The dust of the stadiums has settled. The foam spray lines made by the referees on the last FIFA World Cup have scattered to the wind and the noise of the stands has gone quiet. Now, after the excitement of the last Cup slowly turns to memory, it is time to reflect on what was seen on the most elite soccer competition on the planet.
The answers come in fast succession. Firstly, it is clear that the age of attacking mentality is upon the soccer world. Many teams which sought to fortify their position by strengthening their defense have been proven wrong by squads which focused on attack as much as they did on the defense. Netherlands taught this lesson in a very harsh manner to the Spanish national team right at the beginning of the competition. By scoring five goals against only one scored by the Spanish team, the orange squad showed that the essence of the modern soccer is to be quick and to be imaginative in the attacking phase.
Of course, in the later matches, Netherlands also showed that it could rely on its defensive players, but the focus was always on the opposing team’s goal. The same was shown by other nations, especially those which are not widely seen as the strongest in the pack. Not surprisingly, many nations from the region of Latin America saw the 2014 FIFA World Cup as a chance to prove their worth. Colombia showed a very determined team, and so did Costa Rica and Mexico, whose primary goalkeeper became a national hero. Also, the United States presented a possible glimpse into the future where later knockout phases of world cups will also include their flag; the steady rise of the USA in the global soccer community is undeniable.
At the same time, former giants fell to new lows. The previous winner of the World Cup, Spain didn’t qualify for the knockout phase, while Brazil when through a crushing defeat of 7:1 which was almost unimaginable just a few years ago. Argentina, headed by Messi, reached to the very top, but once again, in their final game, failed to bring immortality to its current generation of players.
The winners, Germany, might not look as a big surprise. Their tactics were flawless, and their style forever on the attack. But the sheer readiness of the players and their lack of clear superstars which were present in other teams showed the true extent of their greatness. In their team, every member had a chance to become the key player, and many did during the course of their fantastic matches. Because of that, there is no doubt that they are right now, after a spectacular FIFA World Cup, the absolute champions of the game of soccer.