The German Machine! Mario Goetze’s extra time volley was the last piece to cement the German victory from the World Cup in Brazil as they prevailed 1-0 over Argentina. It was a Maracana beauty and it was said that the German manager (Joachim Low) told Goetze before he was about to be subbed, to go “show the world who “the real Messi was”. He certainly did just that as his winning goal led the Germans to their first World Cup victory in 24 years. The Germans did few things wrong in their World Cup conquest en route to becoming the first European squad to win the title in Latin America. Even though Messi was crowned the Balon de Oro winner (albeit controversially and perhaps due to a marketing ploy), the little “mago” struggled to outdo his fellow compatriot (Diego Maradona) since he simply couldn’t get past the stronger and more relentless German side.
After a somewhat boring match for the final, I thought I’d instead sum up the top 5 moments from the World Cup in Brazil. Thus far, and only after 1 day to reflect, the tournament in South American has drawn high marks from critics both for the footballing there and also the execution/planning of the events surrounding the global extravaganza.
- Luis Suarez gets his piece of the action ; and by a piece of action, I literally mean, with his own mouth - One of the world’s top strikers, Suarez, was sanctioned, fined, and banned for his attack on Italy’s Giorgio Chiarellini’s for 4 months in his third “bitegate” controversy. Barca’s new striker couldn’t even be introduced for his new team this past weakened due to the punishment where he has publicly apologized to both Chiarellini and the world. His absence in Uruguay’s final game drew a crazy amount of publicity and ultimately ended his country’s run in the tournament.
- Belgian teenager strikes fame and loses it – A stunning Belgian babe who was attending the World Cup got noticed in pictures from various modeling agencies. She quickly signed a contract with one of the mega giants of the cosmetic industry (L’Oreal) and proceeded to record a commercial for them. Unfortunately, she had an affinity for hunting and accidentally posted a hunting picture to her facebook page, which resulted in the termination of her modeling contract. Apparently modeling/makeup companies don’t want their employees to engage in controversial matters. Ouch!
- Japanese people like to clean and Colombians like to dance – We saw the politeness and work ethic of the Japanese people after they vigorously took to the stands after their matches to help clean up the stadiums. This truly outstanding work of kindness and ability to show others how proud they were of their attention to detail and cleanliness is truly commendable. Next, we saw some choreographed dance routines for goal celebrations performed by the Colombian team. Their dances were fun, natural, and showed how cohesive of a unit they were when on the big stage. Kudos to both countries for being unique!
- Neymar leaves tournament in quarterfinal match with a broken vertebrae - Brazil’s top striker and face of the tournament had his dreams shattered when his back gave out after a tough knee during the Colombia match. He will spend much of the summer recuperating and could only watch from his house as his national side lost a record breaking match to the Germans and then faltered in another pathetic defeat to the Dutch in the 3rd place consolation game.
- Brazil humiliated in front of its own fans in the semifinal match (7-1 by the German machine) - No Neymar and Thiago Silva certainly spelled trouble for the Selecao as they had no answer for the German onslaught of goals. The Germans scored 5 in the first half as Brazil’s defense looked unorganized and confused. Millions cried and suffered as Brazil lost in the worst way possible as it struggled to demonstrate a pulse while trying to cope with their top 2 players being out. Their home fans watched in disbelief as tears were shed and people wondered about the future of what is truly a religion (the game of football) for its many fans. It was truly a sad and despicable way to exit the tournament.
There were certainly other memorable moments as well throughout the tournament but these were the top ones for me that worth explicitly mentioned (i.e. the opening ceremony, the struggles of England, Italy, and Spain, or Costa Rica’s surprise run led by their star keeper). All in all, Brazil did a great job hosting this epic global tournament where we saw a large amount of high scoring matches and the essence of the “joga bonito” (although usually not by the country who created it). I certainly hope the soccer fever will stretch into the second part of the MLS season as well as into the upcoming start of the European leagues and tournaments. For now we can say, obrigado pelas memorias Brasil (Thanks for the memories, Brazil)!