The Road Home from Rio

Stand aside Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo the world stage is moving you out of the limelight and it’s time for a new generation of superstars to be thrust forward and have their names written into the history books.

Mario Götze and James Rodriguez have been by far the stand out individuals out the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and they have left Ronaldo and Messi trailing behind them in the shadows.
Now before all of you Messi lovers jump on my back saying how Messi was the stand out player for Argentina and without him they wouldn’t have made it out of the group stages. I understand that he did produce moments of magic and was key in getting his Argentinian side out of the group but throughout the tournament he wasn’t even the best Argentinian player, let alone the best player at the tournament.

Ángel di María, Sergio Romero and Javier Mascherano all gave everything they could to get to the Maracanã on the 13th of July and without them, it’s safe to assume that Argentina would never have even got out of their group.
With all of the controversy surrounding Messi and the golden ball award, there is always going to be online backlash, whether that be articles like this very one or very specific stats like Manuel Neuer completed 244 passes in the tournament and Messi completed 242… At the last four World Cup tournaments, every golden ball player did have a sponsorship deal with Adidas and even Diego Maradona criticised the decision.

“Messi? I would give him heaven if possible,” the 1986 World Cup winner said on his television show on Telesur. “But it’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.”


Argentina’s Lionel Messi vomits during the World Cup final against Germany (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

I can almost guarantee that everyone who talked about the World Cup final today mentioned how Messi failed to perform on the world stage. Everyone is neglecting the sheer brilliance of the German National Squad who have shone throughout the entirety of the tournament, not as individuals but as a complete, efficient unit.

Only a few weeks ago half of the squad were playing for Bayern Munich as they were humbled by a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Ronaldo and Real Madrid in the champions league semi final. They came away from that game hurting and they knew they had something to prove. 22 year old Götze, 24 year old Müller, 24 year old Kroos and 25 year old Boateng ran the show at the World Cup and all of them played in that 4-0 home defeat to Madrid, all of them have at least another 4 major international tournaments to play in their careers and, all of them will be hungry for more silverware. It just shows the sheer determination that runs through the veins of the entire German squad.

The German’s have something that no other country has, a squad full of world beaters. Every single one of the German squad could easily get into the biggest clubs in the world and start every game, week in, week out. Argentina doesn’t have that, Brazil have a few big players but when you pair them with Fred and Jo then things just become comical. Even the Netherlands, their star defender of the tournament plays for Aston Villa. Not that there’s anything wrong with Aston Villa, but they aren’t exactly competing for any major silverware… Queue the Manchester United jokes.

So did the best team win? 110% yes. As soon as Holland brushed aside the Spanish on the second night out in the tournament, the German knew exactly what they had to do. When Müller completed his hat trick against the Portuguese in their first game, Fifa should’ve been etching their name onto the trophy and into the history books.
England never really stood a chance, in the first tournament that nobody had any expectations. (we all had expectations, but the media decided to hide all of them)
France played well but they never shone as world beaters.
Columbia, Chile & surprisingly the United States were the most entertaining teams to watch and were definitely the soul of the entire tournament. Even though none of them made through the Semi-Finals all of the neutrals had began to favour them in their games. James Rodriguez showed that he is one of the best young players in the world. New Arsenal signing Alexi Sanchez showed the world what he was capable of when he isn’t overshadowed by the ego’s of Messi and Neymar and Tim Howard showed the world that the Americans were no longer a joke when it come to football.


The World Cup is always full of incredible scenes of both individual skill and amazing team efforts. The 2014 World Cup was no different and many sporting commentators will be saying that is was one of the greats. Even though I have seen less world cups than I can count on one hand, I agree that from the referee’s spray, to the 2 verses of the Brazilian national anthem and from Van Persie’s diving header to the 113th minute Götze winner, this World Cup has been by far the best in my eyes. Russia certainly has a lot to live up to.

My Team of the tournament.

228912   Neuer

318688   Rojo

299442   Boateng

216715   Vlaar

319432   Blind

269058   Rodriguez

182372   Mascherano

275162   Kroos

228627   Sanchez

321722   Müller



Let me know if you agree in the comments or on twitter @SJNeve




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