The World Cup drew me back in
Article by Ross Bell @RossBell1984
I had grown disillusioned with football over the past year or so, the seemingly never ending shambles that is Leeds United the club I was cursed to support have stumbled from one tragic event to the next over the past 18 months. From blown takeovers, to the often fortnightly hammering's by inferior teams, Yes I’m talking about you Sheffield .
However hard we tried we couldn't seem to get out of our own way in terms of humiliation, public displays of ineptitude, drugs scandals, spy cameras in toilets the list goes on so much so that it became more akin to a series of 24 than the actions of a football club. With each passing week my feelings towards my club and the sport in general began to falter only to be occasionally uplifted again by a spectacular event or moment of sheer individual brilliance you couldn't help but love it.
Heading in to this summer, with the future of Leeds United very much under a cloud, no manager, no idea who actually owns us, best players leaving the club, then appointing a manager who'd previous job had been several levels below the standard required to make a name impact alone I was this close to quitting the sport I had loved for 25 or so years that was until kick off in Arena Corinthians, São Paulo one night in mid June.
The passion with which the Brazilian players sung the national anthem with was almost hypnotic and you couldn't help but be drawn in to it. Then 11 minutes in to the game Marcelo directed the ball past his own keeper to give Croatia a shock lead and ever since then my love of football has returned in full.
Brazil of course went on to win that game 3-1 but Croatia's spirit was to be admired and almost every game since that opening night has been hugely enjoyable, of course every tournament has a few stinkers (Nigeria v Iran I’m looking at you) and the obvious disappointing showing from England aside this has been in this writers opinion the greatest World Cup since USA 94
The goals , oh the glorious goals, James Rodriguez, Jermaine Jones, Robin van Persie, Tim Cahill to name but a few off the top of my head lit up the tournament with stunning strikes of various kinds but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better goal than the actual World Cup winner itself the control on the chest from Gotze is sublime only bettered by the twisting volley which sailed past Romero in to the far corner of the net, it was a goal worthy of winning such a tournament.
Overall winners Germany were its easy to say now the best team in the whole thing but many questioned the abilities of their squad throughout the past month before the whole world stood up and saw how devastating thy can be when the destroyed Brazil 7-1 in their own back yard, Sure Brazil were missing their two best players and arguably the world’s best defender but the outcome of the game would have remained the same regardless, the score line however would probably (definitely) have been more respectable.
On a upcoming podcast we are going to discuss a few of our personal favourites from the competition, I’m unsure at this time if I’ll be on that show so ill list mine now for you.
Best Manager - Joachim Low, after years of being bridesmaids he finally became the bride.
Villain of the tournament - The whole England squad, not one stand out performer amongst them.
Best Goal - For days I was convinced it was Rodriguez's wonder strike but for me Jones' vs Portugal.
Moment of the competition - Spain's capitulation, don’t get me wrong I didn’t take pleasure in seeing the world greatest passing circus collapse v Holland like they did but I'm glad they didn't win the whole thing again.
And finally surprise package has to go to Costa Rica, is the performance in this world cup a one off? Who knows? We will just have to keep a eye on how they go before most of us see them again in 4 years time.
So in closing thank you Brazil! You hosted a hell of a competition and if nothing else you made one football fan fall back in love with the sport again.