This World Cup has been one of the best in recent memory, despite all of the concerns with the tournament being held in Brazil. There have been some fantastic goals and amazing matches.
Of course, any World Cup will have its talking points and controversies. Referees will always be blamed for any manner of “wrong” decisions while fans will infinitely debate plays and calls. The focus inevitably shifts to these dramas. They are the top headlines; the stories that everyone wants to read about and analyze.
In addition to feeding into the drama, it’s also very easy for us as fans to either dehumanize or glorify the players. It makes it easier for us to take a side and throw our full support and passion behind one team. After all, sports are a tradition of ritual tribalism and in no sporting event is this more evident than in the World Cup, where it’s a nation vs. nation competition.
Despite this, or maybe because of it, one of the most memorable moments for me in the 2014 World Cup, was a moment of compassion that Kevin de Bruyne spared for Jermaine Jones. In 120 minutes of drama surrounding the Belgium vs USA round of 16 match, this brief exchange was virtually overlooked.
For those who don’t know or don’t remember it, here is what happened. Jermaine Jones had attempted to trap a high ball in the right corner of Belgium’s third. His touch was poor and it allowed Kevin de Bruyne to rush in and clear the ball. Instead of having it cleared out of bounds, the ball smashed into Jones’ face and sent him to the ground. There was no malice in it and play went on, but what de Bruyne did next was unusual.
He immediately bent down, with a look of genuine concern, and put both hands on Jones. He signaled to the referee. He was willing to stop play to make sure that Jones was okay.
No, this isn’t revolutionary in the soccer world. In fact, there are probably many similar occurrences throughout this World Cup alone, but for me the look on de Bruyne’s face was something I’ll always remember from this World Cup.
Please join the conversation below and add your own memories from this 2014 World Cup.