One month and one day ago, soccer fans across the globe were collectively wondering what might happen in the coming month. Flash forward to today, and there is no more wondering left to do, just reflecting. And what a Cup it was to reflect on.
In the semifinals, to everyone’s shock, Germany eviscerated an out-manned Brazil squad 7-1, setting numerous records in the process. In the second game, the Netherlands once again had its game come down to penalties, only this time Argentina advanced thanks to a couple of saves from maligned keeper Sergio Aguero.
The results left us with a much-anticipated final between the best team in the world (Germany) and the best player in the world (Leo Messi). Not without plenty of chances, Argentina went down swinging in extra time 1-0 to the robotic German squad and its bleeding leader Bastian Schweinsteiger. Mario Gotze’s game-winner will be embedded forever in soccer lore.
But the final game won’t be the only, or even first, thing I will remember about the 2014 World Cup. I will remember James Rodriguez turning into a star before our eyes. I will remember Guillermo Ochoa, Keylor Navas and Tim Howard turning in goalkeeping performances of a lifetime. I will remember Robin Van Persie’s flying header and Tim Cahill’s goal against Spain.
I will remember the fall of Tiki-taka and Germany’s ascension into the top spot. I will remember Neymar dancing around defenders until they had to carry him (and the hopes of a nation) off on a stretcher. I will remember Arjen Robben slashing towards the centerfield and David Luiz covering the entire field. I will remember Luis Suarez’s antics, both good and bad.
I will remember Tim Krul, John Brooks, Miroslav Klose and Marouane Fellaini. I will remember Clint Dempsey scoring in the opening seconds against Ghana and Cristiano Ronaldo sending in the perfect cross in the final seconds against the U.S. I will remember Leo Messi, dominating in every way up until he ran into the buzz saw that was Germany. And, of course, I will remember Gotze’s goal.
I cannot wait until 2018.