50 Things the World Cup Taught us
50: FIFA can impose a hefty ban when they want to
49: Cameramen can be quite perverse
48: David Luiz is not worth £50m
47: Gary Lewin should not celebrate goals
46: Using a drone is the new way to spy on your opposition (Someone tell Tony Pulis)
45: Vanishing spray worked well
44: Pepe is a bit of an idiot
43: Thierry Henry is the most stylish pundit you will ever come across
42: Croatian players don’t like being photographed whilst skinny dipping
41: Grasshoppers love to steal the limelight
40: We’re still a long way from an African nation winning the tournament
39: The French can go a whole tournament without any player/coach disputes
38: It’s quite hot in Manaus
37: Joe Hart still doesn’t have dandruff thanks to…
36: If you dive to win a penalty, don’t admit to it
35: Jonathan Pearce can’t quite grasp the concept of goal line technology
34: Guillermo Ochoa is unbelievably good between the sticks
33: Nobody loves Copacabana beach as much as Arsene Wenger
32: Daniel Sturridge enjoys a chicken teriyaki sub
31: Carlos Tevez loves Disneyland more than Argentina
30: Trophy ceremonies can go on a while
29: Alejandro Sabella doesn’t have a great balance
28: Rio Ferdinand is a surprisingly good pundit (#rioinrio)
27: The national anthems brought a tear or two from some players
26: Müller corner jokes get old very quickly
25: Wayne Rooney can score at a World Cup
24: Shaheen the Camel is no Paul the Octopus
23: ‘Brazil… Brazil’ is too catchy and you’ll find yourself singing it in your sleep
22: Ronaldo needs better support from his teammates
21: Tim Howard can save anything
20: Phil Neville is quite boring
19: There weren’t as many protests as expected
18: Robin Van Persie doesn’t do straight forward headers
17: Japanese fans are the most respectful, Chilean fans are the least
16: Lionel Messi carried Argentina
15: Substitutions played a vital role
14: BBC’s coverage and analysis was leagues ahead of ITV’s
13: Belgium’s golden generation failed to deliver
12: Brazil are nothing without Neymar and Thiago Silva
11: Linesmen should remain calm and collected when they spot themselves on the big screen
10: There’s pain with Spain
One of the favourites to win the tournament, Spain suffered a shock early exit after defeats against The Netherlands and Chile meant they were eliminated at the group stage. Tired, pedestrian, unimaginative. Spain were a shadow of the team that won the tournament four years ago.
9: Tim Krul is the best GK at saving penalties
The move which saw Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal being called a genius, Tim Krul was sent on in the last minute of extra time during The Netherland’s quarter final match against Costa Rica specifically for the penalty shoot out which followed. Krul went on to save 2 of Costa Rica’s penalties, ensuring his side progressed to the semi-finals. If only Van Gaal hadn’t used up his 3 substitutions when the semi-final against Argentina went to penalties…
8: Costa Rica are a lot better than everyone thought
Drawn alongside Italy, England and Uruguay, Costa Rica were supposed to be the easy opponents in Group D who no-one gave a chance. How they surprised us. Victories over Uruguay and Italy, as well as a 0-0 draw against England saw them top the group which everyone predicted they would finish bottom of. A last 16 win over Greece meant this was their most successful World Cup yet, before Tim Krul’s heroics ended their dream in the quarter finals.
7: James Rodriguez is quite a star
The Colombian attacking midfielder made his mark on the tournament, finishing with the Golden Boot after his 6 goals in 5 games, including his incredible long range strike against Uruguay. Monaco saw his potential this time last year when they paid in the region of £40m for him, with that fee certainly rising after his World Cup performances.
6: The pressure of being host nation is sometimes too much
The tears and apologies from David Luiz after Brazil’s 7-1 semi-final thrashing said it all. The expectation of a nation 200 million strong meant the tournament was always an emotional one for the Brazilian players. The pressure was either going to take the team to victory in front of their fans, or see them fall apart on the world stage. Sadly for Brazil, it was the latter.
5: The future is bright for England… probably
Despite England’s failure to progress from the group, there were plenty of positives to take from England’s World Cup campaign. Giving the youngsters an opportunity whilst playing attacking football is what fans were calling for and Roy Hodgson delivered. It’s just a shame the defending wasn’t up to scratch. England’s youngsters will be better next time round from the experience, and in 4, 8 or maybe another 48 years, England will finally lift the trophy once more.
4: Miroslav Klose is a World Cup legend
His furthest strike may have come from the penalty spot, but with 16 goals in 4 consecutive tournaments, there’s no arguing that Miroslav Klose is a World Cup legend. His 2 goals in Brazil moved him above Ronaldo to become the all time leading World Cup scorer.
3: It’s 3 bites and you’re out
Few could believe the actions of Luis Suarez who, during Uruguay’s final group game against Italy, bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the most controversial moment of the tournament. FIFA imposed a hefty 4 month worldwide football ban on the Barcelona bound striker- the 3rd time he has been banned for the offence during his career.
2: Germany are the World’s best
Despite Argentina’s best efforts, ultimately the best team won. Germany fully deserved their fourth World Cup win, and their first as a unified nation. Their 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the semi-final was an example of just how good this team is, with everyone from 1-11 playing their part in the team’s success. Joachim Löw’s side is still a young one, and this could be the start of a very successful period for German football.
1: It’s been the best World Cup yet
174 goals, spectacular strikes, 4 penalty shoot outs, late drama, underdogs surprising, attacking football, unbelievable saves, fantastic crowds and a worthy winner. Even the 0-0s were exciting. Roll on Russia in 2018!