After one of the most incredible World Cups of all time, Jack Cairns takes a look at the five things we can learn from the tournament.
1. James Rodriquez is good. Really good.
When the Colombian signed for Monaco for around €40 million many people thought the French club were mad but over the last month in Brazil he’s proven he’s worth it and more.
With 12 assists in Ligue 1 last year the 22-year-old arrived in Brazil as Colombia’s main hope after Falcao’s injury and he more than delivered. Six goals and two assists in five matches helped him on his way to the Golden Shoe (narrowly ahead of Thomas Müller) and he was a shoo-in for Player of the Tournament before Messi was given it.
How did Messi manage it? He seemed shocked himself.
James is my Golden Ball winner. He’s now linked with a move to Real Madrid and with Monaco’s average attendance languishing below Wigan’s, it’s probably for the best. The whole world deserves to see more of James.
2. Magic Spray should come as standard.
Your team has a free kick in the last minute but the wall is moving forward and the referee hasn’t noticed. The ball ricochets off the wall and the final whistle is blown. Your team loses.
We’ve all felt the misery but we might not have to for much longer, the World Cup in Brazil thrust the spray on the world and now it seems like a no brainer. The wall can’t move forward, the ball can’t move forward and your team may just score that last minute free kick. Coming to Graham Poll’s belt soon*.
3. Soccer is here to stay? Probably not.
Everyone loved the Americans at this World Cup, they get behind their team like no other nation and for the first time in a long time they were actually good.
Right-back DeAndre Yedlin (Most American name since Brad Friedel?) was a joy to watch as he bombed up and down the touchline and Tim Howard’s goalkeeping display against Belgium was as good as you’ll ever see. It all ended in extra time, like it did for the passionate Swiss, the plucky Mexicans (injury time is pretty much extra time) and the Algerians who were out for revenge.
It seems passion can only take you so far in the World Cup; it’s great to watch while it lasts though. It’s unlikely though that this will lead to the MLS being the next footballing superpower so soccer, we’ll see you in 2018. It’s been a blast.
Where do we even start with Brazil? Two truly humiliating defeats exposed the countries worst generation for exactly what they were. Without Neymar they looked like a team who didn’t deserve to make it out of the group stage and David Luiz’s defending was almost non-existent.
His horror show against Cameroon was quickly forgotten after he scored one of the goal’s of the tournament against Cameroon. His performances in the last two games left Brazil conceding ten and PSG scrambling for their receipt. For me though, Hulk is the main problem. Without a competitive international goal the Zenit St Petersburg winger is almost obsessed with doing it himself and offers very little to the team.
The Brazilians never looked like a team and they were found out against the greatest team in Brazil this summer. Scolari is left to consider the future and the world is left to consider where Brazil will go next. A Brazilian resurgence in 2018? I can’t see it.
5. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail
“Move over Maradona, Messi is here.”
That was my draft title to point five; I thought Argentina would do it. I was wrong. In the end the team who prepared the most won. The best team won. This preparation didn’t just start when Germany built their own training camp in Brazil, it started after defeat in 2002 when Germany ripped up their plan and rebuilt from the ground.
With Joachim Löw in charge this generation has truly flourished. They have world-beaters in every position and even a couple on the bench. In truth we were all foolish to overlook them. An honourable mention has to go to Miroslav Klose who broke Ronaldo’s record although it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thomas Müller go onto to break that over the next eight years. Germany are rampant and for the next few years, Germany may well be dominant.
Jack Cairns, Pundit Arena.