Published on July 1, 2014
The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked-off with a — sadly — below average opening ceremony, despite featuring some big names in both music and football, including Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Fabio Cannavaro and Patrice Viera among others. However, the poor ceremony was forgotten as the masses were swept away by a World Cup with more goals scored than ever before. It all started with Brazil’s Neymar Jr quietening those who have been calling him “overrated” since his record-breaking transfer to Barcelona. The Brazilian’s explosive World Cup debut with two goals against Croatia and his performance against Mexico and Cameroon has left World Cup fans at his feet, waiting to see what he has in stock for the round of 16. However, topping the list of surprises will be Spain’s 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands. The replay of the 2010 World Cup final saw the Spanish side struggling to stop the defense-piercing Dutch from scoring, a struggle that came to no avail as the game was dominated by Van Gaal’s boys. The second round saw both England and Spain get eliminated, leaving fans angry and tearful at an appalling performance from the “Furia Roja” and a weak English Defense in the face of the newly-recovered Luis Suarez. The English, however, have some impressive individual performances to show for their World Cup campaign — mainly those of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson. The second round also saw Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo leave the tournament due to injury. On the other side of the Spectrum, Europe still had other representatives that shined, remarkably — Belgium and France, who both secured their tickets to the round of 16 during the second round.
However, all of the surprises of the second round were overshadowed in the Arab world by Algeria’s renewed chances to qualify after their 4-2 victory over South Korea. The “Fennecs” broke the 32-year long victory drought in the World Cup finals, and did so with style, becoming the first African nation to score four goals in a match. And as the second round closed, Algeria was in a comfortable position, needing only a draw from its third-round match against Russia.
Football fans began the third round with a looming fear of another 1982-like scandal. Group G’s USA and Germany each had four points, and Portugal and Ghana with one. If Germany and USA draw their game, both would secure qualification regardless of the other game’s result. Thankfully, nothing controversial happened, and Germany won the game 1-0. But the World Cup still had some shocks for us. Perhaps the most ridiculous one was Luis Suarez’s third bite of his career, when he bit the Italian full-back Giorgio Chiellini, receiving a four-month long ban from any football-related activity. However, all that did not matter to the Algerians, who entered the history books as they qualified to the knockout stages after a draw and a convincing performance against Russia. Algerians and Arabs around the world celebrated, but what really mattered was what lay ahead of them. By some miracle, the Algerians and the Germans were placed head-to-head in the 54th 2014 World Cup Match. The Germans, however, are the actual favourites. As one of the most likely teams to win the World Cup, they have a side clogged with talent and strength. The likes of Philippe Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller will most likely cruise Germany through. Yet, the Germans were the favourites in 1964 and 1982 when they faced Algeria, and we all know what happened then.