Thursday November 27, 2014

Brazil 2014: Best World Cup early on


It may be early, but the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is looking to be the best World Cup in the long and storied history of the game of soccer.

There have been blowouts of epic proportions (time to wake up, Spain) and just one draw as of the time of writing (I’m writing this Tuesday morning mere moments before we go to press). In addition to the one draw there has been just one 1-0 score line and most games have been back and forth and highly entertaining.

Only two games, the 0-0 draw between Iran and Nigeria and the 1-0 Mexico win over Cameroon, have been low scoring. Every other game has seen at least three goals find the back of the net.

There has been a stellar hattrick by Germany’s Thomas Muller, who is looking to defend his Golden Boot award from the 2010 World Cup that saw him net five goals that campaign (he now has eight in just seven World Cup games) and an amazing game winning goal off the blessed foot of Switzerland’s Haris Seferovic in the 93rd minute of Switzerland’s opening match against Ecuador that sent the European side into a frenzy and the South American side into despair.

We’ve seen the American side gain a measure of revenge by knocking off Ghana 2-1 on a late goal by substitute John Brooks and a very early goal, just 32 seconds in, by Clint Dempsey.

The one negative thing that stands out at this World Cup, however, is the exponential increase in diving/flopping. It brings to mind that age-old question: If so and so, for diving purposes we’ll say Cristiano Ronaldo, jumped off a bridge would you?

Clearly if you’re an international footballer (read that as soccer for us North Americans), you wouldn’t just jump off the cliff, you’d do a few back flips and reach for the back of your leg before impact, or perhaps your head... The diving has been outrageous and is really the only thing that has been bad about this World Cup (granted the weather on the opening few days wasn’t something you’d write home about either).

Shocking Results

There have been few results more shocking in World Cup history than defending champion Spain’s 5-1 crushing defeat at the hands of 2010 runners up Netherlands to open Group B play.

The game, which was widely thought to be one of the most competitive early on, proved to be nothing but a blowout. The Dutch dominated the Spaniards in every facet of the game and brought to mind the picture of a bully with a victim in a headlock forcing him to say ‘Uncle’ before he would be released.

Heck, even Canada’s national team might have put up a tougher fight for Robin van Persie and company.

Another somewhat shocking result is Costa Rica’s 3-1 victory over Uruguay, the team that I chose to win the entire thing (hey, why not add a little drama?).

Germany blanking Portugal 4-0 was also a surprise just due to the score line. There was no doubt that the Germans would win the game, but 2-1 seemed more likely (Heil Deutschland).

All in all the 2014 World Cup has, so far, been a delight. People (such as myself) who wouldn’t give soccer the time of day are enjoying the daily action.

Now hopefully all the teams continue to play excellent soccer, stay away from the draws and tone down the diving (like that will happen).



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