World Cup Fever: III

As we reach this World Cup’s denouement, the question hangs in the air – what will be its defining story? The first German triumph since 1990, when the country stood on the verge of reunification? Or the first Argentinian triumph since the glory of 1986, with current superstar Lionel Messi taking up the mantle of the legendary Maradona? Apart from either of those scenarios, Brazil 2014 will of course be remembered for the spectacular capitulation of the hosts to Germany in the semi-final, having lost their star player (and for the Netherlands brushing them aside to secure 3rd place with almost equal ease last night), for its delightfully bountiful glut of goals especially in the early stages, for the antics of a brilliantly gifted, Barcelona bound Uruguayan with vampiric tendencies, and for the group stage flops of European footballing powers Spain (the ‘death’ of tiki-taka?), Italy, England and Portugal. I hope that Costa Rica’s heroics – reaching the quarters and taking the Netherlands all the way to penalties there, and never looking like minnows though firmly cast in that role – will also not be forgotten; nor Chile’s often scintillating football on their way to the knock-out stages.
On the whole, England disappointment aside, it’s been heady stuff. I just hope that the final bucks the trend of World Cup Finals in recent times (well, I guess France – Italy in 2006 was pretty good, to be fair), and that, with Germany facing off against Argentina, we are treated to the best one since Maradona and co. saw off the Deutschen in Mexico all those years ago. Bring it on!

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