The recently concluded World Cup has witnessed a number of noteworthy incidents that occurred during the event that is celebrated every 4 years with Luis Suarez making his way to the headlines of websites all over the world as he once more bit another player and this time around it was Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini he was subsequently banned.
Criticism was also received throughout the entire tournament due to the number of injuries and extreme changes in temperature that players had to face as they played in different parts of Brazil. The president of FIFA Sepp Blatter was heavily critiqued after the Swedish football administrator allowed players to return to the pitch even though they had already been removed after picking up injuries and this was the case with Christoph Kramer as he crumpled down and after being sent back to the pitch.
All of these events that occurred helped increase the amount of viewers of the 2014 World Cup as this latest edition of the tournament turned out to be the one that smashed all previous records that were established in streaming records.
The American delivery network provider Akamai confirmed that it was the biggest event in terms of video content streaming and this is due to the large amount of fans and their demand of seeking an online platform to watch the matches of their favorite teams and players from the online platforms of FIFA’s Media Rights Licensees.
“We are proud to say that this FIFA World Cup has been the biggest multimedia sporting event in history, with more people watching matches and highlights online than ever before,” said FIFA Director of TV Niclas Ericson.
FIFA successfully launched an app that was downloaded more than 9 million times which helped fans stay up to date with the scores, videos and even statistics from the matches that were played through entire competition.
The former English defender Tony Adams has said that Roy Hodgson tried to make the fans happy with attacking brand of football, but, that was not the right way to go in a tournament like World Cup.
According to Adams, England should have included one more central defender in the starting XI in the matches against Italy and Uruguay and should have tried to go for the draw.
Talking to the reporters about England’s World Cup campaign, Adams said, “Roy Hodgson is very, very experienced and thus, I had expected him to be a bit more practical. But, he proved me wrong. The tactics that he used were pretty naive.”
“He thought that by playing exciting football, he would give the fans joy, but, it completely backfired. There was no solidity in the defence. If there was one more central defender in there, the second goal would not have been conceded in either of those Italy and Uruguay games.”
Adams also looked unhappy with the personnel that Hodgson picked for the tournament. He reckons that a couple of Chelsea players i.e. Ashley Cole and John Terry should have been given the ticket to Brazil as they would have proven to be handy for the team.
The 47-year old man who represented England 66 times at the international level said, “Look, frankly, I am not surprised with these two defeats. When I saw the squad selected by Roy, I got worried about the back line straightaway. Terry and Cole, despite being highly experienced, were not there. They could have made a difference and they are fit enough to go through 7 games.”
Adams was a part of the England squad which had made it to the final 4 in the 1996 European Championships.
Australia’s defender Lucas Neill has been looking forward to getting into the national team for one final major tournament, as the nation has qualified for the World Cup 2014. The 36-year-old is in the final legs of his career. It was highly anticipated that he will announce retirement after being allowed to leave Omija Ardija earlier in the season. After being five months without a club, Neill has managed to find himself an opportunity to play for Watford till the end of the season. He signed on a free transfer with the championship outfit, but his stay there did not last long.
He played only for 6 minutes for the club before being sent out on loan to Doncaster Rovers, who are currently managed by Neill’s former Blackburn Rovers teammate Paul Dickov. Dickov said that they are extremely delighted to bring in a player like Lucas Neill, who has tremendous experience in the game. Dickov is of the opinion that several clubs in the championship tried to get him after knowing that he was available, but his relationship with the 36-year-old from his time at Blackburn was key in getting him to the club, who are fighting against relegation.
Dickov says that Neill has managed to keep himself extremely fit despite being out of the game for a considerable amount of time.
“I played with him at Blackburn and I know him very well. Lucas is as fit now as I have ever seen him, which is credit to him and his attitude. There were a lot of other Championship clubs interested in signing him, but he wanted to come to Doncaster,” said the Doncaster Rovers manager. Australia’s manager Ange Postecoglou has not ruled out any players still making it into the squad following a string of good performances. Neill still has a chance according to him.
With 2014 World knocking at the door the participating nations are already prepping up their list of players for the esteemed fiesta which is to unveil at Brazil this year. Spain too has come up with its possible player list and, disappointingly for some of the fans, Juan Mata might not be in the World Spanish squad this time.
He has already been dropped from Spain’s upcoming match against Italy this week. The Man U star is currently showing off form which has created ripples both in his Old Trafford squad & mostly I the national team.
The final Spanish team for the Worlds is yet to be officially declared in May, but the head coach has already made it clear that he is not in the mood to offer any lax for under-performing players.
“There are footballers who haven’t been able to show up with good consistency. We are really fond of Juan. We are quite aware of his immense potential- yet we do not have space for everybody in the team”, stated Del Bosque, the head coach of Spanish national soccer team.
Along with Mata, many other Spanish favorites have been dropped out from the national team. These include Fernando Torres (Chelsea) & David Villa (Atletico Madrid). David Silva and Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City, Santi Cazorla from Arsenal and César Azpilicueta from Chelsea, however, have been able to make way.
Villa’s club-mate Costa (Diego) might make debut in Worlds this time, post switching nationality. Previously the originally Brazil native had made a couple of friendly appearances as a Brazilian player. Costa was in Spanish squad to play in the autumn friendly matches against South Africa an Equatorial Guinea but was forced to withdraw given injury issues.
However, the head coach has stressed his present Spanish team might not be the exact replica for the World party.
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has sent a message of hope to former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, who looks set to miss the World Cup 2014 due to his injury. Falcao is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world right now and he recently sealed a £ 50 million move to Monaco. Despite moving to the French league only six months ago, he has been linked with a move to the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Any hopes of such a move in the January transfer window have been quashed with the news that he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament injury, which will rule him out for more than six months. This will also potentially rule him out of the World Cup 2014. Falcao was expected to be one of the names to watch in Brazil 2014 along with stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Ronaldo, who recently won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award beating Messi, said a message of support to the 27-year-old by saying that he feels confident that he will be able to return back much stronger.
Falcao was for the best players in the French league before getting injured. Colombia’s chances of progressing past the group stages have been significantly reduced after this injury.
“The only message I can give him is that I know he has so much strength and courage. I hope that he recovers very fast because football needs Falcao. The World Cup and the Colombia team await him. I hope he recovers soon and can return to action in time. It’s what we all want. Stay strong, Falcao,” said Ronaldo, who himself qualified for the World Cup at the expense of Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden. Ronaldo’s Portugal defeated Sweden 4-2 on aggregate in the World Cup play-offs.
England manager Roy Hodgson thinks that the African teams have a chance of winning the World Cup 2014 largely because of the climate. Africa has not had a World Cup winner in its history, but the African teams have steadily been growing in stature. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon come into the World Cup has teams that can win the competition. Even though European teams and Brazil still remain the favourite to win the competition, Hodgson thinks that the African teams cannot not be ruled out.
England are definitely not one of the favourites to win this competition. They have been provisionally booked in Rio de Janeiro. Due to the vast size of the continent, it is expected that location will be an important factor towards doing well. The south of Brazil is cold during June, while the north of Brazil is hot and is more like a tropical climate. If African teams get a group that makes them stay in the north of Brazil, then they could get a huge advantage according to Hodgson.
“I think (African nations) may have a stronger chance than any of the European teams to be perfectly honest because of the climate. There are many African players out there of excellent quality now. They play in the top European leagues and that makes the African nations very strong. Nigeria have traditionally been one of the strongest, with some famous names in their team. Whoever is at the game on Monday night will see two very good teams and it will be an exciting outcome,” said Hodgson after his team qualified automatically.
This is because the climate in North of Brazil is very similar to the climate of most African countries. Nigeria come into the tournament after having only recently lifted African cup of nations title.