Netherlands thumping Spain 5-1 seems like a season ago. We’ve had 24 different World Cup-match days since then, during which time most of us have watched close to a season’s worth of football. The dethroning of Spain, in such dramatic fashion, was an early portent of what we were in store for. Brazil’s humiliation at the hands of Germany provided one of the most memorable football events of our times.
While everyone seems to have nominated the competition as the best ever, the football has been of variable quality. Lots of strong football countries failed to show, including Spain, Italy and England. Africa promised early on, then fell. Russia gave no indication they were on-schedule to give the performance of a lifetime when they host the tournament in four years.
Brazil reached the semi-finals but this will surely be known as one of the worst Brazilian teams ever. Argentina have reached their first final in 24 years ago, but I can’t figure out how they made it. Performances against Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria, Switzerland, Belgium and then Netherlands never convinced we were watching eventual winners. The best they have achieved, so far, is a single goal victory.
Belgium’s golden generation were a mere shadow of their less-fancied Dutch neighbours, who under-promised and over-delivered, again. Germany are the team who deserve to take the trophy, and although Lionel Messi finds himself in a World Cup Final this evening, on the basis of what we’ve seen over the last four weeks, he’s no Diego Maradona.
Enjoy the final, the real stuff starts in two days.[calameo code=0003901719d82038831a9 lang=en page=126 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]