has alerted reported interest from many European clubs; he is currently a free agent!|
Ron Vlaar (Holland) - Vlaar does not get the recognition that he deserves as a centre-back in an arguably weak defensive side for the Dutch team.
Well, despite people saying that the Netherlands are poor at the back, Vlaar has been solid throughout the tournament and has contributed massively to their 3rd place finish.
Well done Vlaar, you just added a few million onto your transfer market worth.
Mats Hummels (Germany) - Hummels, the brick wall in a solid German defence. His consistent performances in Brazil have "reignited" interest from top European clubs, including Manchester United, and Dortmund will have a tough time keeping hold of their star defender.
He was injured for parts of this past season, but he has proved his worth as one of the best centre-backs in the World Cup, for sure.
The game against France - he won Germany the match.
I would have to be stupid not to put him in my team of the tournament; reliable, consistent and strong.
What else do you need?
Stefan de Vrij (Holland) - Another under-rated defender in the Dutch ranks, but six years younger than Vlaar, and more alert.
de Vrij has been solid at the back for Holland, and his partnership alongside Vlaar has been impressive throughout the tournament.
|de Vrij scored against Spain, and stats-wise he was one of the best defenders in the tournament|
I guess you wouldn't be surprised then, if I told you that a few English clubs are interested in signing the Feyenoord defender, eh?
Philip Lahm (Germany) - The heartbeat for the German national team; Lahm enjoyed another good spell in the World Cup and gets his spot at RB or CDM (whichever he wants) in my team of the tournament.
A quiet leader in the background, not really in the spotlight as much as some of his team - where he likes it the most.
Dominated passing and possession wherever he played, silky on the ball and created many chances throughout the tournament.
He has a presence, he influences his team-mates and encourages them to play with intensity and fire. England, you watching?
Daley Blind (Holland) - An under-rated full-back, that seems to be the underlying trend.
Blind contributed a lot to the Holland team throughout the tournament, from defending like a brick wall to attacking with pace and precision, his dangerous crosses and movements into the box contributed to the team's 3rd place finish.
|Under-rated: Blind's WC performances have attracted interest|
Javier Mascherano (Argentina) - Argentina's most important player after the captain, Messi.
Mascherano plays an integral part in the Argentinian side, and can rotate from centre-back to the heart of midfield in a heartbeat. His ability to adapt to conditions and still play like a warrior is the reason why he is without a doubt in my team of the tournament.
All of the passes in midfield go through him first, his composure and his leadership skills help to motivate his team-mates and they have benefited from his knowledge and experience at the back.
It will be a completely different look to their team once he retires from international duty, at age 30 he isn't getting any younger. Still at the top of his game though, and that's why he's in the team.
Toni Kroos (Germany) - Another pass-master of the game, Toni Kroos. He has been "on the radar" for Manchester United in the past two seasons; and based on his midfield influence on both club (Bayern Munich) and country, it's not exactly hard to see why.
Unfortunately for United and the Premier League in general, it is being reported that he is set for a £30million pound move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, which if true is a huge signal of intent.
Anyways, the reason why he is on the team is because he is such a slick passer of the ball and his vision is top-class. Still only 24, he still has time to develop and become a better player altogether, but the only real criticism that I can have of Kroos is that he doesn't always get himself on the scoresheet.
|Kroos has performed well for Germany, and Real have reportedly agreed a fee for him.|
Well done Kroos! Real Madrid (and featuring on my blog) awaits...
Mathieu Valbuena (France) - Another under-rated gem now, Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena has been on top-form for France and was one of their standout performers throughout the tournament.
|Under-rated: Valbuena scored and got on the assist charts for France at the World Cup|
But don't fear Valbuena, your performances have been rewarded with interest from European clubs! Dynamo Moscow and Valencia are in a "tug-of-war" over him, and I'm surprised that no Premier League clubs have been making inquiries over him.
Under-rated creative midfielder who has talent and deserves more hype. A shame in truth.
Thomas Muller (Germany) - Muller was another German who played remarkably well at the World Cup this year, only 24 and he has already scored 9 goals in the history of the World Cup.
His consistency in recent years has prompted managers to ensure that he is the first player on the team sheet when fit and it's no surprise given his goalscoring record and overall contribution to the team.
|Mr. Consistent: Muller has recorded 5 goals and 3 assists for Germany at this year's World Cup|
James Rodriguez (Colombia) - In my opinion, the best player at the World Cup and without a doubt the best young performer.
I will probably run out of superlatives to describe how irrestible James has been in the World Cup, not to mention the fact that Colombia themselves made their country proud with a dignified performance; finishing in the quarter-finals, losing 2-1 to Brazil.
The recently-turned 23-year-old creative midfielder currently plays his trade for AS Monaco in Ligue 1, but he has certainly caught the eye of many top European clubs after his performances in Brazil.
He won the Golden Boot for the most goals at the tournament, with 6 and has established himself as one of the world's best young players. You cannot say fairer than that.
Arjen Robben (Holland) - Despite all of his diving antics has actually played well at this year's World Cup, no joke.
His blistering pace and quick feet have destroyed defences since the opening group stage match, where he recorded the fastest speed over 40 metres to sprint past Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos and slot past Casillas; in a match where he was instrumental and scored a brace to help the Dutch thrash Spain 5-1.
Every time he was on the ball he was eager and looking to create a chance for his team, he gets his head up and sprints towards the opposition like they are not even there!
He did not play particularly well in the semi-final match against Argentina; but regardless of that you could tell that he was a danger threat whenever he had the ball but just was not able to threaten enough in that match.
And like I've said, apart from his diving he has impressed and improved throughout the calendar year; for Bayern and Holland. So it's no real surprise that Robben is in my team. I just ask that he stops diving. Is that too hard Arjen?
Alexis Sanchez (Chile) - Arsenal's first summer signing is a BIG one. Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez proved his worth again in Brazil, despite playing with a Chilean side that many had not previously heard most of the players beforehand.
His link-up play with Vargas and Vidal in midfield and attack throughout the tournament was truly something special - counter attacking football at it's best with pace, power and purpose against teams that were simply not expecting the level of intensity that the Chileans had brought upon them.
You couldn't ask for more from Sanchez, apart from perhaps to convert his penalty against Brazil - I'll let him off for that, 120 minutes of breathtaking football in a quarter-final followed by a penalty shoot-out isn't easy to complete, but the Chileans have a lot to be proud of after their performance.
Lionel Messi (Argentina) - People will always argue and debate as to whether he is the best ever player to live, but despite the fact that Argentina failed to win the World Cup on enemy soil, you have to give credit to the man that got them all the way to the final itself.
Messi. His performances were not exactly always 10 out of 10 in the group stage, but he came and delivered the goods when it mattered the most - something that no-one else in the Argentina team was able to do.
Football is a team game; but if it was a one-man team match Messi would have won the World Cup a few times by now.
Neymar (Brazil) - Despite getting injured in the quarter-final, you have to acknowledge the level of expectation and hope that was put on Neymar's shoulders.
The country's golden boy, the man to lead Brazil to World Cup glory had his dream temporarily snatched away from him after a bad tackle by Colombian full-back Zuniga near the end of the game.
|Heartbreak: Neymar broke his vertebra against Colombia; and was unable to continue.|
What transpired afterwards just tells you how much they rely on Neymar as part of their squad; they were thrashed by Germany 7-1 and comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Holland, meaning that they finish in 4th place.
Although Neymar lit up the tournament and had his dream taken away from him, I'm sure that he'll get back fit and try again in Russia, 2018. Nothing comes easy, but he'll be back.
Just a side-note, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema narrowly missed out on a place in my team of the tournament; but he played well nonetheless with 3 goals and 2 assists. Well done Karim!
- All 32 nations scored at least one goal in the competition, Iran's only goal against Bosnia ensured this
- van Gaal's goalkeeping substitution (Vorm on for Cillessen) made sure that all 23 of his players had played some part of the tournament; the first squad in history to do this
- Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard made 16 saves in the Belgium vs USA match, which is more than any other goalkeeper in the history of the World Cup
- Klose's goal for Germany against Brazil was his 16th goal at the World Cup, the most ever recorded
|Emphatic: Germany sealed their place in the final after thrashing the hosts 7-1 in Belo Horizonte|
The competition itself went with barely any problems, and Brazil have a lot to be proud of to have hosted such an entertaining tournament for billions of people across the world.
Obviously, they will not be happy that they lost against Germany and Holland towards the end of the competition, but it just highlights the fact that they are not good enough yet and still have improving to do.
As for Germany, they have deserved it. They came to win, and they did just that - in style. Well done to the Germans, that's not the last we are seeing of them for some time!
And to the under-rated players, teams and staff who were involved in the tournament, you will not be forgotten! I'm glad that everyone has worked together to make for the best World Cup yet!
I will be back with more footballing content on the blog soon - just over a month to go until the Premier League season gets underway again, as well as the European leagues!
Spread the word to your friends and family that like/enjoy football (or soccer), just over a month until the football season starts again!
EPL starts -
Saturday, 16th of August
Bundesliga starts -
Friday, 22nd of August
Liga BBVA starts -
Saturday, 23rd of August
Serie A starts -
Sunday, 31st of August