50        Brazilian omissions and the inclusion of Fred

Starting with the host nation, Luis Felipe Scolari has won the tournament before with Brazil, in their last triumph in the far east in 2002 and he was expected to bring the sixth triumph home for Brazil. However, the in-form Lucas Moura was left out of the squad alongside Liverpool duo Coutinho and Lucas Leiva and old experienced heads such as Kaka, Robinho and Ronaldinho who had been to tournaments before; with the latter part of the 2002 group in Japan and South Korea which beat Germany in the final.

49 Record-breaking substitutes

Thirty-two goals were scored by substitutes at this summer’s World Cup, which was a record before delving into the knockout stages. The tournament’s winning goal was scored by a substitute, Mario Gotze in the 1-0 final win over Argentina.

48 Switzerland 2-5 France

This Group E encounter in Salvador was the highest scoring game of the tournament until a certain mind-blowing semi-final. This game had the lot and was arguably one of the more exciting games, although France never looked like losing, after going five up after 73 minutes. Benzema scored his third in two games and even finding the time to miss a penalty. He would've scored his fourth of the tournament and put himself into real contention for the Golden Boot but his long-range effort flew into the top corner just as the whistle was blowing for full-time. Sorry Karim!

47 Brazil v Colombia refereeing

After this game, FIFA praised their referees for dishing out just over a third of the yellow and red cards given at the 2006 tournament in Germany, a mere 188 yellows with 10 red cards. However, that was in no large part to Carlos Carballo from Spain, who waited until the 64th minute to hand out a yellow card to Thiago Silva for obstruction, ruling him out of the semi-final against Germany. All the while, Fernandinho set about destroying James Rodriguez with up to five or six strong tackles in the first half, the Man City midfielder didn’t receive a yellow and Brazil progressed into the final four.

46 Arsene Wenger on the beach

The Copacabana beach was the backdrop for the media complex at the World Cup and when you weren’t treated to Adrian Chiles' insight in ITV’s mid-afternoon coverage then light-hearted beach volleyball was part of the entertainment. Arsene Wenger took part in the French media squad, but after his fall in Liverpool Lime Street train station in February after the 5-1 defeat to Liverpool, you felt nervous for him. He returned to London for Arsenal’s pre-season unscathed though.

45 South Korea 2-4 Algeria

Algeria, in their fourth tournament weren’t expected to do much at Brazil. They were supposed to finish dead last in a group containing Belgium, Russia and their second opponents, South Korea. However, after only narrowly losing against Belgium they had their tails up for their second game. This game was expected to pass without incident but in it, Algeria netted four goals, a superb feat considering they had only ever scored six in their World Cup history prior to the tournament. They would snatch a draw against Russia and qualify.

44 Faryd Mondragon

Who said there wasn’t room for sentimentality at the World Cup? Faryd Mondragon was Colombia’s goalkeeper for their 1998 group stage elimination; the one who David Beckham scored that free-kick past. Well, he returned sixteen years later, as a substitute when Colombia were leading Japan 3-1 and were already qualified from Group C. He smashed the record at 43 years and 3 days, retiring at the end of the tournament.

43 The first World Cup use of goal line technology

Goal line technology was used in France’s opening game against Honduras for the first time in a World Cup. As Benzema’s shot hit the post and cannoned inches over the line off the goalkeeper, France sealed their 3-0 win. To everybody at home it was clear the ball was over the line and the technology was successful, unless your name is Jonathan Pearce.

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