World Cup: Recap and Predictions

Abu Khan, Correspondent

Amusement was all that was going through my head while watching the semifinal match between Brazil and Germany.  Wow! This World Cup has been one of the most interesting ones that I have ever seen. From Uruguayan player Luis Suarez getting a four-month ban from FIFA for biting another player to the Brazilian team losing in the semifinal match to Germany one to seven, this World Cup has provided entertainment to everyone that has been watching.

Let’s start from the beginning. The reigning champs—Spain—lost in the group stage. This shocked most of the world, considering that the team was projected to make it pretty far in this year’s World Cup. England also had a very, very poor performance this year as the country didn’t win a single game in the group stage and got eliminated. Both teams have had very successful runs at previous World Cups, but this year they just failed to deliver.

Although many decorated teams had very early exits, some fresh teams displayed very surprising results. For instance, when Iran played Argentina in the group stage, Iran held Argentina scoreless for almost the whole game until the final moments when Argentinian player Lionel Messi scored. This last shot denied Iran what would have been a monumental upset. The Bosnia-Herzegovina team also made its mark in its first ever World Cup appearance. The team beat Iran for its first World Cup win. Although they failed to make it past the group stage, they put up a very strong fight against both Nigeria and Argentina.

To add to the excitement of the World Cup, there were some very intense matches, one of them being Chile vs. Brazil. Brazil, the host team, ran into a slight bump in the road when they played Chile in the Round of 16. For the first 90 minutes of the match the Chileans were resilient and held Brazil scoreless. After 30 minutes of extra time, the Brazilian team still hadn’t scored as Chile fought hard and defended well. Then came the penalty shootout. Brazil’s goalie, Julio Cesar, had two great saves that helped Brazil move on to the next round.

Another intense match-up was between the Netherlands and Costa Rica in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The Netherlands team looked to add to its already impressive history with a win to advance into the semifinals, while Costa Rica looked to improve the country’s best World Cup performance yet with a win in the quarterfinals. The match was in a deadlock the whole time, even in extra time. During the penalties, everything changed. The Netherlands brought out a new goalie, Tim Krul, just for the shootout. That was the best move the Netherlands made. Krul really shined during the shootout and defended well, allowing the Netherlands to advance into the semis.

The referees in this year had a successful performance—for the most part. The one call many people are still talking about was during the Mexico vs. Netherlands game. At the end of regulation time and into stoppage time, the score was tied up with each team scoring one goal. The Netherlands was awarded a penalty shot after Mexico’s Rafael Marquez “tripped” the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben. Robben made the penalty kick lifting the Netherlands up on top and helping the team reach the quarterfinals. Many people think that Robben did not deserve the penalty kick because Marquez did not intentionally trip him, but FIFA is backing up the referees decision.

Nobody thought Brazil was ever going to lose in such a bad manner against Germany. In fact, millions of people legitimately thought that Brazil was going to win the World Cup. But after star Brazilian player Neymar got injured in the previous game, leading him to drop out of the World Cup, everything went downhill for the team. During their semifinal match against Germany, the Brazilians looked like they had no idea what they were doing. In fact, it got so bad that in a period of five minutes, Germany scored three times. It was a field day for the German side. Striker Miroslav Klose scored twice which helped him surpass Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo as the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer.

On Sunday it will all be decided. The 2014 FIFA World Cup champion will be crowned. The finals will be played between Germany and Argentina. Many people have high hopes for Argentina winning it all, but I beg to differ. I think Germany has what it takes to win. What Germany has over Argentina is a team. Argentina may have one star player that has the third highest number of goals scored in this World Cup (Messi), but Germany has two players that are in the top three highest scorers in World Cup history. Germany is more developed as a team and plays like a team. There is not just one player who does all the work; it is the whole team and Germany has an impressive record to back the country up.