World Cup comes to a close

world cup germany argentinaA late goal scored by Mario Goetze was the only thing that separated Argentina and Germany in the 2014 World Cup final. Both teams had exited their groups and successfully navigated the elimination stage to make it to the final. Argentina, who had never been behind to a team the entire tournament found themselves down 1-0 with seven minutes left in extra time when Goetze slotted a shot past Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero. The Germans went on to win the final, thus completing a very successful World Cup, having beat host Brazil 7-1 a game earlier.

This was the first time that the German national team won a World Cup as a unified nation — all its past titles were won by West Germany.

What came as a surprise was the early elimination of former champion Spain in the group stages. Spain opened the World Cup with a 5-1 loss against the Netherlands and then a 2-0 loss against Chile. In the 2010 World Cup, Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final to win, so the massive loss was not expected by anyone. Spain had come into the World Cup with back-to-back European Championship wins in 2008 and 2012, along with a World Cup title from 2010. Many expected Spain to reach the quarter finals at the least because of how many high profile players were on the World Cup squad.

After much controversy in the 2010 World Cup about questionable calls by the referee, goal line technology was invented to help settle these disputes. The new technology was used in the 2014 World Cup to solve these issues.

Goal line technology consists of multiple cameras mounted high in the roof of each stadium at the World Cup. The cameras had a clear view of the goal line and were connected to a computer system that monitored the plane of space across the face of the goal. Once the ball passed the line, the system sent a signal to a wristwatch that the referees were wearing to alert them of a scored goal.

This technology was met with mixed reactions — some thought that it took away from the “human element” of the game by allowing a computer system to judge the game.

With the decision not to include Landon Donovan in the final roster of the U.S. Men’s National Team, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann lowered the chances of the United States progressing past the first stage.

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Months before the World Cup, the United States team was randomly placed into the “group of death” with Germany, Portugal and Ghana. On paper, all three teams should have had no problem beating the United States.

Already having a history against Ghana in the past two World Cups of losing 2-,1 it only seemed fitting to play them first. The United States turned the tables and ended up beating Ghana 2-1 in their first game.

The next game against Portugal seemed too good to be true for the United States, which maintained a 2-1 lead until Portugal scored a late goal in stoppage time to tie the game.

Coming into a final group match against Germany, the United Stated had a chance to advance. Because the United States had fewer goals scored on them than Portugal, a low-scoring loss, tie or win against Germany would automatically advance the team. The United States lost to Germany 1-0 that day and advanced to the Round of 16 to face Belgium.

In a lengthy and one-sided game against Belgium, the United States managed to weather the storm and survive to force extra time. A huge factor in the match was U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who made a World Cup record high of 16 saves that game. Unfortunately two quick goals by Belgians Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku put the United States down 2-0 in the first half of extra time.

Two minutes into the second half of extra time, American Julian Green scored a quick goal to make it 2-1, but unfortunately the U.S. team wasn’t able to score again and was eliminated from the World Cup. Tim Howard’s performance was widely praised as the reason the U.S. team was able to hold Belgium off until extra time.