The World Cup 2014 in Brazil has ended and it brought out all kind of emotions from the world audience. We witnessed some truly amazing performances, be it from an individual player or a team.
There are some moments that immediately spring to mind when we think of this tournament, like Van Persie’s header, Tim Cahill’s thundering volley, that Ochoa save against Neymar and quite a few performances that took us by surprise – the rise of Costa Rica and the fall of Spain and the hosts – Brazil.
The top speed was reached by a defender
But what else did we learn from this awesome tournament? Well for one thing – the world’s best defenders are fast. When you look at the giants like Hummels, Varane and Vlaar and some ‘veterans’ like Van Buyten, Srna and Maicon, you probably wouldn’t think of them as some speedy merchants but it seems like you should. Every player mentioned reached the top speed of at least 31 km/h, while the top speed of the tournament was reached by another defender, Junior Diaz of Costa Rica. The left fullback who also provided the assist for the goal against Italy was clocked at astonishing 33,8 km/h according to FIFA documents. He is 30 years old.
Most sprints were made by Bedoya and Özil
The other stat that stood out is the amount of sprints players make in a game. Attackers like Robben, Müller and Sanchez who consistently caused trouble in the opposition’s defence, created space and made themselves available for their teammates with darting runs at top speed, they all made around 50 sprints every game and often lead their team in this category. The absolute hero of this category though is a fairly unknown Alejandro Bedoya, USA midfielder who made an incredible 88 sprints in 113 minutes against Belgium in the Round of 16. The most sprints made in 90 minutes were done by a player who was often criticized in this tournament for his seemingly lethargic play – Mesut Özil of Germany with 68 against Brazil. This speaks volumes about how Germany won that famous match, now quite fittingly called as the Mineirazo, with an overall dominant performance of every player on their team and with their arguably most creative player making the highest number of sprints.
An what can be said about two of the World’s best players? Cristiano Ronaldo took a lot of shots – 3 more than Robben for example, who played 4 games more – which speaks for his ability to get into shooting positions which he mostly created for himself (free kick attempts are included) but overall his performance was pretty disappointing which could be said for the whole Portugal team. Messi, on the other hand, won the player of the tournament award.
Why did Messi win the MVP award?
While he may seem a little underwhelming at times, he created the most chances in this tournament (23), scored 4 goals out of Argentina’s eight and created the other two (we’re counting the own goal against Bosnia), while only one was scored with him off the pitch. The most amazing feat in his carrying of the team is that he did all this by running less than any other player in his position (be it forward or attacking midfielder) which can tell a lot about Argentina’s strategy and reliance on their captain in attack while he was allowed to save his strength in defense.
Germany was more than amazing
The World Cup winner is Germany and you could say deservedly so, their World Cup campaign right from the qualification stages was nothing short of brilliant, their record stands at: 14 wins, 2 draws and 0 losses with a goal difference of 53:14 and more than 3 goals scored per game. This is a perfect vindication for the way the country revolutionized their upbringing of footballing youth and their previous endeavours in the biggest tournaments where they were just a few inches short of winning.
Klose put his name in the first place among legends
As for the heroes of the tournament you can’t go past the now legendary Miroslav Klose, written in history as the highest goalscorer of the World Cup tournaments of all times with 16 goals, the young James Rodriguez who was the best goalscorer this tournament with 6 goals and the team performance of Costa Rica who won the hearts of many supporters all around the world. We can’t wait for 2018!