Two weeks later and the dust has settled on the group stage of the 2014 World Cup. It has been full of highs and lows, lots of goals and plenty of controversy. Let’s take a look at the top 5 moments of the group stage.
1. Robin Van Persie’s header
On their way to brutally dismantling Spain, Robin van Persie clearly showed his new club manager Louis Van Gaal that good things will come to wait once they both get settled back at Manchester United. The headed goal was a thing of beauty, catching a pass from about 50 yards out and knocking it in for a stunning equalizer on the Netherland’s way to a rout of Spain. This would of course lead to another big moment as Spain never recovered from this loss and the world champions would see an early exit.
2. Clint Dempsey’s goal in 29 seconds
While not as stunning as RVP’s header, Clint Dempsey’s goal was impressive given the precision of his shot and how he was able to score in under 30 seconds. Clint Dempsey’s was the fifth fastest to be scored in World Cup history.
This game was also memorable as John Brooks became the first substitute for the USA to score on a night when the US Men’s National team went on to defeat Ghana for the first time ever
3. Leo Messi is unstoppable
There have been a lot of critics wondering whether or not Lionel Messi would show up in the World Cup and so far, Messi has not disappointed. Messi is tied with Thomas Mueller and Neymar as the top goal scorers thus far and while Mueller’s tally came because of an impressive hat trick versus Portugal, Messi has by far scored the best goals by a single player in this World Cup so far. The shot against Iran was jaw dropping but the one that stands out most has to be Messi’s goal against Bosnia when he made 2 defenders collide into each other on his way to a golazo.
4. Memo Ochoa’s goalkeeping performance against Brazil
Many would have thought that Brazil would have walked over a Mexico side ranked number 20 in the world. Ochoa put on a man of the match performance with save after save that saw the Mexican side draw with Brazil. The most impressive one came in the 86th minute when many goalkeepers would have fumbled the ball instead.
5. Suarez bites
In one of the most shocking acts thus far in the World Cup, Luis Suarez — who already has a history of biting opponents — sunk his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. FIFA acted swiftly by handing out a nine game international ban as well as a four month ban from soccer plus a fine. Critics have debated for the last few days about whether the ban was too harsh or not harsh enough considering Suarez’ history and even Chiellini himself has stated that it was excessive. No matter what one thinks, Suarez is now out of the tournament, which jeopardizes Uruguay’s chance for getting deep into the World Cup.