8) The Flying Dutchman
As Netherlands exacted their revenge in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup finals against Spain in a thrashing 5-1 defeat, making the Spanish side look like a helpless Sunday league team, it was the Red Devil’s Robin Van Persie that scored one of the sexiest goals of the tournament. Van Persie did his best impression of the Flying Dutchman with this exceptionally elegant flying header, making a strong case that his hang-time could very well match that of Michael Jordan’s (Okay, maybe not, but it was pretty amazing nonetheless).
7) “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN”
Was the chant that echoed ubiquitously in support of Team USA, as enthusiastic American fans witnessed their team cap off one of their best performances of recent history. When the draw was made in December last year, Group G was justifiably dubbed “The Group of Death” and most people were quick to rule out USA as contenders for the next round. Jurgen Klinsmann led his side to a 2-1 victory over Ghana, a tie against Portugal and how about that beautifully executed free-kick routine against Belgium that could’ve easily ended up being an equalizer? Or Tim Howard’s heroic performance with his record-breaking 15 saves? Either way, Team USA’s performance has been one of the biggest shocks of the tournament.
— NOT SportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) July 1, 2014
7) Pepe The Pest
Portugal’s star center-back debatably cost Portugal their World Cup campaign, giving Thomas Muller a piece of his mind as he blatantly leaned over and head-butted him after a collision between the two and subsequently getting sent off with a red card, again reiterating how desperately this airhead needs anger management counselling. Not only did team morale run low after Pepe’s sending off, but it also made the team substantially weaker in it’s game against USA. Seriously, what were you thinking Pepe?!
5) TIMMMAYYY (Cahill)
Despite the Socceroo’s three losses and elimination from the World Cup this year, their valiant effort was commendable being stuck in a group with the likes of Chile, Netherlands and Spain. Tim Cahill’s phenomenal volley against a strong Netherlands side was so stunning that even Brazilian legend, Ronaldo, who knows a thing a two about scoring himself (Holding the joint-record for most goals scored in the World Cup), had something to say about it.
“It was the best goal of the World Cup and it’s going to go down in history as one of the most beautiful World Cup goals,” said Ronaldo at a FIFA press conference.
Check out this guy’s hilarious commentary on Cahill’s goal:
4) Manuel The Machine
Germany keeper Manuel Neuer is widely regarded to be one of the top keepers in the world today and his performance for Germany lately in the last few games has made an even stronger case for that title. His spectacular performance against Algeria resulted in an incredible 19 touches outside the box as he repeatedly terrorized Algerian attackers with his defensive presence, leading Germany past Algeria in the first stage of the knockout rounds. Neuer has pretty much doubled as Germany’s fifth defender, his heat map showing 21 out of 59 touches outside of the box and is also a big reason as to why they are still in the tournament. Also, did you see that one handed-swat to keep out what would’ve been Benzema’s equalizing shot for France in stoppage time? Dat reflex though!
Check out these two amazing highlights from Neuer so far:
3) Messi The Magician
The scenario: Argentina and Iran are neck and neck going into the 90th minute of the game with the score tied at 0-0, with the game in stoppage time and both teams desperately searching for an answer, Messi takes the ball to the right corner of the penalty area, holds it for a second, shakes to his left and curls the ball beautifully past Iran’s defensive wall and into the back of the net from 29 yards out. Messi seals the win and puts Argentina into the Round of 16.
What. A. Goal.
2) Chewy Suarez
After an impressive few games for Uruguay, punishing England and scoring six goals in six games, Suarez just HAD to screw up his world cup campaign somehow. Yes, taking a nice chunky bite out of Italian centerback Giorgo Chiellini’s shoulder while the two fought for position in the penalty area. Suarez earned himself a controversial four month ban from all football-related activity as well as being find 100,000 Swiss francs for the incident. Though the entire incident appears pretty grim, it has also lead to a plethora of funny pictures and memes poking fun at Suarez.
1) Call Me Rodriguez… James Rodriguez
Where do we start with this guy…He’s 22 years old, Colombia’s new pin-up boy and his stock as well as his reputation has rocketed since his extraordinary performance this year in Colombia’s World Cup campaign. The sky is the limit for this young player; with five goals in four games for Colombia this year, Rodriguez has no doubt been one of the most outstanding players of the tournament and the prodigy has established himself as one of the brightest young talents in the world. It was his amazing ball control, quick reactions and creativity has made him a fan favourite. And that volley… yes you know which one I’m talking about: that jaw-dropping, Rivaldo-esque volley. I have five words for you James Rodriguez: Take a F*king Bow Son.