Germany beats Argentina 1-0, wins fourth FIFA World Cup

Germany wins 2014 FIFA World Cup becoming the first European team to win the trophy on South American soil.

Germany wins 2014 FIFA World Cup becoming the first European team to win the trophy on South American soil.

By Carmen Glover

In a fitting end to an exciting tournament, Mario Gotze, who entered the game as a substitute for prolific scorer Miroslav Klose, scored Germany’s lone goal in extra time to lead the team to its fourth FIFA World Cup Championship.

Mario Gotze scores lone goal to lead Germany to its fourth World Cup title.

Mario Gotze scores lone goal to lead Germany to its fourth World Cup title. Germany is the first European team to win the World Cup on South American soil.

This is the first time in World Cup history that a European team has won the trophy on South American soil. An eager crowd gathered at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, joining more than a billion viewers worldwide to witness the 2014 World Cup Final match between Germany and Argentina that was decided in 112th minute.

Bastian Schweinsteiger was left bloodied after repeated hits but he soldiered on for his team.

Bastian Schweinsteiger was left bloodied after repeated hits but he soldiered on for his team, returning to the game after getting his bloody face bandaged up.

Bastian Schweinsteiger was phenomenal, defending the ball, fighting against brutal blows that left him bloodied. Schweinsteiger was upset when the referee refused to punish Argentina for its rough play but he returned to the game after his face was cleaned up and valiantly defended against Argentina, determined to play a decisive role in his team’s victory. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer won the Golden Glove for the best 2014 goalkeeper.

Manuel Neuer wins Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper in 2014.

Manuel Neuer won Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper in 2014.

Germany and Argentina played to a scoreless first half, then a scoreless regulation game, although both teams came close to scoring too many times to count. The German team played somewhat disjointedly at first, before settling into its trademark high energy, defensive style of play, for which Argentina had few answers.

Germany's Football World Cup Team.

Germany’s Football World Cup Team.

As the stadium in Brazil came alive with a sea of mostly Argentinian fans, both teams played with a single-minded focus to win the 2014 World Cup and take the trophy home to their homeland. The German team came into the final match as heavy favorites based on its performance during the tournament, while the team from Argentina was motivated to win it all in Brazil, the country of their main nemesis.

Argentina's World Cup Football Team.

Argentina’s World Cup Football Team.

The game featured edge-of-seat action throughout and did not lack for rich entertainment value, wrought as it was with high emotions for the Germans who aimed to win a fourth title while their competitors aimed for their third. All of the top players from both teams had good touches on the ball, giving them different opportunities to score during the regulation period but somehow they all failed to score until extra time.

lionel messi

Lionel Messi needs more talent surrounding him in order to lead his team to victory.

For Argentina, it will undoubtedly be a time of profound reflection and reorganization as they take steps to create a cohesive team rather than try in vain to focus exclusively on Lionel Messi. As the Germans showed so effectively, it takes a team to win the FIFA World Cup. Nothing less will do.–OnPointPress.net.

World Cup Group of 16, Knockout Round, gets underway 6/28-7/1

Brazil's World Cup team.

Brazil’s World Cup team.

By Carmen Glover

An exciting, unpredictable, first round of the 2014 World Cup football (soccer to some) tournament ended with the USA team gaining entry to the Knockout Round of 16 while football powerhouses Ghana, Portugal, Italy, England and defending champions Spain made quick exits amidst a cloud of questions about their future. Will they revamp their rosters? Will they hire new coaches? For all the hype that surrounded Portugal’s Cristiana Ronaldo, dubbed the best player in the world, he was a colossal bust and seemed to be more concerned with preening than delivering for his team and his ball club.

Costa Rica's World Cup Team.

Costa Rica’s World Cup Team.

It remains to be seen what steps will be taken to make the early exiting teams more competitive for World Cup 2018. While the exiting teams sort out their next steps, the Knockout Round for the 2014 World Cup begins and excitement appears to be at a fever pitch, especially for the American team which has won new fans, after doing what seemed like the impossible by making it out of the Group of Death, and the Costa Rican team which emerged from the Group of Champions in first place, despite being the only team in that group that has never won the World Cup trophy.

The USA World Cup Team.

The USA World Cup Team.

The Knockout Round features 16 teams who will face fierce competition as each team tries to advance to the other rounds that bring them closer to the finals. The winning team will advance while the losing team will head home. No second match. No chance for redemption. The first match of the Knockout Round will feature Brazil taking on Chile on Saturday at 12 noon on Channel 7 while Uruguay takes on Colombia at 4: 00 p.m. In the meantime, perennial bad boy Luis Suarez, was banned for four months from all World Cup and football related events and fined $112, 000 for yet another biting incident, for which he seems totally unremorseful. So he will not play against Colombia and will not play in early games for his Liverpool club.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

So far in the World Cup tournament, the African teams have not done well. Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon have returned home after poor showings, while Nigeria and Algeria are still in the mix. One of the problems this World Cup faces with perception is the total exclusion of English-speaking Caribbean nations, which is an issue that has garnered a great deal of attention and is expected to generate heated debate when the tournament ends. The schedule of the Knockout Round is as follows:

The Netherlands' World Cup Team.

The Netherlands’ World Cup Team.

Saturday, June 28, Brazil vs. Chile on Channel 7 and Univision at 12:00 noon, Colombia vs. Uruguay at 4;00 p.m. On Sunday, June 29, Netherlands vs. Mexico at 12 noon on ESPN, and Univision; Costa Rica vs. Greece at 4;00 p.m. Monday, June 30, France vs. Nigeria at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and Germany vs. Algeria at 4;00 p.m. On Tuesday, Argentina vs. Switzerland at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and USA vs. Belgium at 4:00 p.m.

If you have not had a chance to catch the matches so far, treat yourself to what will be an intense, nail-biting Knockout Round that will provide unmatched entertainment. Happy viewing! –OnPointPress.net.

Pele, Brazil, engulfed in turmoil, as World Cup tournament looms

Anti-government protesters demonstrate at the security perimeter two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Castelao stadium in Fortaleza where Spain and Italy are to clash in their FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 semifinal football match, on June 27, 2013. Riot and mounted police set up roadblocks on access roads leading to the stadium as several thousand young demonstrators peacefully rallied outside Ceara State University in Fortaleza Thursday, hours before the match. Nationwide anti-government protests in Brazil initially focused on a hike in transport fares before mushrooming to encompass a variety of gripes including corruption and the lack of investment in health and education as well as to denounce the high costs of hosting the Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup.   AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA        (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Anti-government protesters demonstrate in Brazil as the World Cup nears.

By Carmen Glover

As soccer lovers wait impatiently for the World Cup tournament to begin in Brazil in June, reports continue to surface about the turmoil that has engulfed the host country due to deaths at construction sites, ongoing strikes by workers and outspoken comments by enduring Brazilian soccer legend and global icon: Pele, who has brought his country the World Cup championship three times and is now an adviser to the World Cup organizers

pele

Brazilian soccer legend Pele has accused the World Cup organizers of stealing the money that should have been spent on construction. He has been branded “a traitor” for  discouraging protests as the country prepares to host the World Cup games in June.

According to published reports, Pele has not been shy in voicing his outrage and disgust with his country’s poor handling of the preparations or accusing his countrymen of stealing the money allocated for the construction projects, resulting in the delays. Many of the stadiums that are slated to host games are still unfinished.  Brazil, which is regarded as the country that prides itself as the epitome of playing with finesse and charm is viewed as a mecca of soccer.

A boy holds up a banner as children sit at what is meant to represent a public school classroom, during a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organised by non-governmental organisation (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro May 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

A boy holds up a banner as children sit at what is meant to represent a public school classroom, during a protest against the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on May 14, 2014.

Brazilians have been staging almost daily protests and telling soccer fans to stay home and refrain from going to Brazil to support the World Cup. Reports coming out of Brazil state that the residents are angry that money that should be spent on basic infrastructure and social needs are being used instead to build grand stadiums for the World Cup, while the citizens suffer. This has caused potential tourists and soccer fans to think twice about going to Brazil for the World Cup as they ponder their safety.

Members of Brazil's Homeless Workers' Movement (MTST), who are living at the "People's World Cup Camp" which houses some 2,800 families of the movement in the district of Itaquera near Sao Paulo's World Cup stadium, Arena de Sao Paulo, block a road during a protest against the World Cup in Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014. Brazilians opposed to the World Cup and the public funds spent on the construction of stadiums called for a day of protest around the country.  REUTERS/Nacho Doce (BRAZIL  - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP CIVIL UNREST)

Members of Brazil’s Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST), who are living at the “People’s World Cup Camp” which houses some 2,800 families of the movement in the district of Itaquera near Sao Paulo’s World Cup stadium, Arena de Sao Paulo, block a road during a protest against the World Cup in Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014. Brazilians opposed to the World Cup and the public funds spent on the construction of stadiums called for a day of protest around the country. -Reuters.

It is impossible for soccer fans to ignore the plight of the Brazilians or dismiss their struggles. After all, every citizen has a right to expect a good quality of life and should expect governmental officials to allocate the nation’s funds appropriately.

protests

Protests have continued unabated in Brazil as the World Cup nears.

BBC Radio reported earlier this week that workers labeled Pele “a traitor” because he discouraged them from going on strike during the period when the country is preparing to host the World Cup. But long before the workers went on strike soccer lovers expressed concern about Brazil’s slow pace with constructing the sites for the World Cup matches, leading FIFA president Sepp Blatter to share his own concerns.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President is the face of the World Cup that is rife with controversy.

The turmoil that is roiling Brazil is the last thing that FIFA president Sepp Blatter needs as the days towards the tournament celebrating the beautiful game grow near. At the beginning of the year, Blatter did not mince words in assessing Brazil’s snail-like pace with preparations to host the World Cup.

protess

Brazilian protestors voice their concerns about misuse of government funds.

“It’s the country which is the furthest behind since I’ve been at FIFA,” he said, while also explaining that Brazil is the only country that had a seven-year period of time to prepare. However, the slow pace of preparation almost pales in significance to the concerns of the Brazilian residents who are exercising their right to protest. Their show of civil actions raise an important question: How would you feel if your basic needs were been ignored at the expense of a game that doesn’t benefit you?

People take part in the "Nao Vai Ter Copa" (You are not going to have Cup) protest along Brigadeiro Luis Antonio Avenue, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 25, 2014. Brazil was bracing Saturday for a first wave of nationwide demonstrations against staging the World Cup after activists from the protest group Anonymous went on social media calling for action. AFP PHOTO / Miguel SCHINCARIOL

People take part in the “Nao Vai Ter Copa” (You are not going to have Cup) protest along Brigadeiro Luis Antonio Avenue, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 25, 2014.

From all indications, the unrest and controversy that have engulfed Brazil’s preparations to host the World Cup have cast a pall over the games. This could ultimately dim the enthusiasm of soccer lovers, causing them to think twice about making the trek to Brazil, the heart of soccer, and opt instead to watch the games from the safety of their living rooms or sports bars. It would be hard to blame them, because safety comes first.  –OnPointPress.net.