13
Jul

World Cup 2014 Final: Reactions to Germany’s fourth title

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Germany won a thrilling World Cup final against Argentina with a late goal in extra time, becoming the first European country to win it in the Americas. It was a fitting end to a wonderful tournament, with more late drama giving way to one final moment of individual brilliance, this time coming off the boot of Mario Goetze.

Relive this great match in our very last World Cup social recap:

A shock just minutes before the game: Germany’s Sami Khedira couldn’t go after suffering a calf injury in warmups. On came Christoph Kramer for only his second international start. In a World Cup final. No big deal.

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Gonzalo Higuain wasted the first huge chance of the game. Wide open with only Manuel Neuer to beat, Higuain woefully sent his effort wide of the post. He’ll come to rue that one.

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12
Jul

World Cup Day 24: Best tweets from Brazil vs. Netherlands

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Oh, the dreaded third-place playoff match.

Dismissed by many and craved by few, the “consolation final” actually took on more importance this time around. It offered Brazil a chance to pick up the remnants of their dignity which was so brutally smashed into pieces by Germany in Belo Horizonte. An opportunity to apply some balm and gauze to the nation’s wound, and finish the World Cup with their heads held high.

It wasn’t to be. Instead, the Netherlands poured gasoline on the fire, beating the hosts 3-0. Brazil’s second capitulation in a week’s time — the first time they’ve lost consecutive home matches since 1940 — seemed all but a forgone conclusion by thetime Thiago Silva took down Arjen Robben in the second minute for a Dutch penalty (Silva was more than lucky not to be sent off, though he probably would have preferred watching the rest from the locker room).

If you have schadenfreude or no heart and would like to recount Brazil’s latest disaster, here are the best tweets from Saturday’s third-place match:

2nd minute:  Robin van Persie converts the penalty; Brazil’s defense picks up where it left off on Tuesday:

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16th minute: David Luiz with a “clearing” header back into the center of the eighteen. Daley Blind is there. 2-0 to the “bad guys.”

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Look away Brazil fans! Some halftime stats:

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Second half: Brazil should be awarded a penalty after a clear foul on Oscar. Instead, Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi shows Oscar a yellow card for diving! 

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FT: Georginio Wijnaldum scores a third for the Dutch in injury time. Shortly after the referee puts Brazil out of their World Cup misery:

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Hey, we’ve gotta use Arsenal jokes while we still can!

Images provided by Getty and Action.

9
Jul

World Cup Day 23: Netherlands vs. Argentina

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In case you haven’t heard, the 2014 World Cup final is set: Germany vs. Argentina. Or, Lionel Messi vs. THE MACHINE, as Jon Champion so eloquently put it.

Mmm, tasty!

One thing immediately became clear: Just 24 hours after Germany handed Brazil its most humiliating defeat of all time, the hosts couldn’t jump on Germany’s bandwagon quick enough. Funny how this game goes sometimes:

Speaking of, Wednesday’s semifinal (or should I say, zzzzzz-emifinal) between Argentina and the Netherlands was NOTHING like Germany’s rout.

All you really need to know is that the Dutch and Albiceleste combined for five shots on goal for the entire 90 minutes and extra-time, the same number of goals Germany scored in 19 minutes of the first half on Tuesday. Yeah…

So how did we get to this World Cup final rematch of 1990 and 1986, the “rubber match” if you will between Germany and Argentina? Check out the best tweets:

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The big story of the first half was Javier Mascherano visibly seeing stars after a head-to-head collision, then being allowed to play on. Yet another concussion controversy in soccer. Ho-hum:

Somehow, that was literally the only talking point of the first half

Half time!

Alas, the second 45 minutes were much like the first:

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8
Jul

World Cup Day 22: Brazil vs. Germany

Beer 7, Caipirinha 1. 

It’s safe to say none of us have ever seen anything like what happened in Belo Horizonte. We went into the first World Cup semifinal thinking Brazil would give Germany a good fight without its injured superstar Neymar and suspended captain Thiago Silva, yet it wasn’t even Klose

Instead of our usual segment here on the Blog, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” we’re just going to track Germany’s humiliation of the hosts in one timeline. After all, what we witnessed on Tuesday can be described as good, bad and ugly all at once!

So without further ado, here are the top Tweets from Germany absolving their 2002 demons and then some:

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First, Thomas Muller delivered again to give Germany a dream start, by tapping in from their first corner kick of the match. It’s Muller’s fifth goal of the tournament and tenth over two World Cups. He’s 24 years old, mind you. 

Little did we know what was about to transpire:

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Twelve minutes later, Miroslav Klose made it 2-0 for the Germans. With that goal, Klose eclipsed the great Ronaldo to stand alone as the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer:

And then, all of a sudden, the floodgates opened…

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5
Jul

World Cup Day 21: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Netherlands. Argentina. Brazil. Germany.

These four juggernauts, who’ve reached 21 World Cup finals between them and won 10 of the 19 previous titles, make up the semifinal field in Brazil. Even without the injured Neymar in the fold, this has all the makings to be one of the greatest “final fours” in World Cup history.

Oh, and we’ve got an absolute cracker of a final promised for next Sunday.

Getting excited? Us too.

So, how did we get here? Skim through Saturday’s top storylines in our latest World Cup social media roundup:

THE GOOD
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First up on Saturday was Lionel Messi and the Albiceleste taking on Belgium, a rematch of the 1986 semifinals. All tournament long it’s been Messi who carried his side from win to win (his back must be killing him!), but on this day he got a little help from his friend Gonzalo Higuain:

Too soon, Men in Blazers, too soon…

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After Argentina’s narrow win, it was time for a goalkeeper duel (sorry, truel) between the Netherlands and Costa Rica. Actually, it was mostly just 120 minutes of Keylor Navas making save after save, rescuing the Ticos to their second straight penalty shootout …

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30
Jun

World Cup Day 18: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Two European heavyweights knocked the last two African sides out of the tournament on Monday. First, France danced past valiant Nigeria with two late goals in the second half. A couple hours later, Germany needed extra-time versus Algeria but advanced to their 16th straight World Cup quarterfinal, a remarkable streak to say the least:

What stood out from Monday’s action, on and off the field? We’ve got you covered here in our daily World Cup social roundup:

THE GOOD

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We already knew Germany played with a false No. 9 in Brazil, but how about Manuel Neuer as a false No.1?

Germany’s “sweeper keeper” stole the show on Monday with his repeated heroics as a fullback in disguise. According to Opta, Neuer had 19 touches outside the box, frustrating Algeria with timely tackles and making past German “liberos” such as Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthäus proud:

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28
Jun

World Cup Day 16: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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The Round of 16 opened play on Saturday, and what a thrilling start to the knockout stage it proved to be.

First, the entire host nation was on pins and needles as Brazil squeaked by a dangerous Chile side on penalties:

Two hours later, a new King James was crowned as Colombia’s James (Ha-Mes) Rodriguez lifted his side to its first-ever World Cup quarterfinal appearance:

What else made waves on social media as we embarked on the business end of the World Cup? Find out in our latest edition of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:”

THE GOOD

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Brazil surviving on penalties assured us that the World Cup would indeed be able to continue on past the Round of 16, which is good (Seriously, could you imagine if the Selecao crashed out this early? Mayhem).

Even better, Julio Cesar emerged as the unlikely hero. Yes, the Julio Cesar of Toronto FC, who was discarded by Queens Park Rangers. Oh, the beauty of the World Cup!

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25
Jun

World Cup Day 14: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

First thing’s first: make sure you all print out the sick note courtesy of USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann so that you can watch the big game on Thursday. Do it! 

Got it? Okay, cool. Now let’s see what happened Wednesday in another edition of World Cup: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:

THE GOOD

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Did you need any more proof that this is Lionel Messi’s tournament? You got it on Wednesday.

Messi left it late before winning Argentina’s first two games with a pair of superb goals, but he wasted no time against Nigeria. La Pulga went for pure power scoring his first in the third minute, then produced a signature free kick for his second before halftime.

And because Nigeria also had their scoring boots on, the World Cup of Goals continued:

Quiet, Rio:

Even Iran scored on Wednesday, which is significant because…

In the late games, Xherdan Shaqiri lit it up for Switzerland.

"Shaq Attack" scored the 50th hat trick in World Cup history and the second of 2014 after Thomas Muller, his Bayern Munich teammate. 

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23
Jun

World Cup Day 12: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Monday kicked off the final round of group stage games in Brazil, which meant we all had to suddenly change the way we watch the World Cup.

Gone are the marvelous triple-headers that distracted us from our work occupied us throughout each day. Arrived is carpal tunnel syndrome, a side-effect from the frantic remote-clicking that comes with the trouble of trying to watch two games simultaneously (If you’re not one of the lucky ones with two-monitor set-ups at home or in the office). Still worth it.

Though we have slightly less football to watch, Monday certainly didn’t disappoint. Here is “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” from Day 12:

THE GOOD

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With apologies to Neymar, Monday was all about one person: Mexico coach Miguel Herrera. If you’re not a fan of this contagiously passionate and charming, triple-chinned man, you most likely don’t have a soul.

Herrera, for those who don’t recall, became El Tri’s fourth manager in the span of just six weeks last October, after his three predecessors combined to put Mexico on the brink of failing to even qualify for this summer’s extravaganza.

Herrera stepped in and helped secure El Tri’s ticket to Brazil in a playoff against New Zealand, and the team has never looked back since. On Monday, Herrera led his country to its sixth straight World Cup knockout stage, fist-pumping and player-hugging and shouting all the way. It was glorious. There is no discussion he is the most exciting manager in all of sports, today:

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If you needed any more reason to love Herrera, this is what he looked like as a player for El Tri:

We can all count ourselves lucky that Mexico remains in the tournament.

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22
Jun

USA vs Portugal: As it happened on Twitter

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Oh dear, USA! This is how agonizingly close we came from locking up a place in the Round of 16 on Sunday:

Second-half goals from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey had the red, white and blue in line for their first-ever comeback win at a World Cup. But if this tournament has taught us anything, it’s that no lead is safe. Ever. And so perhaps it was fitting - however cruel - that Silvestre Valera brought the USA back down to earth with a goal on the very last meaningful play of the game. You didn’t expect progress from the “Group of Death” to be easy, did you?

In place of our traditional The Good/Bad/Ugly segment, let’s sift through the ups and downs from yet another emotionally draining day in the #WorldCup:

Hours before the match, Samsung showed us what happens when marketers don’t do their research:

Whoops!

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