The conclusion of the 2014 World Cup naturally draws attentions to the next, in 2018. It is scheduled to be held in Russia, and after that, the 2022 showpiece will grace the Asian continent in the form of oil-rich Qatar.
However, all is not well within FIFA, or indeed with these bids. There have long been allegations of human rights abuses in the preparations for 2022, and now the Michael Garcia report (FIFA investigates itself; no way that could possibly be biased!) which may contain some evidence of impropriety in the bidding and voting processes for both tournaments is being suppressed.
This is of course according to Garcia himself, who resigned from the FIFA Ethics Committee in protest.
There is a lot that goes on within FIFA that we are not privy to, but corruption, human rights violations and the like can hardly be for the good of the game.
The Brazil XI that contested the World Cup semi-final
Rarely have I sat through a half of football as stunning as the first 45 of Brazil vs. Germany in the World Cup semi-final.
While a considerable number of pundits were anticipating a defeat for the hosts—particularly with star player Neymar absent through injury—the majority of predictions forecast a tight contest and a close battle for progression to the final.
It was anything but.
To ship seven goals in any contest is almost unthinkable.
To do it in the semi-final of the World Cup is unprecedented.
For Brazil, it is hard to comprehend.
For it to happen in front of their own fans represents a national disaster.
Germany romped to victory and took a 5-0 lead within the first half an hour.
It took the South American giants decades to get over their heartbreaking loss on home soil to Uruguay in 1930. It remains to be seen how the Selecao will rediscover their lustre after this chastening defeat.
Luis Suarez
When you watch movies, vampire movies, you’d expect that at some point there’d be a scene where the vampire sinks his or her extended teeth into their victim, drawing blood.
That’s normal.
What is not normal, however, is the sight of Uruguay’s No. 9 Luis Suarez performing a similar act on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil.
The Barcelona man unconventionally steadied himself behind Chiellini’s shoulders, as a vampire would his victim, and sunk his teeth into the Italian.
The savagery incident in itself was a gory one, which would freak anyone out, but Suarez’s explanation afterwards could make for a good comic line.
“After the impact,” he began, in his narration to a panel via The Guardian, “I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent.”
He wasn’t saying that when he tore into Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during his Liverpool days, which earned him a lengthy suspension.
Miroslav Klose
The German international made history in 2014, setting a record for goals scored in World Cups with 16.
There has been no more prolific scorer for the Maanschaft than Miroslav Klose, remarkable considering he was a late bloomer. His first full season in the German top-flight came in 2001/2002, aged 23.
He went on to top-score for Germany in two World Cups, and a further six in 2010 and 2014 took him above the likes of Ronaldo, Gerd Muller and Just Fontaine, legends of the game.
His two goals in Brazil displayed what made him such a great striker: one, a quick reaction after a header from a corner, pulled Germany level against Ghana; the other his positioning and calmness in the 7-1 drubbing of Brazil.
He was not the most gifted, but his goals on the grandest stage of all elevated him to the pantheon of football greats.
Di Stefano, Eusebio and Coluna
In 2014, football lost three of the greatest players of all time.
Eusebio died on January 5 from heart failure, his teammate Mario Coluna departed a month later, while Alfredo Di Stefano passed away on July 7.
In the aftermath of these three losses, the football world united in both mourning their passes and celebrating their glories.
And what glories.
Few (if any) players have enjoyed club careers as glorious as that of Di Stefano. He won the first five European Cup finals with Real Madrid (scoring in each one) and was an influential figure in establishing that side’s global reputation.
Eusebio swapped shirts with Di Stefano at the end of the 1962 European Cup final, it was seem as a passing of the torch. The Mozambique-born hitman scored 638 goals in 614 games for Benfica and twice won Europe’s top title.
He also won the Golden Boot at the 1966 World Cup.
One suspects that Eusebio’s career wouldn’t have been so celebrated had it not been for Coluna, Benfica and Portugal’s great captain and playmaker. He too was a son of Africa, having been born in Maputo.
Real Madrid
Spanish giants Real Madrid claimed their fourth title in 2014 with a 2-0 win over San Lorenzo of Argentina on Saturday to win the Club World Cup.
The Champions League, Copa del Rey and European Super Cup titles were the other trophies Carlo Ancelotti’s men had already swept into the trophy room earlier this year.
And they will also end the year on top of La Liga.
Coach Ancelotti has perhaps done more than enough to etch his name into the club’s history books as one of the greatest managers to manage Los Blancos. The Club World Cup final win was their 22nd consecutive win in all competitions, which dwarfs the?1960-61 record of 15 straight wins.
And now, they chase the 26 straight-win mark set by Johan Cruyff’s Ajax side in 1971-72. It won’t be wise to bet against them achieving that feat as they look almost unstoppable at the moment.

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