FIFA World Cup: 10 Rockers and Shockers from the Group Stage

Updated: 28 June, 2014 07:48 IST
  • FIFA World Cup: 10 Rockers and Shockers from the Group Stage
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  • Best Team: Netherlands
    The men in Orange thrashed world-cup holders Spain 5-1 in their first game to register the first upset of the tournament. They followed it up with a 2-0 victory over Chile and although minnows Australia gave them a run for their money in their last league game, Oranje overcame the obstacles to win 3-2. Their consistency, fantastic midfield and forward line along with their steady defensive unit is why we rate them the best team so far in the group stages. Special Mention: Both Colombia and Belgium surpassed people’s expectations by progressing into the round of 16 with a 100 percent win record.
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  • Underdogs to perform: Costa Rica
    Pitted in Group D, against three former world cup winning teams, Costa Rica was expected to finish at the bottom of the group. But to everyone’s surprise the team from Central America, stunned Uruguay 3-1 in their opening fixture, then trounced Italy 1-0 and ended with a goalless draw with England to top the group and progress to the round of 16.
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  • Best Striker: Thomas Mueller (Germany)
    Thomas Mueller, who won the Golden Boot award in the 2010 World Cup, started the 2014 campaign with a hat trick in Germany’s 4-0 thrashing of Portugal. He also scored the winner against the United States in the last group match and is a serious contender for his second Golden Boot title in two successive World Cups. He is our pick for the best striker in the tournament so far.
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  • Best Goalkeeper: Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)
    The World Cup is such a stage that makes a star out of a normal player. This is exactly what transpired with Mexican Goalie Guillermo Ochoa after his heroics against hosts Brazil. Producing miraculous saves, Ochoa denied Brazil of a win and helped his team earn a point, which made him a hero back home as well as in Brazil. People even went on to the extent of comparing him to Mexico’s Jesus. So far, he has conceded only one goal in the league stages and he gets our vote for the best keeper in the group stages.
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  • Overnight Celebrity: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
    While Ochoa turned into a celebrity for the heroics, Italian Giorgio Chiellini grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In Italy’s encounter against Uruguay, Luis Suarez ended up biting Chiellini on the shoulder, which resulted in the former being banned for four months. Chiellini’s off shoulder jersey image went onto become the talk of the town even after Italy crashed out of the tournament.
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  • Fall of the stars – Taare Zameen Par: Iker Casillas, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo
    While this World Cup saw the rise of new stars, the fall of legendary players was much talked about in the tournament so far. Spanish captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who lifted the 2010 World Cup for Spain, had a dismal tournament in Brazil, conceding seven goals in Spain’s first two outings. Although English star Wayne Rooney scored his first world cup goal in his third cup appearance, he missed crucial chances, which ultimately saw England knocked out in the league stage. World footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo who carried the hopes of Portugal too had a dismal outing and managed to score a solitary goal in three matches as his team was ousted from the World Cup.
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  • Moment of Disgrace: Luis Suarez bite (Uruguay vs Italy)
    Luis Suarez has always been in the news more often for the wrong reasons than the right ones. In the games against Italy he bit the Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini and was subsequently banned for four months. Uruguay went on to win the game and progressed in the round of 16, but will now play without their star striker in the upcoming matches.
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  • Most Dramatic Turning Point: Robin van Persie goal (Netherlands vs Spain)
    When Spain would look back at their performances in the World Cup, they would think that the only time they played well apart from the match against Australia was the first 20 minutes against the Netherlands. Just on the stroke of half-time, Robin van Persie flew mid-air to head the ball past Iker Casillas to equalise for Netherlands. It was after the goal that Spain collapsed completely, a slide they never managed to arrest and were knocked out in the league stage itself. The goal was clearly the turning point of the match.
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  • Best Goal: Tim Cahill (Australia vs Netherlands)
    This goal can well be termed as the ‘perfect goal’. Ryan McGowan’s perfect cross from the right wing found the perfect footing of Tim Cahill and his volley sent the ball crashing into the net to help Australia equalize against Netherlands. Although Australia lost the game 3-2, Cahill’s effort was brilliant and is our pick for the best goal of the group stage.
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  • Moment of Heartbreak: Lionel Messi’s late goal (Argentina vs Iran)
    After salvaging a draw in their first game, Iran was well on course to gain a point against giants Argentina. However, in a moment of magic during the last minute of the match, Lionel Messi curled a ball into the top left of the net from 25 yards breaking all Iranian hearts and ensuring a 1-0 win for the South American side.
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About The Gallery

The group stages of the 20th World Cup in Brazil has come to an end and as we get set for the knockouts, here are few facts and figures from the round-robin stage

First Published: 27 June, 2014 15:42 IST