World Cup 2014
June 2014. For now I was positive concerning the World Cup, but it would turn into a nightmare soon. It was a World Cup to forget that I don't like to remember. While the last tournament was my favourite I liked this one the least by far.
Why I would rather forget that this World Cup existed
The World Cup started with a big surprise: The host Brazil scored an own goal that was also the first of the tournament. Brazil, the five-time World Cup winner! It sounded like a bad joke. Except that it wasn't. For a country like Brazil it was of course a big disgrace, and then it happened in their own country what makes it even worse. They could eventually make up for it by winning the game.
On the next day another humilation followed but out of all teams it happened to the one I didn't wish something like that: the reigning champion, Spain. To make it worse, they played against the team they defeated in the final of the last World Cup. If I didn't already dislike them at that moment I would have started to after this match. Just like the final 2010 I couldn't watch the match but I was quite happy about it afterwards. I couldn't have beared it and would have been upset the whole time. The only thing I heard were my sister's screams and her complaint that a goal shouldn't count. I only found out how bad it really was on the next day and couldn't believe it at first. I already knew that they lost but I didn't expect that it was such a big defeat. But Spain had also lost their first match four years ago and went on to win the whole tournament. Two matches had yet to be played, and I was optimistic that they would make it. But optimism has never worked out for me...
One of Germany's most common opponents, Portugal, awaited us in the first group match. The most memorable moment was Pepe's foul on Thomas Müller with the Portuguese getting punished with a red card. Therefore, it was a bit of spitefulness when Portugal lost as it was some kind of karma.
For the first time since we have watched World Cups Russia was competing. That left us supporting three teams after previously doing so in the Euros. In the end Russia had to deal with a draw. Their opponents took the lead but they managed to score shortly after and prevented a defeat.
On the next day, Spain had their second match and once more I wasn't able to watch it, for scheduling reasons. It was a sad day that got even worse after the news that Spain were behind. I somehow hoped they could do the impossible and go level but in the end it was certain: Spain were eliminated! I was inconsolable and just couldn't believe it. They definitely did not deserve this! From this moment on, I didn't care about the World Cup anymore. Without Spain there was no point in watching it. But I had to, whether I wanted it or not because Germany was still in the tournament.
Germany faced Ghana for the second World Cup in a row but unlike 2010, the match ended in a draw. Four points meant a good chance to reach the knockout stage, but I couldn't have cared less. I was still mourning Spain and hoped that it was just a dream.
Russia's next match couldn't change my mood for the better. After a defeat they were close to be eliminated from the tournament as well. But I didn't give a fuss about anything at this point anymore. Who would win. If Germany would get eliminated in the knockout stage. I didn't care.
Spain's last match against Australia was the only one I watched. As they aired the match between my two least favourite teams Netherlands and Chile on tv my sister and me watched a live stream on the computer. And what did I see - the coach finally used the right players on the pitch. I asked myself the whole time why he didn't let them play from the first match. It all could have ended differently... I was angry that he let the best player, the legend number 7, on the bench until this match. He prove that he could have made a difference with an absolutely stunning goal. It was one of the or maybe even the most beautiful goal I've ever seen. As if it wasn't already sad enough that Spain had no chance to proceed to the round of 16 the coach had the nerve to sub him off. I literally freaked out when I saw that. It was his last match! Subbing him off was simply disrespectful. His goal was just a small comfort. When he started crying my heart broke in half once and for all. Spain ended the tournament forgiving with a win but I only felt better for a short moment. I was angry at the coach who I blamed for the desaster. What was he thinking by not letting him play from the beginning? It was a big mistake and the match against Australia proves it.
How the best player got cheated on
As soon as I heard that the hero of the World Cup 2010, the legend number 7, would return after missing the last Euro I was very delightful. My joy was killed by the fact that he didn't play in the first match. At least that explained why they lost so badly. It should have made Del Bosque rethink everything but he started the same players instead. Who knows how it could have gone for Spain had he played with Australia's starting eleven from the beginning. He definitely should have been on the pitch from the first match on or at least since the match against Chile. As the country's record goalscorer he had already achieved legendary status but he still lacked the second Euro title he would have deserved. They managed to win the Euro without him - I'm still surprised about it - but the first two matches showed that they need him. It has to mean something that they could only win the match he played in. Without him, they struggle to win - not including the last Euro - and the last World Cup is enough proof for that. He scored the majority of their goals and lead them to success and to thank him he was just a second choice player? Del Bosque should be thankful because without him they wouldn't have reached the semi final. But no one thinks about that, everyone just praises Iniesta who is their hero because he scored the winning goal. He got way too little recognition for his achievements and the missing Euro title might be a reason for that. Even Torres gets more appreciation even though he was far from good since the last World Cup. It's sadly true that he's one of the most underrated players. He deserves so much more. As record goalscorer he should have got the chance to play in all matches. He may not have scored in the qualification and he scored less after his injury - seriously, who are that idiots who fouled him? - but that's not a reason to leave him on the bench. Maybe VDB would have let him play from the beginning if he scored the winning goal - Iniesta played in the first two matches, after all. He actually never scored a goal in a final. In 2008, he was recovering from an injury he got during the semi final, in 2010 he had many chances and was wrongly subbed off, in 2012 he didn't make the squad and in the Confederations Cup 2013 he was subbed in late. It's one of the things he sadly never achieved. The winning goal of the Euro 2008, on the other hand, might have been the reason why Torres was for the World Cup despite not being in form.
Del Bosque made a massive mistake by not letting him play from the beginning. He could have been subbed on during the first match against the Netherlands but he should have started in the second match. As soon as he got to play they won, a proof that they are weaker without him. How would it be when he doesn't play for the national team anymore? He implied to retire after the World Cup and it was really heartbreaking news. His goal against Australia was his ninth, one short of ten. With ten goals he could have cemented his legendary status but yet again it was not granted him. He could have reached this milestone if he scored in the final or that penalty back in 2010. Probably even if he was allowed to play against the Netherlands or Chile, but we can't tell for sure. It's not unlikely though since he scored once he got to play. At least nine goals are more than Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo scored. Who's the true legend here? Unlike him, they didn't even become World Champion.
He deserved a better ending for his last World Cup. At least it ended with a win but he was so close to 100 caps, 10 World Cup goals and 60 international goals. He could have reached all that if that injury that prohibited him for six months didn't happen. Just the imagination of the goals he could have scored in the Euro... (He could have beaten Torres' three goals.) It's just sad. Not that I wanted Spain to defend their title - even though I wouldn't have said no to that - but I at least wanted them to reach the quarterfinals. Or the semi final and then third-place play off. I'm sure they could have gone a lot further if he had got the chance to play from the beginning. It's not the goalkeeper's or defenders' fault - but the coach's.
Why I turned into a traitor
My sister took me to a public screening for Germany's last group stage match against America. It was the first time I watched a match in public. But I was kind of unenthusiastic and didn't understand what was going on when the people around me started cheering. Germany had scored but I didn't care. As a matter of fact I had planned to boycott the World Cup.
Russia was my last hope. They had to win to advance to the knockout stage. It looked good at first as they managed to take the lead. What followed then was a lack of sportmanship. Shortly before Algeria took a penalty, the Russian goalkeeper was blinded with a laserpointer. Therefore, he couldn't react well and conceded a goal. The match ended deadlocked, meaning that Russia was eliminated as well. But maybe it was for the better because then they wouldn't have to play against Germany. I couldn't have been able to bear it, just like Spain's defeat.
As I had lost my interest in the World Cup following Spain's elimination, I barely watched a match. If I did it was accidental. I noticed Columbia who I started rooting for. The match between Italy and Uruguay included a memorable scandal, but I only heard about it in the news.
In the round of 16, Germany luckily didn't face Russia, but Algeria. I can't recall if I watched the match. At least I can't remember any of the goals. Or maybe I was too apathetic to notice. Earlier, Chile was eliminated. At least some good news. If Spain had finished as runner-up of their group, they would've played against Brazil. Most likely they would have been eliminated after this match anyway.
I know for sure that I haven't watched the quarter final but I secretly hoped that France would win. Of course that didn't happen. I watched the quarter final between Brazil and Columbia coincidentally. Brazil had already been in the lead when Colombia was awarded a penalty. I really liked how the Brazilian players behaved after the match. They showed respect to the Colombians, especially their rising star, James who would later win the Golden Boot as top goalscorer. During the match a giant insect found its way to his arm. My sister and me pronounced the name English at first and it became a habit. Later we alternated between the (right) Spanish and the English pronounciation but preferred the latter.
Ever since the semi final match I lost all my respect for the German team. What they did was just disrespectful. The knockout stage isn't about how many goals you score. A 1-0 is enough, ask the Spaniards, they won like this. I really felt sorry for the Brazilians even though I was probably the only one to think so in Germany. They didn't deserve to be defeated like this in their own country. I literally hoped they would score at least one goal. The only good thing about it was that Spain didn't have the biggest defeat. I only wanted one thing: That Germany didn't win the World Cup.
Argentina finally knocked out the Netherlands and for that they got my support. Unfortunately, they won the third place play-off while the host had to accept fourth place and left the tournament without a medal.
I boycotted the final wittingly as I couldn't have been bothered watching it and told my family I would join them later but of course I didn't. I could have hardly told them that I wasn't rooting for Germany. During the semi final I had critisized them so they knew how I felt about it. But as always, the team I didn't root for won. My sister's reaction confirmed it, and I didn't like it at all. I begrudged them winning, as the only teams I liked even less were Chile and the Netherlands. Three stars look better than four. I showed no emotion when my father came to me to tell me we were world champions. That information was unneccessary anyway since I heard their celebrations. To this date, I have never seen a minute of the match or the winning ceremony, except for some short excerpts during the news. I just don't want to see anything of this World Cup anymore let alone being reminded of it. I would prefer to just forget about it, but because of Germany's win it won't be possible. At least not until the next World Cup.