10. The Destruction of Spain
I sort of knew there expiration date was coming, you could see it. Few team's can sustain and do something as amazing as they have but as the tiki-taka tactic kept getting figured out time and time again it was only a matter of time. Even sweeter than the fall, having it be at the hands of the Dutch who got their revenge for the 2010 World Cup Final! That is a storyline!
9. Evolutionary Tactics
Tactics can often be reactive. A team reacting to an opponents desire to posses, defend or attack. This World Cup was a bit different, few team's wanted to let the other team dictate play, in fact most wanted to assert themselves on the match early and often. We a saw the death of tiki-taka and the birth of a German proactivity that oddly looks nothing like Pep's Bayern...what happens next!?
8. Prandelli's Pride
He said thou shall play attacking football, instead he should have said thou shall not qualify! I have never been his biggest fan but to have idealism win over common sense was painful. Worse, when he needed to attack he seemed scared to unleash what Italy can do. Barely getting by England, his tactics weakened instead of strengthen. Candreva was his best on match day one only to be relegated to the bench. Barzagli to slow, Chiellini wrong for the left, Sirigu earning a second start and Prandelli does nothing.
7. Mexico draws Brazil
In hindsight, this Brazil team was all show and no substance. But when Ochoa played the game of his life and Mexico held them to a 0-0 draw it showed a chink in Brazil's aluminum foil armor while giving the World a glimpse of what Mexico is capable of. A team left for dead in the qualifiers they clawed their way to second place in the Group and played with their hearts.
Every World Cup gives you a game or two to remember. The sort of game you save on your DVR and watch again on a rainy day. I watched Netherlands v Ivory Coast and Portugal v Mexico in 2006 over and over again. I watched Italy v Germany and USA v Ghana time and time again as well. This Ghana v Germany game was by and large my favorite. Four goals in forty five minutes the Black Stars were fearless of their opponent and while they were hard done in the Group they put on a performance to be proud of.
5. The United State's Mens National Team
The little engine that could scored goals when no one expected they would. They won matches and put on memorable performances. Dempsey's shock early goal, Jone's equalizers from 20 meters, Green's goal, and Howard's magnum opus. While nearly an entire Nation was enthralled in a sport that some still believe will not catch on, the US made memories with every minute of every match.
Something about this guy just makes me smile. At times against Germany it appeared it was his flank and no one else's a dominant performance front and back for most of the tournament. The fullback position has changed with time, but the first time in a while I can say this guy reminds me of the good old days.
3. Messi Face
He won the golden ball and his face was priceless. Did he deserve it? No. You could have given it to Mascherano, Muller or Lahm instead it went to popular opinion. Four goals he scored, not a single one in the knock out rounds, the loss was not on him, that much needs to be said. He gave his all, it was his Coach who left him without a proper partner in the second half.
2. The Destruction of Brazil
They were soft for the entire tournament, easy wins and generous calls. To lose Thiago Silva in the semi-final was the death bell. Many cried the loss of Neymar but it was the defense that needed the most help and when the team came out with David Luiz and Dante at CB Germany was licking it's chops. What ensued was the single worst shellacking at the World Cup at home no less!!!! To be a fan of Italian football you have two truths, you root for the Azzurri and you dislike Brazil...now you see the point!
I have never in my life seen a goalkeeper subbed in prior to the PK's in a World Cup. A cold goalie coming in to do something that is nearly impossible as it is!? Louis Van Gaal thought otherwise and while Tim Krul's EPL record of 0-20 in PK saves would have told you otherwise, Van Gaal saw something. Truth be told in my year's of Coaching I considered bringing in a bigger more gangly goalie if matches went to PKs, but I never had the need, Van Gaal did. In strolled the giant who not only saved PKs but talked trash like it was his job! it was a magic moment that Van Gaal oddly didn't repeat one match later, maybe he thought lightening couldn't strike twice!
Again congrats to Germany, feel free to share your favorite moment!