The world cup is over and like football’s billions of fans worldwide, we are having quite a football hangover. The FIFA 2014 world cup is one of the most interesting world cup matches in history with shocking performances from less known football teams, early exits of football giants, to rising stars and fading superstars. For one last FIFA fix, we give you a recap of the highlights, the injuries, the players and what we learned from the 2014 FIFA Expats’ world cup.
Germany, a team that is 30% expat dominated the whole competition including an astounding 7-1 victory against the homecourt team Brazil in the semi-finals. One of Germany’s expat players, Miroslav Klose also broke records by scoring his 16th world cup goal, breaking the previous record by the retired Brazilian football star, Ronaldo de Lima and therefore becoming the world cup’s leading scorer of all time.
The month long spectacle had unexpected events such as the early exit of world cup favourites such Spain (the 2010 champions), Portugal, Italy and England. Of course with the exit of the favourites come the rise of the underdogs; the US advanced up to round of 16 before they were ultimately defeated by Belgium. Colombia, a notional team that has been unable to qualify since 1998, unexpectedly rose to the quarter finals and understated teams such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Ghana delivered performances beyond expectations.
The most notable matches in the round of 16 are the Colombia-Uruguay match where Colombia’s James Rodriguez, an expat in France, emerged as the new rising star of football, the Belgium-USA match where USA’s Tim Howard, an expat in England, broke the record for the most goals saved in a world cup match with 16 saves in one game.
The quarter finals’ match faced off the breakout star of the 2010 world cup, Brazil’s Neymar Jr. and Colombia’s 2014 breakout star James Rodriguez. It was also in this match that Neymar Jr. sustained a back injury that ultimately ended his time in this year’s world cup. Without one of their best flag carriers, Brazil faced Germany and ultimately lost with a heartbreaking score of 7-1. The Netherlands-Argentina match was decided through penalties with Argentina emerging as the winner. Germany prevailed 1-0 at the finals and concluded this year’s world cup as the undisputed champions.
There were a lot of injuries were sustained in this year’s FIFA world cup, some maybe more believable than others, but never the less, the players’ injuries definitely made headline news during the course of the world cup.
The most sensationalized injury incident was Luis Suarez’s four month ban from football following his infamous bite on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder during Uruguay’s match against Italy. The infamous incident has since been a popular joke worldwide, with tourists and fans even going as far as taking a photo with Luis Suarez’ poster for Adidas. Suarez and Chiellini were able to work things out pleasantly with a public apology and acceptance via twitter, but FIFA refused to shorten the ban against Suarez, delaying the announcement of his transfer from Liverpool to FC Barcelona.
Other notable injuries are Neymar Jr.’s vertebra fracture after Juan Zúñiga kneed him in the back before the end of Brazil’s match against Colombia. The injury sparked conspiracies mentioning the possibility of Neymar faking the injury to escape the humiliating loss against Germany.
Many other injuries are questioned by spectators leading to many jokes and memes about football players faking injuries.
The unexpected turn of events also meant that there were unexpected heroes that stepped out of the shadows and became global sensations.
Tim Howard, became the hero for all Americans after his record breaking saves in the match against Belgium where he saved 6 goals in one match. Like Howard, other team goalies took much of the spotlight and became internet sensations like Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa, an expat in France, became famous due to his striking resemblance to the famous TV star, How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor (a.k.a. Ted Mosby). If Howard and Ochoa became famous, Brazil’s goalie, Julio Cesar faced a roar of criticism over the Brazil-Germany match for allowing 7 goals under his watch. James Rodriguez became the star of FIFA 2014 even despite the world cup expat superstar, Lionel Messi ultimately winning the Golden Ball, Rodriguez won over the hearts of millions with his impressive skills and creativity, scoring 6 goals in 4 games. His boyish good looks also help the popularity of course.
What We Learned
Passion drives the body and mind; Football fans will go to great lengths to watch a game and show their team support. For expats in Asia or Australia, that means staying up till 4 in the morning and going to work exhausted for a month.
The majority of the best football players in the world are expats and this is because they follow the best opportunities presented to them in order to improve their skills, play on the best teams and provide better lives for their families. In these and many other aspects that we have shown over the past month with our player profiles, expats all over the world can really relate to these expat football superstars.
We hope you enjoyed our month long FIFA special. Stay tuned for more Expat blog specials in ExpatFinder.com
Reference images courtesy of:
Brazil World Cup 2014, FIFA Expats’ World Cup, Brazil World Cup Recap