A World Cup to savour and remember
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Most pundits have rated the 2014 World Cup one of the best ever, and it's certainly been packed with goals and incidents for the neutral.
The Luis Suarez biting incident will probably be what the general public most remembers from the event, whoever wins tomorrow's final between Germany and Argentina.
English football fans will take many months to get over their team's early exit, which also affected pubs across the region, who were expecting a boost in trade with fans flocking to watch the games.
Stuart Warren, bar manager at the Angel Gardens in Angel Road, Norwich, which has shown all the matches, said that England's early exit affected trade. He said: 'Football-wise there have been a few strange results, with the 7-1 semi-final and the Spain versus Holland match. I think, football-wise the World Cup has been good. But business-wise, I don't think showing the matches has boosted trade that much. I think it was always going to depend on how well England did, and they went out in the first week.'
While it may have been hot and humid out there, the success of Germany and Holland, especially, has shown that European teams have nothing to fear playing a tournament in South America.
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Holland showed once again they were the 'nearly' men of world football by failing at the semi-final.
As a keen Germanophile, I wanted the Germans to do well in the tournament, but never expected them to make the final.
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Could this be the year the Germans' golden generation finally picks up to the mantle of previous World Cup-winning teams?
Their demolition of Brazil, 7-1, in the semi-final may turn out to be a seismic moment, when the footballing crown passed from the Brazilians to the Germans.
If Germany do lose in the final, however, there will at least be a silver lining for me. I picked Argentina in the office sweepstakes, so I could pick up some extra change.
While the Argentinians have hardly set the World Cup alight, they have managed to do whatever was required of them in each previous round.
Could the final be the showcase for Lionel Messi? However many neat touches and assists he has been credited with so far, he does not seem to me to have dominated games as much as Diego Maradona did, back in 1986 and 1990.
The World Cup has also seen several footballing minnows taking the limelight, with Costa Rica shocking many by beating the Italians and drawing with England. The USA also did well, which might be significant for the future of the sport there.
On another note, has anyone else been shocked by the amazing singing of the national anthems by teams at this World Cup?
The Brazilian team surpassed themselves at the semi-final with even the mascots joining in. It did not do them much good on that occasion, but it was great TV.