Sunday - Sep 24, 2017

Germany wins the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Germany wins the 2014 FIFA World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup ground to a finish at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday evening, with the tournament winners Germany being deserving winners of the trophy because of their all-round team play and the strength of their squad.

Before the competition got underway, speculation was high on how the current crop of global superstars, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi would fare, and which of these three would rise above the occasion and earn themselves a place in soccer history, alongside Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Mario Kempes and Diego Armando Maradona who graced the World Cup stage and will always be remembered for standing out from the crowd to win the trophy for their country.

In the end, for one reason or another, neither of these three gifted players rose to the occasion in Brazil, with Messi coming closest, but failing to inspire and eventually fading into anonymity as the final progressed.

Germany’s lineup throughout the tournament could not boast a single superstar, but a tightly knit group of emerging players amongst them the outstanding goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who deservedly won the Golden Glove award defender Mats Hummels, and midfield man Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira who was cruelly pulled out of the final just before kick-off due to injury. Add to that grouping the veteran captain Phillip Lahm and even more veteran striker Miroslav Klose and is possible to understand why Germany had what it took to win the 2014 World Cup for a fourth time, in the process becoming the first European team to win a World Cup in North or South America.

It is possible to say that Germany’s victory was more or less sealed when they inflicted the heaviest defeat in the host nation’s 100-year footballing history in the semifinals, with a cavalier display of team football that will finally the most remembered match in the tournament’s history and in the close to 100 year history of the competition.

Brazil, were obviously still in a state of shock, when they took to the field on Saturday evening for their third place match against Holland and found themselves a goal down as early as the third minute when Robin van Persie converted from the penalty spot, after the excellent Arjen Robben had been pulled down. Later goals from Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum doomed Brazil to two consecutive home defeats for the first time in 74 years.

Despite fears to the contrary Sundays final was surprisingly entertaining at least in comparison to the last time these two teams met in the World Cup final, in 1990. Argentina was expected to establish a defensive posture, but possibly their attempt to take advantage of the absence of defensive midfielder Sami Khedira, the Argentinians instead pushed forward.

They should have taken the lead on 20 minutes, when a sloppy backward headed clearance from Toni Kroos fell into the path of Gonzalo Higuain, but with a host of options the Argentinian striker half-volleyed his shot wide of the target.. Ten minutes later Higuain actually had the ball in the net, but he was ruled to be offside when he toe poked in a cross from the energetic Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Argentina pick themselves up lovingly from a disappointment and continued to trouble the German defense, with only a desperate goal line clearance from Jerome Boateng preventing a Messi cutback reaching Lavezzi..

With the half-time whistle approaching Just before halftime, giant center back Benedikt Hoewedes rose above the Argentinian defense to power head onto the post from five yards out, from Toni Kroos’s corner. However, as the half time whistle blew the teams were still level and looking increasingly difficult to separate.

For the second half Argentinean coach Alejandro Sabella decided to bring on Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero in place of Lavezzi, who had been his most outstanding player in the first half.

If the first half provided some level of entertainment, the second half gradually descended into a tight and often physical midfield battle with neither side creating any real chances.

As everyone feared that it might, the final went into extra time, and once again the prospect of a penalty kick shootout begin to loom large, making for the third time that the world’s greatest soccer tournament would be settled in such an unsatisfactory manner.

However, and almost ironically, it was one of the youngest and most unsung players on the field, baby faced Mario Gotze who stepped in with just six minutes on the clock to show superb control, gathering a well weighted Andre Schurrle pass on his chest and drive home the winner.

For the Argentinians even the prospect of a penalty kick shootout shootout would have been appealing at that stage, however, their defeat and Messi’s misery was confirmed with just seconds remaining when he fired a free kick well over, when, on any other day, he would have at least hit the target.

In the end, to the victors go the spoils, and Germany rightfully claimed their first World Cup Victroy since they defeated Argentina in Rome 24 years ago.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup was one of the most entertaining in its history, although, in the opinion of many soccer purists, the knockout stages failed to live up to the promise of the group stages, with seven matches going to extra time, and four of these being eventually settled on a penalty kick shoot out and a total of 35 goals scored in sixteen matches, with one of them, the most remarkable in the tournament, producing eight.

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