Week 26: Hero – World Cup 2014 (well at least the players, the teams, the fans and the matches…)

by George_East on June 30, 2014

hero_iconThis Week’s Hero of the Week Award goes to all those participating in the current World Cup in Brazil

This is not an Award for Sepp Blatter or the bunch of corrupt cronies who run FIFA.  The international body that runs the beautiful game is a total disgrace and it is heartening that everytime that Blatter’s ugly uninterested mug appears on the big screen at matches from the VIP box he is roundly booed.

We also have a good deal of sympathy with those in Brazil who are protesting against the tournament – FIFA’s rules make it (like the Olympics which Brazil will host in 2016) a tax free affair, meaning that very few of the benefits of the World Cup will trickle down to the poor in one of the world’s most unequal countries.

But this is an Award for the utterly engrossing and exciting tournament that Brazil has delivered.  The best World Cup since 1982, in my view; others have gone further and called it the best World Cup ever.

Maybe the consequence of hosting the game in its spiritual home has been that players have wanted to play thrilling attacking football.  Maybe it is because no team is flawless that the games have been so wonderful to watch.   Whether it is the remarkable march of Los Ticos of Costa Rica or the extraordinary display tonight of the ultimately defeated Algerians against Germany – the games have had an unpredictable quality that has been compelling.

There have been amazing goals:  Robin Van Persie’s swan dive of a header against the Portuguese, Lionel Messi’s breathtaking free kick against Nigeria, James Rodriguez’s incredible volley against Uruguay for three.   There has been goalkeeping that even Gordon Banks would die for – from the out of contract Mexican Guillermo Ochoa though Germany’s Manuel Neuer keeping the Germans in the tournament against Algeria to Julio Cesar’s penalty shoot out heroics for the hosts in a horrendously tense penalty shoot out against Chile

Teams have given it their all to the last second of full time and beyond – causing Mexican hearts to break like the Dutch  turning a 1-0 deficit at 88 minutes into a 2-1 win when the whistle blew.

There have already been more goals than there was in the entire tournament in South Africa.  Brazil 2014 has turned out to be one of those World Cups that we always hope for but which, if truth be told, never seem to happen anymore.    What has been on display has more than made up for yet another early and disappointing England exit (and yes even they did show promise against Italy in the first game).

All in all it has been thrilling stuff.  And we haven’t even got to the quarter finals yet….

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