PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Kicking It Off Right
The 2014 World Cup kicked off with an opening ceremony full of color, music, and dance. The celebration was held June 12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Musical performers Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez sang and danced on stage, and acrobatic stunt artists dressed as soccer balls tumbled through the air.
Brazil Steps Up
At the opening game of the tournament, Brazil fell behind 1-0 to underdog Croatia. But the host country came back to win 3-1. Croatia’s goalkeeper was unable to stop Brazilian superstar Neymar from scoring two goals.
A Major Upset
Netherlands players and fans rejoiced after their team crushed Spain, the winner of the previous World Cup. Forward Robin van Persie celebrated the 5-1 win in front of the crowd. At the end of the game, Dutch fans were roaring "Olé.” Spain was the top-seeded team in the tournament and a favorite to win the cup.
A Fierce Battle
The Germany vs. Portugal game was the most anticipated battle of the opening matches. Germany, led by perhaps the best player in the world, Ronaldo, is a favorite to win the World Cup. Portuguese player Pepe was thrown out of the game after head-butting Thomas Mueller, which put Portugal down a man. Portugal lost 4-0 to Germany with Mueller scoring a hat trick, or three goals in a single game.
The United States has been placed in the “Group of Death” for the World Cup tournament. Their first matches are against power teams Ghana, Germany, and Portugal. But on Monday, the American team shocked the world. Clint Dempsey scored a goal in the first minute of the game to give the U.S. a lead over Ghana. Ghana tied the game, but with four minutes left, the U.S. scored off a corner kick to win 2-1.
Spain's Reign Ends
World Cup defending champion Spain suffered a crushing defeat against Chile on Wednesday. Chile scored two goals in the first half and was able to stop Spain from scoring in the second. Spain, which won the cup in 2008 and 2010, is now eliminated from this year's tournament. ‘‘I only ask fans for forgiveness, we did everything we could,’’ Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas said.
Still Going Strong
With a 3-2 win over Australia on Wednesday, Netherlands is advancing towards the Cup. The Netherlands' first big victory was beating Spain 5-1 in its opening game. In its second game vs. Australia, the Aussies missed a golden chance to take the lead with 20 minutes left in the game. At the next attack, Memphis Depay drove a crafty shot from 25 yards away to lead the Netherlands to their win.
Columbia, playing in its first World Cup in 16 years, earned a 2-1 victory against Ivory Coast Thursday night. James Rodriguez and substitute Juan Quintero each scored in the span of six minutes in the second half. The team celebrated scoring with a memorable dance. The win follows an earlier 3-0 win over Greece, helping qualify the team for the 2nd second stage, or knockout stage. "We have had two wins with players who are playing their first World Cup," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said. "We're happy to have defeated such a good opponent. We have a lot of young players, and this is going to help them grow." Once 16 teams have moved on to the knockout stage, the winners of each match will advance and play each other until one team is the World Cup winner.
Argentina's Lionel Messi scores a goal past Iran's Reza Ghoochannejhad late into their match on June 21. Before scoring, the four-time FIFA World Player of the Year had been kept largely quiet by Iran's defense. Messi scored the game winning goal in the 91st minute of the game. Argentina's 1-0 win places them into the round of 16 at the 2014 World cup.
Better Late Than Never
Belgium's forward Divock Origi, 19, celebrates after scoring with teammate Kevin Mirallas. Origi is not a professional player yet he was able to score the winning goal to help Belgium advance to the next round. Belgium beat Russia 1-0. With his goal, Origi became the youngest goalscorer in Belgium World Cup history.
A Heartbreaking Draw
More than 10,000 fans gathered in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, to watch the U.S. play Portugal on June 22. The game ended at a 2-2 draw. The growing number of U.S. soccer fans will dwell on the last 60 seconds of the game when Cristiano Ronaldo fired a last-minute cross to a teammate to score. On Thursday, the U.S. must play powerful Germany and Portugal plays Ghana. Losers go home.
Netherlands' midfielder Leroy Fer celebrates after scoring against Chile. Fer headed a corner kick to put the Dutch up 1-0 in the 77th minute of play. Memphis Depay scored in injury time to give the Netherlands their second goal and end the game 2-0. The Netherlands will play the runner-up of Group A in the next round, while Chile will play the group winners.
A Double Win
Germany's Thomas Muller (left) celebrates scoring a goal during a tight match between the U.S. and Germany in soggy Recife, Brazil on June 26. The game ended 1-0 in favor of Germany, but both teams will advance from their group to the next round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Next, the U.S. will play the Group H winner—either Belgium or Algeria—on June 30.
Portugal's captain Cristiano Ronaldo (L) scores a goal late in the game to help Portugal beat Ghana 2-1. Even so, neither country will advance in the World Cup. The tournament looks at total number of goals during the rounds, not individual wins. Instead, team U.S.A, in second place, will advance to the knockout round.
Algeria's defender Aissa Mandi heads the ball towards Russia's goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev during the match between Algeria and Russia match. The teams tied 1-1. During an important moment, a person in the crowd pointed a green laser pen toward Akinfeev. Russia's coach blamed the stunt for his goalkeeper's missed save. Algeria now moves through to the knockout round, becoming the first North African team to do so. They will play Germany next.
Fight to Finish
Players from the Brazilian team celebrate a win in their round-of-16 match against Chile on June 28. After the match ended with a 1-1 score, Brazil won a penalty shootout with a goal scored by David Luiz. Brazil will now advance to the World Cup quarterfinals.
A Must-Watch Game
Netherlands player Klaas-Jan Huntelaar kicks a corner flag on the field to celebrate after scoring a goal during a round-of-16 game against Mexico on June 29. Netherlands won the match 2-1 and will advance to the quarterfinals. According to Nielsen, which tracks TV viewing, 10.4 million U.S. viewers tuned in to see the game on Univision. That makes it the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast in U.S. television history. An additional 6.6 million U.S. viewers watched the game in English on ESPN.
Costa Rica's goalkeeper Keylor Navas makes a save on Greece's Fanis Gekas' penalty shot on June 29. The save happened during a shootout after regulation time ended with in a 1-1 score in the round-of-16 game. Costa Rica ultimately beat Greece 5-3 and will advance to the quarterfinals.
A Record-Breaking Goalkeeper
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard blocks a ball from the Belgium team during the World Cup round-of-16 match on July 1. It was one of 15 saves Howard made during the game, which is a World Cup record. But it wasn't enough for the U.S. team, which lost 2-1 in extra time. Belgium will advance to the quarterfinals.
Argentina's Lionel Messi is surrounded by Swiss players during the World Cup round-of-16 game in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 1. Switzerland's team kept close to Messi, one of the world's best players, the entire game. Still, during extra time, the star striker made a pass to set up Angel di Maria's game-winning goal. Argentina will advance to the quarterfinals.
No More Neymar
Brazil's star striker Neymar controls the ball during a quarterfinal match against Colombia on July 4. The game ended 2-1 in favor of Brazil. Brazil will advance to the semifinal, playing a match against Germany on July 8. But they'll have to continue without Neymar, who fractured a bone after being kneed in the back during the match. "He will not be in condition to play, he will need a few weeks to be fit again," team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said. "He is very, very sad."
Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul saves a final penalty kick by Michael Umana of Costa Rica to win a 4-3 shootout during the quarterfinal match on July 5. The Netherlands will advance to the semifinals and play Argentina on July 9. The semifinal match will pit the World Cup's best dribblers, Argentina's Lionel Messi and the Netherland's Arjen Robben, against each other.
Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho reacts after Germany scored a third goal during the first half of their semifinal match on July 8, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The game didn’t get any better for the host country, which ultimately lost 7-1. Meanwhile, German fans celebrated their team making it to the World Cup final. The front-page headline in the country’s biggest-selling newspaper read: “7-1. No words for it!” On July 13, the German team will play the winner of the Netherlands-Argentina semifinal match for the cup. Brazil will play the loser for third place on July 12.
Argentina Goes to the Cup
Argentina’s Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after Rodriguez scored on a penalty kick. The point ended their World Cup semifinal match in a 4-2 victory against the Netherlands on July 9, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The game had finished in a 0-0 tie, which led to a shootout of four penalty kicks for each side. Argentina scored on all four kicks, while Romero blocked two kicks from the Netherlands. Argentina will play Germany for the World Cup trophy on July 13.
Once In A Lifetime
Kaylie-Jade Plott, 8, from Henrico County, Virginia, walks onto the field with Argentine captain and the tournament’s best player Lionel Messi. Kaylie’s mother entered her daughter into a sweepstakes for McDonald’s Player Escort Program. Kaylie-Jade was one of the 25 kids chosen to escort a world cup player onto the field. "Before we walked out, he was quiet, but he smiled at me and even helped me on the field by turning me the right way, which was really cool!” Plott said. "It’s an experience I’ll never forget."
An Unforgettable Goal
On Sunday, July 13, the World Cup tournament came to an end with Germany beating Argentina 1-0 in the final match. The two teams were favorites in the tournament. Germany’s Mario Goetze, 22, scored the only goal of the match in extra time. Goetze wasn’t a starter for his team, but substituted in for Miroslav Klose, a lead scorer, in the 88th minute of the game. “At the end of the match, having a party with the team, the whole country... it is for us, a dream come true,” Goetze told the Associated Press.
Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the 2014 World Cup. It was Germany’s fourth World Cup title and it’s first since 1990. Germany had been rebuilding its team since 2000. On the list of all-time champions, Germany is now ranked second with Italy, just behind Brazil, who has five World Cup wins. At the final whistle, Germany players fell into a pile in a mid-pitch celebration. Argentine star and team captain Lionel Messi who has been called the best player in the world, did not clench the win for his team, but did win the best player trophy for the tournament.
That’s A Wrap!
The 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament ended on July 13 with a closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Musicians Shakira, Santana, Wyclef Jean, and Carlinhos Brown performed before the final match between Germany and Argentina. Shakira came onto the stadium field singing “Dare (La,La,La).” The crowd was jumping, singing and dancing in the stands. As a finale, all the artists danced together on the field.