Germany struck a blow for UEFA, as it became the first European nation to win a World Cup on South American soil.
THE MAIN STORY
The World Cup came “home” in 2014, the tournament hosted by Brazil, long considered the spiritual caretakers of the sport. It marked the first time the World Cup was staged in South America since Argentina welcomed the world in 1978.
Brazil entered the tournament as the heavy favourite and full of confidence as the host nation. But the Selecao were also dogged by past failures. They lost the 1950 World Cup after an upset defeat to Uruguay in Rio, a loss that Brazilian fans still talked about more than 60 years later. The Brazilian team ended up making history at this World Cup – but for the wrong reasons.
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The top two teams from each of the eight groups advanced to the knockout round.
For the third time at the World Cup, Germany and Argentina squared off in the final. Both sides won their respective groups, with the Germans hammering Brazil in the semis and the Argentines outlasting the Netherlands to get to the final. More than 74,000 fans jammed into Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium to watch a final pitting what many considered the best national team (Germany) against the world’s best player (Lionel Messi).
Both sides named unchanged starting line-ups from their semifinals, but German midfielder Sami Khedira suffered a calf injury in the pre-game warmup and had to be replaced by Christoph Kramer, who made …read more