IN the end it was a repeat of the 1990 finals, where West Germany beat Argentina.
The Germans, with Muller, Kroos, and Klose, were a treat to watch, playing attractive attacking football. It was only fair that the extra time stunner from Mario Goetze ensured they lifted this prestigious trophy for the first time in 24 years. Argentina, despite Lionel Messi, had to be content with the second place.
In contrast, the hosts, Brazil were a shaky lot. And once they lost Neymar, the much touted messiah, they looked like a club team. Legendary footballer Pele said that it would be a huge mistake to bank solely on the 22 year old super star. While Neymar did exceed expectations with some stunning football, Columbian Juan Camilo Zuniga kneed him with the mother of all fouls. Neymar had his vertebra fractured in that tackle and missed the rest of the tournament. It was later revealed that he would have been paralysed had the hit been just one inch higher.
The injury of their poster boy had serious consequences on Brazil in the semifinals where they were floored by Germany 7-1. The team was booed by their own fans in their own soil. Coach Scholari was sacked.
Memories to cherish
Right from the thrashing of Spain by the Dutch to Neymar’s injury, this world cup was action-packed. First, it marked the re-emergence of South American football. Chile, Columbia and Mexico surprised everyone with their new brand of pressing football. James Rodriguez, the Columbian forward who was awarded the Golden Boot single handedly took his nation for the first time into quarter finals. European clubs are already planning to cash in on these talents. Guillermo Ochoa, who re-defined goalkeeping with his spectacular performances, is already on the radar of big clubs. This edition proved that team play is more efficient than individual brilliance. Big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Wayne Rooney failed to impress. The ‘biting incident’ between Luiz Suarez and Chellini added to the humour quotient. The Uruguyan striker was banned for four months by FIFA.
Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, is back in the news. This time it’s for the Golden Ball award that was given to Messi avoiding names like Robben and Muller. Maradona called it a marketing master stroke and said Messi didn’t deserve it.
The edition marked the end of Spain’s dominance and the beginning of a German era. Despite the drama it will go down in history as the best ever. Until 2018 descends on us, it is Hail Germany.