2014 World Cup: Week One...
With the first week of the 2014 World Cup in the books, it is time for a quick recap of the biggest storylines, the best games, the breakout stars and, of course, John Brooks’ goal.
After what was one of the most entertaining first weeks in World Cup history, there is no shortage of topics to be discussed.
Best moment, United States: John Brooks
Of all the players in the 2014 World Cup, John Brooks may have been the least likely to score at all, much less score a game winner. But in the United States’ first game against their nemesis Ghana (the team that knocked them out of the last two World Cups) Brooks came through will a game-winning header off of a corner kick in the final minute of the game. Clint Dempsey’s opening goal was more technically impressive, but Brooks’ will be the one everyone remembers.
Best moment, rest of the world: The Brazilian national anthem
There were countless memorable moments in this first week, from Switzerland’s last second goal against Ecuador to Pablo Armero and Colombia dancing their way into our hearts, but I have to go with the singing of the Brazilian national anthem before the opening game. The emotion on the faces of the Brazilian players combined with the sheer joy of the Brazilian fans made for a special moment.
Biggest upset: The demise of Spain
After one of the most dominant runs in international soccer history, which included the 2010 World Cup title and two European championships, the reign of “La Roja” has finally come to an abrupt, painful ending. The players looked exhausted and out of sync, but never like the Spain we were used to seeing.
Best goal: Robin Van Persie
With apologies to Australia’s Tim Cahill, the goal of the World Cup so far has to be Van Persie’s flying header from nearly outside the box in the Netherlands’ thrashing of Spain. Van Persie has to be one of the favorites to win the Golden Boot award for the tournament’s leading scorer.
Breakout star: Joel Campbell, Costa Rica
Every World Cup, a young, unheralded prospect has a breakout tournament. Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell is this year’s top candidate after notching a goal and an assist in Costa Rica’s upset of 2010 semi-finalist Uruguay.
Best performance: Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico
Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa came into the World Cup as without a club team, and he will be leaving with a lucrative contract from a top flight team. Ochoa’s performance against Brazil, holding them to zero goals thanks to countless acrobatic saves, was one to remember.
Look for a recap of week two’s events next Friday on Lumination.