8          Brazil’snational anthems

It islikely to be the only World Cup played in Brazil in some of the Brazilianplayers’ lifetimes so in their seven games at the tournament they screamedtheir national anthem with such emotion that it induced tears from supportersand players alike. Some stated that their over-emotional approach affectedperformances but it was refreshing to see passion when singing a nationalanthem.

7 JamesRodriguez

James Rodrigueznetted the Golden Boot award in the World Cup. He scored six goals in thetournament, something which hasn’t been achieved since Ronaldo in 2002.

Colombiarejoiced as they rattled through the group games and knockout phase withRodriguez pitching in with a goal in almost every contest, with two crucialgoals against Uruguay in the last 16.

6 MiroslavKlose

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

5 Spain1-5 Netherlands

Spain ledNetherlands through a Xabi Alonso penalty in the first half and carrying onfrom their win in 2010 over the Dutch it seemed as though they would repeat thefeat.

However, a superb Daley Blind cross met with a stupendous Robin vanPersie header levelled the sides at half-time. A glorious chance by David Silvawas missed which would have put Spain two up before the break but afterwardsthe onslaught led by Robben and Van Persie motored into action. Robben nettedtwo whilst Van Persie and de Vrij stole goals as Spain racked up the worstscoreline for a defending champion in World Cup history.

4 TheGolden Ball winner

The GoldenBall has been handed down to the likes of Zidane, Kahn and Ronaldo in recentyears. This year it was gifted to Lionel Messi to much criticism. He draggedArgentina through to the knockout stages largely on his own but after atortuous display against Switzerland where they squeezed through, Messi’sperformances dipped as they struggled past Belgium and Netherlands on penaltiesto get to the final.

They were beaten in extra time by Germany in extra time asMessi underperformed again. Even Sepp Blatter was surprised by the choice ofthe panel.

3 Substitutegoalkeeper

JasperCillessen who had kept goal for the Dutch for their previous four matches atthe tournament was hauled for a larger Tim Krul appeared and stopped twopenalties. Holland raced into the semi-final and Louis van Gaal was praised forhis crazy tactics.

2 LuisSuarez bite

There was12 minutes remaining in Uruguay’s final group game against Italy and theyneeded a goal to progress. Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini in the penaltyarea with the Italian defender showing the referee bite marks on his shoulderas Suarez rolled around citing toothache.

He was banned from footballingactivity for four months and is serving a 9 match-international ban. He didapologise to Chiellini in order to push a transfer through to Barcelona fromLiverpool.

1 Brazil1-7 Germany

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