The 10 most shocking moments of the 2014 World Cup

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Bites, shocks and humiliations – here are the most bizarre moments of the tournament

In a World Cup that was arguably the greatest of all time there has been a large spectrum of moments that have lit up the tournament. From fantastic goals to incredible assists to brilliant saves to exceptional team performances, the 2014 World Cup has has been everything we expected and more.

However it has been the unexpected moments that will define this tournament for years to come. The unpredictability of matches has sent the excitement levels through the roof and set this World Cup apart from all others. The following are the moments that surprised us the most, from the unbelievable to the sublime to the downright hideous. These are the 10 most shocking moments of the 2014 World Cup.

10) England couldn’t beat anyone

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In a polar opposite to four years ago, the Three Lions went to Brazil without the expectancy of the entire English nation on their shoulders. With a team that was a mixture of youth and experience – albeit lacking world class players – many thought that a quarter final place would be a good return. Others felt that simply getting out of a tough group including Italy and Uruguay would be an achievement. In true England style though, a mixture of poor performances and bad luck led to them being eliminated after just two matches. The dead rubber match against Costa Rica proved little consolation – a dull game finished 0-0 meaning England finished bottom of the group and went home without even winning a match.

9) USA actually DO care about soccer

If the USA win the World Cup within the next 20 years then this tournament will be regarded as the one where their rise began, as the team did the nation proud and Americans fully embraced a sport that is nowhere near as loved in the US as it should be. After getting out of the group of death by beating Ghana, drawing against Portugal and getting narrowly beaten by Germany, the Americans marched on to the last 16 where they came up against a strong Belgian side. By this point football euphoria (the round ball kind) had exploded across the States and even Barack Obama called the national team to show his support. They were defeated 2-1 after extra time against the Belgians but gave a truly heroic performance which included no less than 15 saves from goalkeeper Tim Howard. When the Americans focus on ‘soccer’ as much as they do their other major sports they will dominate for years.

8) Algeria reach the last 16

Before this tournament started, few people could name an Algerian player let alone justify the belief that they would reach the last 16 for the first time in their history. However this is exactly what they did. A draw against Russia and an excellent 4-2 defeat of South Korea saw the Algerians drawn against the mighty Germany in round two. The crushing German victory many predicted failed to materialise and after ninety minutes the teams were still deadlocked and it went into extra time. In the end the Algerians couldn’t quite hold on and were beaten by two goals to one. They went home as heroes though and were given a huge parade when they arrived in Algiers by thousands of green, white and red supporters.

7) The Brazilian boy wonder is broken

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Neymar was without doubt the poster boy of this World Cup and in the end simply too much faith was placed on the Barcelona wonder kid. After scoring four important goals for Brazil and looking like their only hope of winning the tournament, it all ended in tears with Juan Zuniga’s unorthodox challenge on the 22-year-old. Would Brazil have gone on to win the tournament if Neymar had remained fit? The answer is no, but the World Cup lost a shining light with his injury and was never quite the same.

6) Off key Song elbows Mandzukic

In a truly stupid moment that had fans perplexed around the world Alex Song entered the World Cup hall of infamy with his unprovoked assault on Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic. With Mandzukic running away from him Song decided that the best form of defence would be to attack albeit with a well placed elbow jab. Worse was to follow as after the game it was revealed that match fixing may have been part of the reasoning behind the action. Nothing has been proven and hopefully it is not true but the Cameroon man certainly has a lot to answer for.

5) Van Gaal’s master switch

A World Cup first. With only a couple of minutes remaining of extra time in Holland’s quarter final match against Costa Rica, manager Louis van Gaal decided to make an astonishing goalkeeper switch, ensuring that it would be Tim Krul who would face the Costa Rican penalties instead of Dutch number one Jasper Cillessen. It paid off with Krul saving two of the five penalties that he came up against. Everyone applauded the courage of van Gaal, apart from Cillessen of course who got in a strop and kicked some water bottles over.

4) Spanish dominance comes to an end

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After winning the last three major tournaments Spain entered the 2014 World Cup amongst the favourites to win the competition. Therefore the entire world was left open mouthed when they were completely annihilated by the Dutch in their first game, losing 5-1. It seemed that the end of an era was nigh and so it proved to be as in the following match they were sent home by a brilliant Chile side who inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the Spaniards. A consolation victory against the Australians followed but it was too little too late and one of the great superpowers of world football was finished.

3) Costa Rica reach the quarter-finals

Before the tournament began everyone was talking about Costa Rica as the whipping boys of Group D. They then preceded to make everyone look like fools by beating Uruguay and Italy and topping the group with ease. After a hard fought victory against Greece via penalties they were into the quarter finals against Holland. They came agonisingly close but in the end were defeated by Tim Krul who managed to keep out two of their five penalties. They can hold their heads up high however as the underdog supreme of the tournament.

2) Suarez bites… again

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Luis Suarez – genius or madman? This question had not been raised for a long time and it seemed that after a hugely successful season at Liverpool and a couple of key goals at the World Cup that it would never be asked again. Then in Uruguay’s final group match against Italy, Luis Suarez – for the third time in his career – sunk his teeth into the flesh of an opponent. Cue social media meltdown and a resulting four month ban from FIFA. Suarez it seems will now be moving to Barcelona where he surely will not do anything like this again, right? A modern day Cantona, Suarez could be the best player in the world but, due to his clear psychological problems, never will be.

1) The Germans humiliate Brazil in their own back yard

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Not even Paul the Octopus could have predicted this one. The majority of people expected Germany to defeat a poor Brazilian side  who were without the injured Neymar and suspended Thiago Silva. No one expected them to completely destroy and embarrass the host nation. Five goals in just 29 minutes and the world’s most historic footballing side was made a mockery of. Two more goals were added before Oscar scored the most worthless goal of all time to make the final score an unbelievable 7-1. Germany would finish as World Champions whilst Brazil would finish with nothing.

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