World Cup 2014: Talking points

World Cup 2014: Talking points

The 2014 World Cup witnessed a chain of interesting stories and developments that kept media and fans engaged both on and off the field. From small teams giving heavy-weights run for their money, to the dreams of some players come crashing down, to new technology this edition had it all.

Here follows a few interesting events from just-concluded FIFA World Cup:

Surprise packets: The World Cup isn’t just about the big teams trampling on their poor cousins; it is also about the smaller teams punching above their weight and Costa Rica provided plenty of that till the final week of the tournament.

Drama: Brazil losing by six goals, Spain getting done in by the Netherlands or Ghana demanding money from their association to continue to take part... this edition kept the reporters busy with its never ending subplots. Of course, Brazilian players’ stream of tears generated plenty of stories as well, with their psychologist also in the thick of things.

Goalline technology: Geoff Hurst may be laughing but goalline technology finally made its long-awaited debut and it was a good beginning.

Vanishing spray: The defensive wall inching ahead at free-kicks always posed problems. But the referees were armed with a very important weapon this time... a canister with a foam which marked out clearly where the wall should be. Less bickering and more foam from now on please...

Louis van Gaal: He was the man with the Midas touch, well almost. He made changes that worked fantastically well and then, he substituted his number one goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen for Tim Krul in the extra-time and Krul repaid him by keeping out Costa Rica in the penalty shootout.

Neymar: The golden boy of Brazilian football took them to the semifinals but his sojourn was cruelly cut short by Colombia’s Camilo Zuniga with a tackle ‘that shook the world’.

Diving: The ugly diving debate reared its head again as prime simulator Arjen Robben kept going down way too easily much to the fury of the purists.

Goals: The opening round of the competition saw goals flying in from all angles much to the delight of the neutrals, who were starved of them in 2010.

Refereeing: Right from the first match when Yuichi Nishimura failed to pull up Neymar against Croatia for an elbow, the tone was set for very lenient officiating. Reds became yellows, while yellows stayed in the pocket. Many fans even wondered whether some of the officials left the cards back in the locker room.

Lionel Messi: So near, yet so far for the Argentine genius. After dragging the side into the final, Messi botched it during the biggest football match of his career. There will be many debates, again, on whether he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Diego Maradona.  

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