World Cup 2014: A Football Fan’s Dream

Well, as we all know, the Germans ended their 24 year drought and finally got themselves a well-deserved World Cup. Aside from their matches against Ghana and Algeria they were the most consistently good team of the tournament, and who alive today will ever forget seeing them put 7 past Brazil in their own backyard? Of course part of that was Brazil’s own mental self-destruction, but Germany were ruthless and took every chance Brazil gave them. For me I would have given Player of the Tournament to Thomas Muller, who not only scored 5 goals but assisted in 3 more. Leo Messi, the actual winner of Player of the Tournament, was important for Argentina to be sure, but for me Muller did more against supposedly tougher opposition. This German team is scary as hell, and they will be for years to come.

Messi had a chance to crown himself as the Greatest of All Time in this World Cup, but he fell just short. He likely has only one shot left as well, depending on if he stays fit. Of course he’s still one of the best of all time and his efforts were at-times heroic for Argentina, but in my opinion he needs more help. Higuain missed his golden chance, Aguero was missing most of the match, and Di Maria was unfortunately injured after a good tournament. But, someone else has to step up for Argentina and help Messi if they want to get him the World Cup that I think he deserves at this point. 

England of course were miserable, but I hope our young players took a lot away from this tournament in terms of experience. We did look more creative than we have in years going forward, but our back line was atrocious this time around. Anyway, I didn’t let England’s general shittyness get me down too much, because we as a world witnessed a tournament for the history books. There were 171 goals scored at this World Cup, which is tied with France 1998 as the highest-scoring World Cup of all time. I love it. Miroslav Klose became the all-time leading scorer at the World Cup with 16 goals, and Tim Howard coincidentally set a record for saves in a World Cup with 16 against Belgium. We also saw the arrival of a superstar in Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez, who is rumored to be signing for Real Madrid for an obscene amount of money imminently. 

I could go on for days about all the story lines here. I’ve even managed to restrain myself from slamming Rat Face Luis Suarez or complaining about some of the terrible pundits ESPN dragged on screen (cough Lalas cough). Sitting here in the USA and from a very limited perspective though, this World Cup seemed to go off fairly well. There were some reports of riots on the first day of the tournament and sporadically throughout, but considering what we thought could have happened it seemed to be relatively peaceful. People in Brazil get easily distracted by quality football, just like the rest of us avid watchers do. After all, the Final was the most-watched event in the history of television both in the USA and worldwide. 

I see what people in Brazil are pissed off about though. The news story about a freeway overpass collapsing indicates that the $11 billion the government spent on this World Cup could have been better spent elsewhere. Along with better roads they need better schools and better economic opportunities so people can get out of the favelas. Also, there is now a massive stadium in the middle of the city of Manaus with no serious plans for future use. Wasteful, really. I question the choice of Manaus as a host city partly for the stadium reason, also the fact that it’s incredibly hot, and the fact that its in the middle of the god damn Amazon. It’s a city that’s only accessible by boat or plane. Perfect place to hold four international sporting events, right? 

But that’s FIFA for you: take the logical option and throw it out the window because someone has given you money to do so. This is exactly how Qatar 2022 came about, another FIFA fiasco that is probably better to be talked about at a different time. 

I think this sport (football, futbol, soccer, whatever) is on the verge of taking off here, if it hasn’t already. The Americans were freaking out during all four of their matches, and that keeper Howard is a beast (which of course he is, he used to play for Manchester United). Now they just need the outfield players of equal talent at their respective positions. I think this World Cup interest is a good springboard for the game, but I worry that this tide of enthusiasm will dissipate once the NFL, college football, and MLB playoffs start. Jurgen Klinsmann said the other day that the MLS has to improve its level of skill if America is going to improve talent-wise. I agree and take it further. I think the MLS has to improve its level of skill so that more people will watch it and keep the interest going between major tournaments.

I encourage all Americans to watch the Copa America in 2015, then I encourage you to go to a Copa America match in 2016 because USA will be hosting it! Messi, Neymar, James Rodriguez, and loads of other football superstars play in this tournament every year. Think of it as a World Cup but only for countries from the Americas. No European, African, or Asian teams in this one. USA, Mexico, and probably Costa Rica will line up against teams like Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. Should be freakin’ sweet. 

Right, before I go, a public service announcement. One thing that did disappoint me about the Germans winning was not the fault of the Germans at all. I didn’t like how Americans (and probably English people too) reverted to Nazi and Hitler jokes every time the Germans were playing, both on the internet and in real life. I’ve mentioned this before on Facebook but I think those kinds of jokes are not only offensive they’re also comedically shitty jokes. I’m not saying that Nazis and Hitler don’t deserve to be made fun of, but to make Nazi jokes about modern Germans just shows how little people know about post-war and post-unification Germany. This is probably the most anti-Nazi country in Europe now, and moreover its an incredibly progressive one in many different ways. These trite jokes also show how lazy people are. They can’t even be bothered to do enough research about Germany to make a relevant reference. I realize internet trolls will say anything these days and you can’t take them seriously, but it still sucks that people are so ignorant. 

Anyway, I’ll leave you with my Team of the Tournament (4-2-3-1 formation) and individual player awards:

GK – Manuel Neuer (GER) (Don’t hate me for not picking Howard. Neuer saved Germany’s ass repeatedly this tournament)

RB – Phillip Lahm (GER)

CB – Javier Mascherano (ARG)

CB – Matts Hummels (GER)

LB – Pablo Zabaleta (ARG)

CDM – Sami Khedira (GER)

CDM – Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER)

LAM – Arjen Robben (NED)

CAM – James Rodriguez (COL)

RAM – Thomas Muller (GER)

CF – Robin Van Persie (NED)

Subs: Howard, Tiago Silva (BRA), Howedes (GER), Messi, Paul Pogba (FRA), Angel di Maria (ARG)

Player of the Tournament – Thomas Muller

Young Player of the Tournament – Paul Pogba (FRA) lol I actually agree with FIFA on this one.

Goal of the tournament:1. James Rodriguez vs. Uruguay 2. Tim Cahill (AUS) vs. Netherlands