Geek Out: World Cup 2014 – End of Group Stage Recap

The Group Stage of the World Cup 2014 is now in the books; it had some amazing matches & some surprising upsets.  Here is my little rundown by Group:

Group A

World Cup 2014 Group A Final StandingsComing into the Group Stage: Brazil was ranked 3, Croatia was ranked 18, Mexico was ranked 20, & Cameroon was ranked 56.

As a fan of El Tri, this was one of the groups I had my eye on … that & of course Brazil.  The host country always gets a major boost from the home crowd, plus Brazil always plays exciting soccer.  Mexico barely made it to the World Cup, so I had tempered enthusiasm prior to the first match, but was inspired by the spectacular play of Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa (see my previous post).  The highlight for me was Mexico tying Brazil in their match, mostly because it seemed almost impossible before the game.  The ridiculously poor officiating during the Mexico vs Croatia match was deplorable.  The “missed”, or ignored in my opinion, hand ball by Croatia in its own box during the second half was absurd.  Brazil & Mexico advanced to the Round of 16 against the top 2 of Group B …

Group B

World Cup 2014 Group B Final Standings

Coming into the Group Stage: Spain was ranked 1 (as the defending World Cup champions), Chile was ranked 14, the Netherlands was ranked 15, & Australia was ranked 62.

A very tough group.  The expectation was that Spain would easily move on to the next stage, but it was out by the second week & that was one of the major upset surprises of this World Cup.  The Netherlands is traditionally a very strong team, so it wasn’t surprising to me when the Oranje moved on, but the 3 wins & 10 goals were surprising.  Chile played inspired soccer & therefore advanced.

Group C

World Cup 2014 Group C Final Standings

Coming into the Group Stage: Colombia was ranked 8, Greece was ranked 12, Cȏte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) was ranked 23, & Japan was ranked 46.

Colombia was highly ranked & played like it, scoring 9 goals & winning all three matches.  This group was the Colombia show.  Greece & Cȏte d’Ivoire had a nail-biter of a game, which made the rest of this group exciting to watch.

Group D

World Cup 2014 Group D Final Standings

Coming into the Group Stage: Uruguay was ranked 7, Italy was ranked 9, England was ranked 10, & Costa Rica was ranked 28.

Talk about a crazy surprise!  Going into this, Costa Rica was not even really mentioned as moving on.  All of the talk was about how strong both Italy & England were.  Well … that turned around rapidly & shockingly.  Costa Rica secured its spot in the Round of 16 after its second game?!  Making history while doing it.  Who says the little guys can’t beat the odds.  Uruguay had the now notorious biting incident, which marred the team’s overall solid performance.

Group E

World Cup 2014 Group E Final Standings

Coming into the Group Stage: Switzerland was ranked 6, France was ranked 17, Ecuador was ranked 26, & Honduras was ranked 33.

Holy cow! France played like beasts in this stage; definitely higher than the ranking suggested. Much like Colombia was the dominant powerhouse of its group, France clearly came to play. Switzerland had to win the third game against Honduras, but it was not too much of a battle as the Swiss scored three goals in that match.

Group F

World Cup 2014 Group F Final Standings

Coming into the Group Stage: Argentina was ranked 5, Bosnia-Herzegovina was ranked 21, Iran was ranked 43, & Nigeria was ranked 44.

The world was watching to see if Lionel MESSI could help elevate his team to the huge expectations for his country’s team.  He definitely  made the impact necessary for his team to advance with his four goals.  He is not only a great offensive threat, but he also is constantly double-teamed freeing up his teammates.  Nigeria had two amazing threats: the highest ranked goalie going in into the World Cup, Vincent ENYEAMA, & John Obi MIKEL at midfield, the Silver Ball winner from 2005, then 18 years-old. This was Bosnia-Herzegovina’s first World Cup & the young squad played very well, but were just outmatched.

Group H

World Cup 2014 Group H Final Standings

Coming into the Group Stage: Belgium was ranked 11, Russia was ranked 19, Algeria was ranked 22, & Korea Republic was ranked 57.

This was a very close group, with Belgium winning its three games by just one goal each time.  Very exciting gameplay, as the teams were all fairly well matched.  Algeria was a surprise, as it had only appeared in four World Cups prior to this.

Final Note:

I am so pleasantly surprised that goalies have had such great performances & that their play is being celebrated.  Yay goalies!


So, there you have it! A lot of my Group Stage thoughts.

 

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