11. It’s possible to be a World Cup ‘find’ having been part of a €45m transfer 12 months earlier
That’s right, chaps. According to the expert pundits, largely Lee Dixon and Ian Wright, ITV have to offer, James Rodriguez has been the ‘find’ of this World Cup. Normally, a find is a player who plays in an obscure country and for an obscure nation, not one who has played in the Champions League, been involved in a multi-million pound transfer and plays for the nation ranked 8th in the world before the tournament got underway.
Not to belittle Rodriguez’s performance at the World Cup at all, which is absolutely outstanding and worthy as any other of winning the Golden Ball, but surely former pros who are paid to talk about football were aware that this lad from Monaco was quite good at kicking a ball around before June 2014?
12. It’s possible to do well at the World Cup with a Nottingham Forest reject full-back and an under performing Cardiff City centre-mid at centre back.
There was talk of Chile being a dark horse before the start of the tournament, but some were sceptical given their lack of height and options at the back. The 5’7 Gary Medel, a centre midfielder who failed to live up to his billing at Cardiff and the more reasonably sized Gonzalo Jara, the full-back a free agent having been released by Forest, were part of a back three that also contained Francisco Silva, also naturally a midfielder.
But, somehow, it worked. It wasn’t always pretty, they came under the cosh for a period against Australia when 2-1 up and it appeared only a matter of time before they would concede again, but they offered enough resistance to cling on and impressed in the rest of the meaningful games.
Going forward, were few where questioning them pre-tournament, Chile were fantastic. Although helped by Alexis Sanchez’s x-factor, their attacking players worked superbly well together, culminating in the 2-0 win over Spain. They also performed well in the 1-1 draw with Brazil, aiding the excellent tempo of that last 16 clash, while the makeshift defence stood firm.
Just don’t let the full-back take the decisive penalty in a shoot-out. It won’t end well.
13. Honduras watch videos of 1960/70s Leeds on a daily basis and pray to Lord Don Revie
Winless, pointless and scorer of just one goal; Honduras didn’t exactly set the World Cup alight. In fact, they attempted to stamp out any fire the opposition tried to create. As long as it wasn’t your team on the end of it, the Hondurans’ robust challenges were fantastic to watch.
And the Hondurans couldn’t reach such heights of thuggery without their daily watching of Billy Bremner and co. kicking lumps out of anything that wasn’t wearing a Leeds shirt.
Like a few other teams at the World Cup, Honduras are also very religious, praying to the leader, Don Revie. Led by Wilson Palacios, the Hondurans did him proud.
14. There are few things better in life than football that kicks off at 11pm
For those of us who reject the notion of sleep, football between the hours of 11pm and 1am was an absolute treat. Instead of that time being dedicated to re-runs of semi-humorous panel shows on Dave and Football Manager frustration, we were given the gift of live World Cup games.
Whilst the sensible, and the employed, slept, the rest of us got to enjoy fantastic contests such as Ghana 1-2 USA and Cameroon 0-4 Croatia whilst laughing on Twitter about our heroic achievements to stay up for such mouthwatering contests.
In fact, there was much sadness as the final 11pm kick-off, USA 2-2 Portugal, came to a close. The excitement of that game, with a last minute equaliser from Portugal, was a fitting end to 11 glorious late nights.
15. Wearing two different coloured boots is a crime more serious than biting
In the same game that Luis Suarez gave Giorgio Chiellini a light peck on the shoulder, a bigger crime was ignored, committed by the so-called ‘victim’. Chiellini, a robust Italian defender, had a different coloured boot on each foot. Lock him up, and his fellow multi-boot perpetrators, and throw away the key.
16. The mind games involved in penalty shoot-outs make them all the more enjoyable
There was great a deal of faux outrage as Tim Krul was thrown on in place of Jasper Cillessen before the Netherlands’ penalty shoot-out win over Costa Rica and then preceded to play games with the oppositions’ penalty takers. He grabbed the ball before they could, he told them were they were going to hit their spot kick and then saved them. Twitter and co. cried foul play, whilst I sat on my sofa thoroughly enjoying Krul’s work.
Mind games, especially in that high pressure situation, are part of football. If you get syked out, it’s your own fault, not the fault of the player playing tricks on you. Viva Tim Krul.
17. Ghoochannejhad is more than just a comedy character
If you ignore the three glorious chances he missed, the way he stood off Messi to give the Argentine space to score the goal that condemned Iran to a cruel defeat and that his goal was nothing more than a tap-in, Reza Ghoochannejhad had a fairly decent World Cup.
Okay, that’s almost certainly being a little harsh. Ghoochannejhad, spurred on by support from both Iranians and Charlton fans, exceeded expectations out in Brazil. He worked incredibly hard, gave defences, include Argentina’s, a difficult time and became the first Football League player to ever score a goal at the World Cup.
He might well have had more success, especially given those missed chances, but for a man whose potential appearance at a World Cup left many in hysterics, he didn’t too badly at all.
If we can get him on the weights, stop him from going to ground so easily and in general get him suited to English football, we might have a half decent player on our hands. Might.
18. The Home Office are at fault for Charlton’s relegation from the Premier League
Before the tournament began, I jokingly suggested Christian Bolanos was a player worth looking out for. It turns out my tongue-in-cheek prediction wasn’t that unrealistic. The winger was one of the surprise packages of the tournament, playing a huge role in helping Costa Rica to the quarter-finals.
He proved to be a hard working and tricky customer out on the left, while his delivery, both in open play and from set-pieces, constantly created chances for the CONCACAF side.
If only he hadn’t been denied a work permit in 2006, Charlton would still be a Premier League team. Bloody Home Office.
19. The suicide rate among football hipsters has increased dramatically
- Greece were Greece. In fact, they were probably a bit Greecier than Greece.
- Belgium were sluggish
- Mr T. Taka is currently in intensive care in a Spanish hospital
- Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo have retired from international football
- Chile and Colombia were beaten by the Worst Brazil Team Evertm
A team that operate with three at the back finishing third has just about healed some wounds.