34        Cristiano Ronaldo

The Ballon d’Or winner for 2013 couldn’t shift the burden of his failing teammates at the World Cup. After scraping through in 2010 and reaching a European semi-final in 2012, Portugal weren’t favoured heavily this time round. The warning signs were immediate—a 4-0 defeat to the Germans before keeping extremely slim hopes alive thanks to a late equaliser against America. Ronaldo did score in their win against Ghana, but it wasn’t enough to qualify.

33 Chile and the woodwork

Chile were the dark horses in Group B and were expected to put up some sort of fight and knock Netherlands out of the group when they were passed down by Spain for the taking. However, after beating Australia 3-1 and Spain’s loss to the Netherlands, it seemed that Spain were beaten in a surprisingly easy 2-0 win. They continued that form into extra time of their second round contest against Brazil, as Mauricio Pinilla came within inches of ending Brazil’s World Cup dream in the 120th minute. However, Gonzalo Jara’s missed penalty against the post eliminated Chile in the shootout and Brazil somehow escaped punishment.

32 The better side of Thomas Muller

We’ve seen the bizarre side of Thomas Muller with his free-kick antics, not to mention his dancing, but the better side was on offer yet again at a World Cup for the 24-year old. Muller took home the golden boot in South Africa, scoring his first five goals for his country at the tournament and netted another five in Brazil, totalling his World Cup count to 10 in 13 games, with an added six assists. He also claimed a World Cup winners’ medal too, as if you didn’t know.

31 James Rodriguez’s little friend

James Rodriguez slotted home what proved to be a consolation against Brazil in a 2-1 quarter final defeat in Fortaleza but would take home the Golden Boot thanks to a sixth goal in five games. However, joining on the run back to the centre-spot was a monumentally huge locust which clung on for dear life onto his arm wanting to get a slice of his new found fame. Expect him to be Russia’s answer to Paul the Octopus in four years’ time.

30 Everybody hates Adrian Chiles

Aside from his aforementioned tight shorts, his even worse puns and punditry, it seems that the Adrian Chiles’ hate train isn’t just reserved for British viewers on ITV. The ITV studio in Rio de Janeiro was pelted with rocks, aimed towards Chiles as the BBC studio sat smugly on top of it physically and both in the ratings for the final, its glass unharmed from rocks.

29 The pressure penalty

In their third World Cup tournament each, Greece and Ivory Coast had previously floundered at the group stage in all of their previous attempts. They were drawn together in Group C alongside Colombia and Japan, facing each other in a crucial last group game match where Ivory Coast needed a point for qualification and Greece needed a win. A 93rd minute penalty from Georgios Samaras seemed apt to settle the fate of either team, which the Celtic forward dispatched confidently as Greece headed into the second round.

28 Marcelo’s goal v Croatia

Brazilian patriotism was at an all-time high. After welcoming the world to their doorstep and providing a stirring and very memorable national anthem in Sao Paulo they were ready to reclaim the World Cup. 11 minutes in, Brazil’s full-back Marcelo scores but instead of the eruption of pleasure and celebration, sourness was left in the mouths of every Brazilian. It was the first World Cup to kick off with an own goal.

27 Soccer’s coming home

Jurgen Klinsmann had brought “soccer” home as the nation celebrated America’s passage through to the “sweet sixteen” with a win over Ghana and a point against Portugal. America had finally embraced the sport fully and just 30 seconds into their campaign Clint Dempsey scored the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history. Cue over-the-top celebrations and Will Ferrell at an American pep rally in Brazil.

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