Ray North’s World Cup Hangover

by Ray_North on July 14, 2014

imagesThere’s people on the blog – they think it’s all over….. Yep, after a month of wonderful football, crushing disappointment, thrills, spills and colour, the World Cup is over and German have been crowned kings of the world.

This World Cup has been amazing and, mostly, for all the right reasons – ok, there’s been the odd iffy bit of refereeing, a few dodgy dives (not that much actually) and Luis Suarez’s gnash on Chiellini shoulder, but, overwhelmingly, the world cup has been positive.

For me, a few things have stood out – first was the willingness of teams to attack, especially in the early stages, where traditionally teams have been cagey, in this World Cup there was an acceptance that the best way to win was to score more goals than the opposition – this saw teams like Costa Rica, Colombia and Netherlands thrive.

Second, was the standard of goalkeeping – I can’t remember any howlers from the custodians on show, instead there were however a number of outstanding performances from keepers, with Mexico’s Ochoye’s wonderful performances against Brazil, Tim Howard’s similarly outstanding match against Belgium and Neuer who was amazing against everyone, as was Kaylor Navas of Costa Rica, all catching the eye.

Another pleasing aspect of the World Cup was that, on the whole, the great players put in great performances – Neymar thrilled before being kicked out of the tournament against Colombia, Messi was similarly outstanding in the first three matches before starting to tire, Ronaldo scored a couple of cracking goals despite being clearly crocked, and even Suarez’s match winning performance against England was memorable for the right reasons.

This was also the World Cup where a couple of teams really surprised us – Algeria were magnificent throughout and were very unlucky to go out against the Germans, Costa Rica were also fantastic, managing to cruise through the group of death and sweeping away the Greeks before giving the Dutch a real game, Chile and Colombia were also superb, and perhaps, if they’d had a little more confidence in themselves either of those teams could have beaten the Brazilians.l

The Brazilians themselves were passionate, at times competent but, in the end, exposed. They get full marks for the way in which they belted out their national anthem, but absolutely zero for their defending which was woeful and their attacking which was prehistoric and reliant upon two of the worst players ever to don the yellow of Brazil – Hulk and Fred. I thought that their spirit would see them through to the final, but I hadn’t anticipated that they would actually forget how to play in the semi- the way in which Germany hammered them will remain as one of the most astonishing performances ever.

Germany were worthy winners – their midfield of Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Kadheira and Ozil worked wonderful whilst the tireless Muller and superb Lahm complimented them with great effect – the right team won. images-1

For me, my player of the tournament is James Rodriguez – who, I’m glad to say, was one of those I tipped to watch before the kick-off.

My flop of the tournament – Lionel Messi I know, he was given the best player accolade by FIFA – but for me he failed in the big games, looked unfit and drifted out of the play when his team needed him most – Maradona, I’m afraid, he isn’t.

Ray North’s Team of the Tournament
1. Francisco Ochoa (Mexico), Neuer is probably better but, Ochoa’s performance against Brazil was superb.

2. Philip Lahm (Germany)
3. Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
4. Mario Yepes (Colombia) A true warrior battled hard throughout
5. Mats Hummels (Germany) though pushed close by Boateng who was immense in the final

6. Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
7. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
8. Wesley Schneijder (Holland)

9. Thomas Muller (Germany)
10. James Rodriguez (Colombia)
11. Arjen Robben (Holland)

A final word about England – well, they did a bit rubbish really.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eddie Kaye July 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Great article Ray, a fair round up. Pity you had to spoil it at the end by mentioning England…if Alf Ramsay and Bobby Robson had been alive to see that shower, they would have turned in their graves!

I can’t even disagree with the 11 of the tournament…

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Alx w July 14, 2014 at 6:35 pm

If the world cup showed anything it was that playing as a team with no ‘egos’ was the key to success. England take note. Even in the final the team who had decided to plum for the star player to make something happen were defeated by the collective will, although argentina did play as a team, their strategy for victory did seem heavily dependent on messi conjuring something up.

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