The frenzy of the finals is over. Germany, deservedly in my view, won the recently concluded FIFA World Cup 2014 played in Brazil. The first thing I did as we approached the dates for the World Cup dates was to find out the difference in the time zones between Brazil and India, where I live. I watched most of the matches on TV, they being played, as per Indian Standard Time, at 7.30 p.m. ( which was fine), 9.30 p.m. ( which was fine, too) and 1.30 a.m. (which was fine, depending upon who was playing!).From childhood, I, like many others of my generation in India, had this craze for supporting Brazil. We fondly remembered the days of Pele and how Brazil won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. This time, we looked forward to the exploits of a hugely talented young man, whom everyone spoke so highly of, Neymar. He wasn’t the runaway success we hoped he would be, but I am sure the next time around he would do much better. He was sadly injured in the match against Colombia and had to miss the crucial semi-finals.
Most of my predictions came true for the quarter-finals. I thought Costa Rica would pull off an upset win over Netherlands and they almost did it. The Dutch won only after the nail-biting suspense of a penalty shoot out. In the semi-finals, no one expected Germany to swamp Brazil the way they did. A score of 7-1 left the host nation shattered. Actually the game was won in the first 29 minutes when the Germans had already slammed in 5 goals.
In the finals, we saw a game worthy of the finals. Argentina who beat Netherlands to reach the finals fought hard and the game saw no result at the end of the usual 90 minutes. In the extra time, the 113th minute saw young Goetze score a brilliant game to put Germany ahead. They have now won the World Cup for the fourth time, after wins in 1954, 1974 and 1990.
We were thoroughly entertained over the past few weeks. These memories of the World Cup stay in my mind: some brilliant goal keeping by the Mexican goal keeper Ochoa; a splendid header by van Persie for the Dutch; Messi not being able to score when it mattered the most for Argentina and of course the doughty Schweinsteiger fighting hard till the end in the finals. Football fans got their money’s worth this year when it came to the goal keeping!
Philipp Lahm and his team, as I said deservedly, won the World Cup 2014. Others had brilliant individual players like Rooney, Neymar, and Messi but in the end, Germany had the winning team.