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THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY OF THE 2014 WORLD CUP (PART 2)

SUPER GOALS

Colombia's James Rodrigues

Colombia’s James Rodrigues

The tournament offered a total of 171 goals; some were fantastic goals while others were own goals. Arguably, James Rodrigues of Colombia or Tim Cahill of Australia deserve the goal of the season accolade.

David Luiz’s (Brazil) bullet free kick can also be considered as one of the best together with Mario Gotze (Germany) winning goal over Argentina in the final. The amazing header by the Dutch Skipper Van Persie against Spain falls among the nominated goals.

The Golden Boot, is an award given to the top scorer in the competition and the Colombian target man (James Rodriguez) who was not well known until this World Cup got the prize. He scored six goals and assisted two goals. Rodriguez became the first player to score in his first five career World Cup appearance since Pere’s Toefilo Cubillas.

In second place in the top chat of scorers was Thomas Muller.  The German scored 5 goals and assisted 3. Neymar and Messi all scored 4 times and assisted one each thus became 3rd and fourth respectively. (The Brazilian ranks a head of the Argentine due to the minutes played).

In 5th position is Robin van Persie, the Netherlands captain who scored 4 goals without any assists.

AFRICA GOALS

Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan has now scored 6 World Cup goals thus overtook Cameroon’s Roger Miller (who had 5 goals) as the all-time top scoring African player in a Word Cup. Algeria became the first African team to score 4 goals in a World Cup when they beat Korea 4-2 and also made history by qualifying to the knockout stages for the first time as well.

FASTEST GOAL

Clint Dempsey’s goal in 29 seconds when USA’s played against the Black Stars was the fastest goal in the tournament. The American’s goal was the 5th fastest goal in the World Cup history.

Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer

THE HANDS OF STEEL

In many football games, the goalkeepers are rarely appreciated or recognized for the work they do, all that fans focus on are the striking goals by forward players and not the saves.

The just concluded World Cup brought to the fore very excellent goalkeepers who turned out to be the heroes for their team. Among these heroes is Krull, the Netherlands goalkeeper who was introduced in the last seconds in extra time in the match against Costa Rica. He ended up winning the game for the Dutch men, the first in the history of the Word Cup.

Tim Howard experience was tasted in their game against Belgium where he made a total of 15 saves. No keeper has ever made as many saves in a single World Cup match as the American stopper.

The Golden Glove Award is given to the best goalkeeper in the tournament, one who usually has conceded fewer goals or kept the most clean sheets and Manuel Neuer got the award which was well deserved.

He will be remembered in this World Cup as a stopper who changed the face of goalkeeping. The German kept a high line of defense and was there to neutralize any through or long balls offered by the opponents.

Sergio Romero was the second best keeper in the World Cup; he was superb between the sticks and helped Argentina get to the finals. He was unlucky to concede a late goal that was enough to see them lose the opportunity to win a 3rd world cup title.

Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas saved 21 of the 23 shots on target that he faced at the tournament giving him a 91% save record, thus making him top 3 best goalkeeper of the tournament.

BEST PLAYERS

Lionel Messi

We have seen many individual skills from many players in this tournament and picking one is almost impossible. The Golden Ball, an award given to the best player of the competition who is voted by a combination of FIFA’s technical committee and Media representatives. Last time in South Africa when Diego Forlan won the Golden Ball, the world agreed that he deserved it despite the fact that his team did not reach the finals and in this season Lionel Messi was awarded but majority disagreed with the verdict including his mentor and former coach veteran Diego Maradona.

According to him, Messi is a good player but there were other players who played better in Brazil. Here are the 10 nominees that were beaten by the Argentina skipper. Mat Hummels, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Philipp Lahm, James Rodriguez, Neymar, Arjen Robben, Angel Di Maria and Javier Masherano.

Among the nominees, Robben (Netherlands) or Rodriguez (Colombia) deserved the Golden Ball Award  more according to most football pundits who criticized FIFA for the decision.

BEST YOUNG PLAYER

Most Kenyans wanted to see Dovick Origi (Belgium) win this title but he was not even in the nominated names, which had only Paul Pogba (France), Raphael Varane (France) and Memphis Depay (Holland).

Origi came to the World Cup as a last minute replacement of injured Christian Benteke and the whole World recognized his talent. It is quite unfortunate that he did not win the title but Paul Pogba deserved the crown anyway. The Juventus midfielder helped his French team get to the quarterfinals.

YOUTH VS EXPERIENCE

At only 18 years, Luke Shaw of England was the youngest player to play at the World Cup finals, when they played against Costa Rica while Faryd Mondrag (Colombia) was the oldest player to ever make an appearance at a World Cup final at 43 years when they played Japan, beating Rodger Miller’s record.

BIGGEST UPSETS

There were several disappointments in the tournament and others will be remembered for the longest time ever and Spain’s loss takes center stage.

POOR 5PA1N

The Spanish team who came into this competition as the reigning champions were humbled by the Dutch team by 5 goals in their opening fixture.

Then Chile put the last nail in their coffin with a 2-0 win. Spain became the 3rd defending champions to be eliminated in the group stages. The first was France in 2002 then Italy 2010.

ONE MAN BRAZIL

Many football fans knew Brazil would be a force to reckon with in their home country but after their first game against Croatia, it became doubtful with their game against Germany breaking the camel’s back, conceding the most embarrassing defeat on home soil from Felipe Scolari boys.

 OVERHYPED ENGLAND

With so many big names in English football the Three Lions did what they usually do i.e. flop. Maybe it’s a high time the old generation gave way to the younger ones in a total over haul of the team.

UNLUCKY ELEPHANTS

World Cup 2014 marked the end of the journey for the ‘golden generation’ of the Ivory coast. The team that has arguably the best players in Africa failed again to even go past the group stages.

It’s unfortunate that the likes of Drogba and Yaya Toure have never won anything for their country.

DISAPPOINTING AZZURRIS

For the second time in two consecutive World Cups the Italians failed to go past the group stages. Maybe the team needs to go back to their winning formula play formation of Catenaccio that were well known for some years back.

THE UNDERDOGS COSTA RICA

Costa Rica turned out to be the surprise package of the World Cup. They were in a group that many knew that they will finish last but they actually topped the group. They first beat the two time champions (Uruguay) then beat four time world champions (Italy) and drew with England. Their man of the tournament was Campbell, the Arsenal forward who is ready to go back to Emirates after the loan deal is over.

Zimbabwe military press conference

Raila Odinga Speech at the CSIS Washington DC, USA

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