As we acknowledge the run of Germany to their fourth World Cup title, this would be a good time to also mention some of the great memories of this past World Cup that ended Sunday on a Mario Gotze goal.
To start with, while the United States only won one game, they did advance out of a tough group to get to the round of 16. That's more than can be said for the likes of Spain, Italy, and England.
Tim Howard was sensational in goal, making 16 saves in one single memorable game against Belgium.
Let's not forget the contribution of Major League Soccer at this World Cup for Jurgen Klinsmann's side. While the coach has openly stated his desire for American players to play overseas, he did choose 10 current MLS players for this roster, and nine of them got to play. The exception was the No. 3 goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
At the 2010 World Cup, there were only four (4) players from MLS. That's a sign of progress. Young defenders like Matt Besler and DeAndre Yedlin also drew attention from foreign clubs because of their play.
Other memories for me:
- The brilliance of Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez of Colombia; even without their best player Radamel Falcao (injured) Colombia was a factor in this World Cup.
- Costa Rica getting to the quarterfinals; outside of Honduras, the other CONCACAF teams all made it out of their group. Costa Rica had to be the most surprising as they won a group that included Italy, England, and Uruguay. Picked by many to finish fourth, the club did well, even though they were missing Alvario Saborio (Real Salt Lake), their best player, due to injury.
- The hard fall of Spain, moments of brilliance from Messi, the presence of U.S. supporters in Brazil are all memories to take out of this World Cup.
- There was also the play of Neymar until his injury, the famous bite from Luis Suarez, the Miroslav Klose record breaking 16th career World Cup goal and the awful ending for Brazil.
When we look back years from now, of all of these memories, I firmly believe the one we will remember most is not of the Germans celebrating Sunday's win.
It will be the 7-1 Brazil loss to the Germans in the semi-finals. For sure that will be remembered forever by Brazilians, but I think those of us who follow the game on a regular basis, will also remember this game for a very long time.
Hope you enjoyed this World Cup. I found this to be the most entertaining and compelling World Cup in many years.