With the 2014 World Cup returning to Brazil, the country had much to prove since it had suffered two consecutive quarterfinal exits in the preceding competitions.
The Brazilians were eager to abandon Dunga’s defensive play to return to their natural attacking style of football. Brazil went further in the 2014 World Cup but couldn’t beat Germany in the semifinals.
Despite the hosts’ unexpected exit, the 2014 World Cup did not disappoint. During the tournament, players found the back of the net a whopping 171 times, matching the 1998 record in France.
The first sign that this World Cup would have a record-breaking number of goals was the scarcity of draws and goalless matches in the group stage. The first draw of the tournament happened in the thirteenth match of the competition.
In no other World Cup since 1930 had players scored so consistently. The group stage alone produced a whopping 136 goals.
Intrigues Of The 2014 World Cup
Many would argue that the 2014 World Cup was the best one since the 1982 iteration. The tournament was chock-full of controversy, drama, brilliance, and heartbreak.
The tournament saw several stars emerge from obscurity, underwhelming stars, chilling upsets, and nail-biting final minutes.
Let’s recap some of the most memorable events.
Spain’s Unthinkable Loss At The 2014 World Cup
The first week of the 2014 World Cup brought about the biggest upset. Spain’s unexpected demolition was the talk of football nerds for years to come.
Spain entered the competition after bagging the Euro in 2008 and 2012, with the 2010 World Cup between them.
However, many pundits pointed out that the squad was aging, and the managers had not done enough to groom replacements.
Souring things further was their choice to stick to the familiar ‘tiki-taka’ strategy—a product of FC Barcelona. Bayern Munich had developed the antidote to the tactic in 2013, but Spain didn’t get the memo.
The result was a double defeat by the Netherlands and Chile, taking Spain out in the first round.
Suarez Goes Back To His Bitey Ways
Fans were left with their jaws on the floor when Suarez bit Chiellini in their final group stage match.
Uruguay won 1-0, but Suarez’s (not so) unexpected bite overshadowed the game’s outcome.
Asian Teams Go Sour At 2014 World Cup
The performance of Asian teams was rather shocking at the 2014 World Cup.
In the 12 games played by Japan, Iran, Korea, and Australia, the teams got just three points (all draws).
Japan and Korea went home embarrassed after failing to advance from relatively weak groups.
2014 World Cup Group of Death
Most people would have agreed that Group G was the group of death.
The United States had its work cut out after meeting Germany and Portugal in the same group. Their chances got infinitely better after Germany destroyed Portugal 4-0.
Although the U.S. and Portugal tied in points, the U.S. proceeded thanks to a superior goal difference.
African Teams Implode
In almost every World Cup, you see an African team on the brink of falling apart due to payment disputes and mismanagement.
Cameroon was the first in the 2014 World Cup to suffer the same fate.
They refused to board their plane to Brazil until they got their bonuses. After showing up in brazil, they lost all three of their games.
Ghana one-upped them when they sent two of their star players—Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari— home one day before meeting Portugal in their final match.
There were allegations of physical and verbal assault in their camp because of a pay dispute.
2014 World Cup Second Team
Columbia was considered a dark horse in the 2014 World Cup before they lost Radamel Falcao to a knee injury.
In hindsight, we can only wonder how much further Falcao would have taken them.
Columbia didn’t look like they missed their star player as they comfortably sailed through the group stages and eliminated Uruguay.
Costa Rica’s Unexpected Triumph
Costa Rica was in a tough group consisting of Italy, England, and Ireland. Most people did not expect them to go beyond the group stage.
They had a staggering 50-1 odd of winning the group.
Costa Rica stunned everyone when they beat Uruguay 3-1 in their opening match.
They proved they were not one-hit wonders by outplaying many fancied teams and conceding few goals.
Goalkeepers Shine At 2014 World Cup
Many wins in the 2014 World Cup could not have been possible without the stellar performance of the men between the sticks.
Picking the golden glove winner was no cake-walk, with the likes of Costa Rica’s Navas avoiding conceding a goal against Italy and England. Navas also saved his team in the penalty shootout with Greece.
In the battle of the goalkeepers, Manuel Neuer boasted four clean sheets, the same as Sergio Romero of Argentina.
There was also outrage after Guillermo Ochoa and Tim Howard were left out of the Golden Glove nominees.
2014 World Cup Jaw-Dropping Exit
Brazil’s chance to wipe out the Maracanazo memories from 1950, where they lost in the final, came in the 2014 World Cup.
They had spent years building themselves for the 2014 tournament. Unbelievably, they were routed by Germany in a 7-1 defeat.
Germany scored four of the goals within six minutes. The tale of national redemption for Brazil turned into one of humiliation in the 2014 World Cup.
New Top Goal Scorer Emerges
The drama surrounding Germany’s win over Brazil almost overshadowed Miloslav Klose’s fete of beating Ronaldo’s 15 World Cup goals.
Klose consistently beat the competition to join Germany’s 2014 World Cup squad. His achievements were the fruits of longevity and making full use of one’s talents.
Round Up Of 2014 World Cup
The World Cup was thoroughly entertaining to watch. Thanks to the torrent of goals, unexpected upsets, controversy, and drama, nobody was left out of the fun.
Though most people expected Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben, or James Rodriguez to bag the Golden Ball, the then four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, ran away with it.
Ultimately, Germany got the best present to take back home, winning the 2014 World Cup trophy.
Fuleco The Mascot
Eventually named Fuleco, and destined to become one of the stars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the Official Mascot resulted from an initial tender process involving six Brazilian design agencies.
These six agencies were responsible for creating 47 different design proposals, which were then analyzed, taking into account factors such as the representation of Brazil, intellectual property, and the feasibility of the mascot as a live costume.
A shortlist of six designs was then further analyzed with focus group research carried out within the Official Mascot’s primary target group – children aged 5-12 years.
The three-banded Brazilian armadillo was very popular in all stages of analysis and was therefore chosen to be the Official Mascot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The choice of colors in his design provided a clear link to the Brazilian national flag and referred to three of Brazil’s strongest features of life.
The green shorts represent the lush tropical landscape, the yellow body tones illustrated the sunny climate and beautiful beaches, and the blue tints in the shell portray the sky and clear waters.
After a three-month voting campaign and 1.7 million votes, the name Fuleco – a fusion of the words “futebol” and “ecologia” – was chosen by the Brazilian public and finally announced as the official name.
Fuleco quickly became one of the most high-profile ambassadors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with a 97% awareness recorded in the Brazilian market before the tournament – rising to 99% in the post-tournament research, an unprecedented figure for a FIFA World Cup Mascot.
Fuleco was present in all 64 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and in many FIFA Fan Fests across Brazil, entertaining the fans on and off the pitch.
He was the ambassador voice of the Waste Management campaign in all 12 stadia, which collected 416 tonnes of waste. Fuleco has also been very active on social media since he was first introduced to the world, reaching over 1.3 million online fans.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Mascot was one of the strongest selling assets of FIFA’s Licensing Programme, covering a great range of product categories loved by kids and adults alike.
Fuleco had several TV appearances in Brazil in the build-up to the tournament and reached international TV audiences when he joined the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012 award show and the Final Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup arm in arm with the Brazilian football legends Marta and Bebeto.
He made many friends on the way, from fans from all over the world – he traveled through 90 countries along with the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola – to famous footballers, music artists, and top models.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!