And so it’s all over for another four years … Germany have re-established themselves as world football’s powerhouse and Lionel Messi was made to look ordinary for a change.
The World Cup in Brazil is being heralded as the greatest ever, delivering more than its fair share of goals, glory, surprises and controversy.
And while we could dwell on the negatives – we’re looking at you Suarez, Cameroon and Ghana – Ladbrokes News is focusing on the positives with our rundown of the top five moments of the tournament.
Holland 5 -1 Spain
Reigning champions Spain were supposed to be the only real threat from Europe, while the Dutch were largely expected to crumble on the big stage once again.
However, this couldn’t have been further from the truth when Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie combined to provide a huge and early shock by smashing La Roja for six – well, five!
The scoreline perhaps flattered the Dutch, with an ordinary first-half performance followed by a second period that saw everything they hit fly in, but a result like that was always going to hit the headlines and gave the Oranje the confidence that propelled them to a third-place finish.
James Rodriguez goal v Uruguay
Robbed of the Golden Ball to go along with his Golden Boot James Rodriguez was undoubtedly the star of the show in Brazil.
The Colombia youngster scored in every game he played and is worthy of a top five moments list in his own right.
His standout moment came against fellow South Americans Uruguay, however, with the Monaco man chesting down an innocuous Abel Aguilar header and smashing a volley on the turn with devastating effect, all while making it look like a kick-about in the park!
Tim Howard v Belgium
America’s aversion to “soccer” meant US stopper Tim Howard was a household name in England but a relative unknown in his homeland – that was until the second round match with Belgium.
The Everton number one made a record-breaking 15 saves, some of them outstanding, and very nearly took his side to a penalty shootout against top-rated European opposition.
A social media circus ensued, finally giving Howard the recognition he deserved Stateside – with the keeper even being offered the role of Secretary of Defence!
— Ellen DeGenres (@TheElIIenShow) July 2, 2014
Miroslav Klose’s record breaking goal
Ok. It wasn’t a great strike – in fact all of his World Cup goals have come from within the penalty area – but Klose’s close-range effort against Brazil will long go down in the tournament’s history.
The goal – which took two attempts to score – finally saw the German overtake Selecao legend Ronaldo as the World Cup Finals’ highest ever scorer and while many will mourn Ronaldo’s relegation to also-ran Klose’s tally is undeniable!
Brazil 1 – 7 Germany
With Thiago Silva suspended and Neymar injured hosts Brazil went into their semi-final with Germany as slight underdogs.
However, nothing could have prepared the watching world for what was to come as Germany made the Selecao look like a South American San Marino in a devastating first half of football that saw Die Mannschaft hit five goals without reply.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the 7-1 scoreline flattered Brazil with Mesut Ozil spurning a glorious opportunity to make it 8-0 before Oscar tapped in the consolation effort.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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