Group Stage Winners and Losers
2014 World Cup has been nothing short of excellent so far, bringing us 48 matches to date that have been mostly exciting, goal-laden and full of offensive football
The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been nothing short of excellent so far, bringing us 48 matches to date that have been mostly exciting, goal-laden and full of offensive football.
Luckily for Brazil, Neymar appears to be well up to the challenge, running riot with four goals already and being comfortably the team's stand-out player.
The Barcelona man is revelling in his role, as he noted:
"When you are living a dream and achieving a goal you have had since you were a child, you do not feel any pressure. I am doing what I have dreamed of, so I want to help my team-mates by scoring goals, defending, challenging for the ball, whatever’s needed to get us the win."
Cameroon might have come into the tournament with hopes of having an impact, but they were nothing short of terrible.
A ragged and indisciplined side in terms of their shape, plan of attack and ability to link play through the middle of the pitch, Cameroon were dominated by Mexico, completely fell apart against Croatia and blown out by Brazil.
Add into that Alex Song's petulant red card and the fact they leave with no points, and it's been an horrendous tournament for them.
They finished as top scorers in the group stage, the only team to reach 10 goals.
Netherlands were handed a tough group draw but passed with flying colours by winning all three matches. Van Gaal's emphasis on early balls from wide and counter-attacks were perfect against Spain as the Dutch demolished the reigning holders, while they also saw off the challenge of Chile.
The World Cup holders lost their first two matches, looking a pale imitation of their formerly successful selves.
Their dominance was always going to come to an end at some point, but the manner and completeness of how it came about was tough to watch. They'll build again, but we've seen the last of the likes of Xavi, David Villa and perhaps more.
With 90 minutes on the clock, they were level with Greece, needing a point that would have seen them finish second in the group—but disaster struck largely of their own making. Ivory Coast didn't maintain possession of the ball well at all late on, did not ever look in control and made odd final substitutions when they needed to protect the defence.
World Cup 2014