World Cup 2014 best XI

July 24, 2014
World Cup 2014 best XI

Manuel Neuer, Germany

Other goalkeepers have made more spectacular saves, but Neuer’s all-round goalkeeping was by far the best in the tournament.

His performance against Algeria in the second round was remarkably proactive, and the type of display that genuinely might inspire the next generation of goalkeepers to play in a completely different way. He repeatedly swept well outside his penalty area, and on two occasions he wasn’t simply making interceptions or clearances, but instead getting stuck into 50:50 tackles.

When called upon to make saves, he could do that too – a double save from Paulinho against Brazil (albeit when the game was effectively over) was the highlight. Read more »

Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET): Gotze’s extra-time goal wins the World Cup

July 14, 2014
Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET): Gotze’s extra-time goal wins the World Cup

Germany won their fourth World Cup after victory over Argentina in a tense but enjoyable final.

Joachim Low’s team selection was compromised by the late withdrawal of Sami Khedira through injury. Christoph Kramer took his place – although he only lasted 30 minutes himself.

Alejandro Sabella’s side was unchanged from the semi-final against the Netherlands.

Both sides had promising moments in an even match – Argentina had the better chances before Mario Gotze’s late winner. Read more »

Argentina 0-0 Netherlands: Argentina through on penalties

July 10, 2014
Argentina 0-0 Netherlands: Argentina through on penalties

Sergio Romero was the hero after an extremely uneventful 120 minutes.

Alejandro Sabella brought back Marcos Rojo after suspension, while Enzo Perez deputised for the injured Angel di Maria.

Louis van Gaal was able to bring back Nigel de Jong after injury, meaning Daley Blind moved across to wing-back in place of Memphis Depay.

There was obviously great tension here, but not much happened – of the 62 games at this World Cup so far, this game featured the lowest shot rate, and the lowest percentage of touches in the opposition third. Read more »