Friday, July 18, 2014

Looking Back: FIFA World Cup 2014 by Aditya Venkatesh

Looking Back: FIFA World Cup 2014
By Aditya Venkatesh

So another FIFA World Cup has gone by, and this one was quite a shocker. The defending champions went out in the group stage, and the tiny, unknown Costa Rica took down Italy and Uruguay! If this world cup is your first time watching soccer (or futbol, as the rest of the world says), then you should know that this was a treat. Usually, there are not this many goals in the group stages… and a 7-1 scoreline in the Brazil-Germany game! In a semi-final! 8 goals are not common in any game, let alone in a semi-final against the home team. It was also a great world cup for Team USA. The spirit was great, and we made it out of the group of death! However, if we are completely honest, we have to admit that USA should have done a lot better. We won 1 game, tied 1, and lost 2. That’s not how you win world cups. And USA did not beat a single powerful European team. They tied Portugal and lost to both Germany and Belgium. If you want to win a world cup, you have to beat the European giants. Still, you have to admit that USA put up a great fight, and that is something to be proud of; for the first time, European countries actually recognized USA as a major threat. So GO USA!!!
            At the end of the tournament, though, you have to admit that the best team won. Germany won all their games convincingly, including a 4-0 victory over Portugal and 7-1 routing of Brazil. Even in the games they won by just 1 goal, Germany dominated possession and was steadily chipping away at their opponent’s defense and stamina. In fact, Germany was the only team who didn’t advance because of penalty kicks. Personally, though, I think that the runners up, Argentina, are not the second best team. I think that title goes to France, who unfortunately met and lost to Germany in the quarterfinals. France had a great tournament, and they showed a great recovery run after getting out in the group stages last tournament. Benzema and Giroud were fierce and dangerous in the box, and 22 year old Pogba showed great promise. Watch out for this France team: they’ll be back stronger in 4 years. 
            Player of the tournament: Messi. Do you agree? In my opinion, it should be Arjen Robben, not Messi. Though Messi scored late goals that helped Argentina win, he was not as dynamic and exciting to watch as Robben. I do agree with the title of best goalkeeper going to Manuel Neuer. After he came out of the box like 20 times against Algeria, that award was confirmed: Neuer is a heck of a goalie, AND he plays the role of a defender! It’s a 2 in 1!

            I’m really going to miss the world cup, and I’ll miss rushing to the basement every day after school and looking for ESPN on my TV. For all the soccer fans out there, it’s going to be a long, long wait before the next world cup. 4 years is a long time, but, in the meantime, the annual UEFA Champions League and the Euro Cup in 2 years are something to look forward to. I guess I’ll finish of by thanking Brazil for hosting an amazing world cup; it’s a journey that I will never, ever forget.       

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