8          Brazil’s national anthems

It is likely to be the only World Cup played in Brazil in some of the Brazilian players’ lifetimes so in their seven games at the tournament they screamed their national anthem with such emotion that it induced tears from supporters and players alike. Some stated that their over-emotional approach affected performances but it was refreshing to see passion when singing a national anthem.

7 James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez netted the Golden Boot award in the World Cup. He scored six goals in the tournament, something which hasn’t been achieved since Ronaldo in 2002. Colombia rejoiced as they rattled through the group games and knockout phase with Rodriguez pitching in with a goal in almost every contest, with two crucial goals against Uruguay in the last 16.

6 Miroslav Klose

In 2006, Ronaldo beat Gerd Muller’s longstanding World Cup scoring record. However, a German who had been totting up his goals in the tournament for 12 years returned this summer, and he was one short of equalling Ronaldo’s record. Klose netted against Ghana, to equal the Brazilian before in the semi-final, against Brazil no less, Klose scored Germany’s second as he marched into the record books.

5 Spain 1-5 Netherlands

Spain led Netherlands through a Xabi Alonso penalty in the first half and carrying on from their win in 2010 over the Dutch it seemed as though they would repeat the feat. However, a superb Daley Blind cross met with a stupendous Robin van Persie header levelled the sides at half-time. A glorious chance by David Silva was missed which would have put Spain two up before the break but afterwards the onslaught led by Robben and Van Persie motored into action. Robben netted two whilst Van Persie and de Vrij stole goals as Spain racked up the worst scoreline for a defending champion in World Cup history.

4 The Golden Ball winner

The Golden Ball has been handed down to the likes of Zidane, Kahn and Ronaldo in recent years. This year it was gifted to Lionel Messi to much criticism. He dragged Argentina through to the knockout stages largely on his own but after a tortuous display against Switzerland where they squeezed through, Messi’s performances dipped as they struggled past Belgium and Netherlands on penalties to get to the final. They were beaten in extra time by Germany in extra time as Messi underperformed again. Even Sepp Blatter was surprised by the choice of the panel.

3 Substitute goalkeeper

Jasper Cillessen who had kept goal for the Dutch for their previous four matches at the tournament was hauled for a larger Tim Krul appeared and stopped two penalties. Holland raced into the semi-final and Louis van Gaal was praised for his crazy tactics.

2 Luis Suarez bite

There was 12 minutes remaining in Uruguay’s final group game against Italy and they needed a goal to progress. Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini in the penalty area with the Italian defender showing the referee bite marks on his shoulder as Suarez rolled around citing toothache. He was banned from footballing activity for four months and is serving a 9 match-international ban. He did apologise to Chiellini in order to push a transfer through to Barcelona from Liverpool.

1 Brazil 1-7 Germany

Brazil had Neymar out through injury and their captain Thiago Silva serving a yellow card suspension. Thomas Muller netted his fifth World Cup goal in the 11th minute as a defence led by the new captain of David Luiz was unable to defend the corner. Four goals in six minutes rattled in one from Miroslav Klose, two from Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira as Germany raced into an unfathomable 5-0 lead. Brazilians booed their players off the pitch at half-time, Fred was slaughtered in the media for his laziness up front and Germany added two more through substitute Andre Schurrle, leading 7-0 with eleven minutes left. Brazil were left red-faced exiting their tournament with a torrent of abuse. 

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