With the World Cup now over, it’s hard to believe that we’ll have to wait another four years for awesome goals, epic defeats and overall standout moments. Many touted the 2014 World Cup as one of the most eventful ever, and with these unpredictable happenings, we’re likely to agree. Here are 10 moments no one could have predicted.
10. The Beckhams’ support for Argentina
It’s no secret that Germany won the World Cup, but there was perhaps more than one thing that was memorable about the final. Watching in the wings was David Beckham and his family, (with Victoria Beckham notably absent) Romeo, Brooklyn and Cruz Beckham. Known for being a fashion icon as well as a soccer legend, David Beckham attended the match in a stylish blue shirt and white tee combo, but it was his three boys who were turning heads for all the wrong reasons – they were sporting both home and away Argentina t-shirts. Nobody could quite be sure why the boys had chosen to shun their European comrades and support the South America side – could it be out of respect for this year’s World Cup location? More likely, however, it was a homage to their father, who was famously sent off during an England game against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.
9. Argentina’s Falklands display
Keeping with the Argentina theme, things got a bit political prior to the kick off of the World Cup events. During a friendly warm up match against Slovenia on June 7th, the Argentinean team shocked everyone by making a very political statement. Prior to the game, the boys made a homage to the Falklands conflict by holding up a banner which got more than a few tongues wagging. The reason for the controversy? The banner bore the controversial message: “Las Malvinas son Argentinas,” which translates as: “the Falklands are Argentinean.” The banner must have done well in instilling some patriotic spirit into the team, as they went on to beat the Slovenians 2-0, but their stunt was not forgotten by the big boys. La Albiceleste received a fine the from the F.A., who would later show their power once again, as seen by number 4 in our list.
8. Marcelo’s awkward own goal
Everybody had their eye on Brazil to win the World Cup 2014, so it was a huge surprise to see the team start off the tournament by losing. In the opening game of the tournament in Sao Paulo, Brazil looked as if they were going to manage a feat they haven’t achieved for 80 years – losing in an opening game. This was all down to the fancy footwork of Marcelo, who managed to sink an own goal in the 11th minute of the opening game. The nation was just as stunned as Marcelo, who looked visibly embarrassed, and bookmakers everywhere were cashing in thanks to the many zero goal bets punters had made for Croatia. Luckily however, Brazil managed to claw their way back to victory, beating the Croatians 3-1. No one will forget though, that for a teeny tiny moment, Croatia was beating the world favorites.
7. Samaras’ last minute turnaround
As the group stages came to an end, all eyes were on the Ivory Coast to progress to the next round as they took on seemingly unworthy opponent Greece. The game was coming to an end with the teams neck and neck at 1-1, and all the Cote d’Ivoire needed was a draw to advance to the next stage. However, injury time would turn out to be the African team’s downfall as proved by Georgios Samaras. The star managed to swoop in at the 93rd minute and score, which not only knocked their opponents out of the tournament, but also secured their place in the subsequent stage. Unfortunately, Greece’s run of luck was soon to come to an end after they were knocked out, but nobody will forget that stunning turnaround.
6. THAT header
During the early stages of the World Cup, the run of luck for the Netherlands made it look as though the European team might surprise everyone and go all the way through to the end. In particular, a stunning pairing against Spain saw the Dutch boys defeating the former champions 5-1, which would pave the way for Spain’s unseen demise at such an early stage of the World Cup. One stand out moment, however, was one of the numerous goals that the Netherlands managed to score. Named as one of the BBC’s best World Cup moments, superstar Robin van Persie managed to score a diving header that nobody could have seen coming.
5. Spain’s fall from grace
Shortly after their embarrassing defeat to the Netherlands which saw Spain’s national team fall to the bottom of the group, things were only going to get worse for La Furia Roja. Evidently, a lot can change in four years – in 2010, the boys were singing Waka Waka all the way home as they held onto the Jules Rimet Trophy with pride. In 2014, however, the World Cup just wasn’t supposed to go to the Spanish team, which was proven by their string of losses. The team suffered the embarrassment of being the first team to go home from the World Cup, an epic turnaround from their 2010 victory. Better luck next time, boys – there are always the Euros.
4. Another Suárez biting scandal
Former Liverpool player Luis Suárez managed to secure himself quite a reputation during the Premier League as a ‘biter.’ Having previously received fines for biting players in English league tournaments, the star went on to bring shame upon himself once again during a match against Italy while playing for Uruguay. During a particularly rough scuffle with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, Suárez was clearly seen biting the Italian star on the shoulder. Chiellini reacted by showing the world his shoulder, which had visible bite marks, and Suárez was seen holding his teeth. Suárez soon defended his actions after the match, but was forced to apologize after he was given a four match, nine month ban by FIFA, which secured the end of Uruguay’s run of luck for the 2014 World Cup. Perhaps even more importantly, Suárez was soon signed to Barcelona, but his ban could seriously hinder his chances with the Spanish team in the upcoming season.
3. The demise of Neymar
After such a shaky start, it could be argued that Brazil was cursed from the word go, particularly considering they were the favorites. Indeed, it could also be argued that the team were largely being carried by the fancy footwork of Neymar, whose luck was about to change once the boys collided with Colombia. Many Brazilian fans would have been baying for Colombian star Juan Zuniga’s blood after a clash with Neymar saw him breaking his back, leaving him absent from the rest of the World Cup games. With one man down, the team was doomed for the rest of the tournament.
2. Europe stumps bookmakers
We followed them through to the very end, whether we were on their side or following the example of the Beckham boys and supporting the Argentineans. However, going against the odds of bookmakers and Sports Interaction betting guides, Germany succeeded in holding the Jules Rimet trophy in 2014, a feat which they had not managed to secure since 1990. Twenty-four years later, not only did they battle their way through to the top, but they also achieved another record which had never previously been achieved in the history of the World Cup.Until 2014, no European team had ever held a World Cup trophy in South America, making the victory all the sweeter for die Mannschaft.
1. Brazil’s collapse
Leading up to Germany’s World Cup victory was of course a match that no soccer fan will be able to forget for as long as they live – the semi final clash against Brazil. After losing Silva thanks to a booking and an injured Neymar, it was inevitable that Brazil would not fare too well in the semi-final against Germany, but nobody could have predicted that die Mannschaft would annihilate Brazil in a 7-1 victory. The game started amazingly for Germany who seemed to be be scoring within the blink of an eye of the previous goal, and the team managed to sink five goals in 29 minutes alone. As it was looking close to 7-0, Brazil’s Oscar at least managed to get one saving grace for the team, scoring a lone goal in the 90th minute.
So dreadful was the game for Brazil that fans soon began to sing encouraging chants for Germany instead of their home team who had previously achieved such a sterling reputation, returned to base camp with nothing but embarrassment. Of course, even better for Germany was their subsequent victory against Argentina, but with a final goal in the injury time after a 0-0 performance, it could hardly be compared to their semi-final success, which will surely go down in soccer, and sporting, history.