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Top 10 moments of Brazil 2014

15 July 2014, 10:55
A month-long feast of football drew to a close in dramatic fashion on Sunday as Germany sealed it in extra-time courtesy of Mario Goetze's sublime finish. They were crowned deserved winners as Messi's Argentina looked on.
SWC 2014 has been a thrilling tournament and I have picked out some of the more memorable moments that took place over the last few weeks.

1. Neymar Mania
The host nation pinned their hopes on their young superstar and he delivered in an otherwise underwhelming team. That was until his tournament was cruelly cut short by a bad challenge from Colombian Juan Zuniga.

2. Dutch Courage
The Netherlands team were expected to play second fiddle to Spain in a tough Group B. The match between the two 2010 finalists ended 5-1 to the Oranje as Robben ran riot and Van Persie did his 'flying Dutchmen' routine, scoring one of the goals of the competition.

3. African disappointment
With Bafana Bafana absent, it was left to the 5 African qualifiers to advance pride for the continent. Cameroon were distracted by a bonus row, Ghana had in-fighting in the squad and Ivory Coast's team of stars flattered to deceive. Algeria and Nigeria made it to the next round before being eliminated by the eventual finalists, Germany and Argentina respectively.

4. James Rodriguez
A star is born. 6 goals, a few assists and some eye-catching performances led the young Colombian to being the breakout star of the World Cup. 
Golden Boot secured and the interest of many big European clubs.

5. Luis Suarez
Missed the Uruguay opener due to injury, turned in a match-winning display versus England then had himself banned due to a biting incident versus Italy.
Certainly knows how to stay in the headlines doesn't he?

6. The Tim Howard show
The Americans garnered plenty of new supporters at home and abroad due to the courageous displays against more fancied opponents. There was to be no Hollywood ending but goalkeeper, Tim Howard's, record-breaking performance in keeping the Belgian's at bay till extra-time set the tournament alight. 

7. The Krul experiment
Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal waited till the last few seconds of extra-time to swap keepers for the penalty shoot-out versus Costa Rica. The move ensured progress from the quarter finals but still shocked many observers as substitute stopper Tim Krul emerged the hero.

8. Germany 7 Brazil 1 
The massacre at the Mineirao. The two powerhouses of the beautiful game met in a semi-final clash and no-one could have anticipated what happened next. 
Dante and the rest of his backline's performance was more comedy than divine as Julio Cesar was left betrayed by his defence. 
The Germans ran amok and the football world looked on in disbelief.

9. Miroslav Klose
The big German scored his record-breaking 16th World Cup goal in his fourth successive semi-final since 2002. A winner's medal is just reward for a legend of the global stage.

10. Mario Goetze
Lionel Messi may have questionably won the Golden Ball but Super Mario grabbed the headlines with his winner in extra-time to secure a fourth triumph for Germany and a first since re-unification.

Goodbye Brazil, bring on Russia 2018.
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