Sport The Maracana can be seen behind the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro
Now the football is over, Ian Herbert pays tribute to the hosts for the warmth of their welcome to the world, their unexpected success in staging the tournament, and senses a new national belief that can begin to tackle the numerous social problems that blight the country
Sport
A selection of the best players at the World Cup
GALLERY From Messi and Muller, who has impressed us enough to make the top 50 players of this year's World Cup? And there's even room for an England player...
Sport
VIDEO As football fans across the world come to terms with the end of arguably one of the greatest World Cups ever, a German pen maker created its own souvenir to remember Brazil 2014
Sport
Mario Gotze kisses the World Cup, Angela Merkel poses with Lukas Podolski, and Lionel Messi walks off the stage after Argentina's defeat
VIDEO Watch the moment Mario Gotze wrote his name into the history books
Latest international football video


Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final

Lionel Messi does not need to win the World Cup to be considered a great, says Jose Mourinho

Messi stumbled at the final hurdle in the defeat to Germany in the Maracana

Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast

Alan Hansen's 22-year Match of the Day career condensed into one two minute video...

Former Liverpool defender called time on his punditry career at the World Cup final

World Cup final referee Nicola Rizzoli sorted out his hair after spotting himself on the big screen

World Cup 2014: Final referee Nicola Rizzoli sorts out his hair after seeing himself on the big screen in the Maracana

Italian official runs a hand through his hair after spotting himself

Mario Gotze kisses the World Cup, Angela Merkel poses with Lukas Podolski, and Lionel Messi walks off the stage after Argentina's defeat

World Cup 2014: Germany vs Argentina breaks new Facebook and Twitter records

Final whistle and Lionel Messi free-kick sparked frenzied activity

Manuel Neuer of Germany holds the Golden Glove trophy as Lionel Messi of Argentina holds the Golden Ball trophy

World Cup 2014: Diego Maradona says Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball because of 'marketing'

Messi handed the Golden Ball despite Argentina losing to Germany in the final

Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast

BBC coverage trounces ITV in World Cup final viewing figures

BBC One's coverage attracted 9 million more viewers than ITV's simulcast

Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Russian comedian Vitaly Zdorovetskiy streaks, kisses Benedikt Howedes, takes jail selfie

The notorious prankster stripped off and blew kisses to the crowd as he ran towards several bemused looking players on the pitch

An updated anti-gambling advert issued by the National Council on Problem Gambling in Singapore

World Cup 2014: Anti-gambling advert backfires after it correctly predicts Germany to win the World Cup

'Andy's dad' had put all their savings on Germany, but a quick update made light of the correct prediction and managed to convey the dangers of gambling addictions

Getty

Watch Shakira perform 'La La La' at the World Cup 2014 closing ceremony

Singer was joined on stage by Brazilian singer Carlinhos Brown

Manuel Neuer of Germany holds the Golden Glove trophy as Lionel Messi of Argentina holds the Golden Ball trophy

Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: 'Extraordinary Lionel Messi' deserved to win the Golden Ball, claims Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella

Messi picked up the player of the tournament award despite missing out on the Worldd Cup trophy and not scoring since the group stage, but Sabella has backed the forward for his achievement

Mario Gotze celebrates the winning goal in the World Cup final

Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Joachim Low challenged Mario Gotze to prove 'he was better than Lionel Messi' before his World Cup-winning goal

Bayner Munich midfielder came off the bench to net the winning goal and spark unprecedented celebrations for German fans across the globe

Mario Gotze kisses the World Cup, Andrea Merkel poses with Lukas Podolski, and Lionel Messi walks off the stage after Argentina's defeat

World Cup 2014 vine: Mario Gotze writes his name in history to spark German celebrations along with Chancellor Angela Merkel

The World Cup final sent Germany into fits of celebrations, but it was despair for Messi and Co as Argentina came so close yet so far

Argentina's fans clash with riot police after Argentina lost to Germany in their 2014 World Cup final in Brazil, at a public square viewing area in Buenos Aires July 13, 2014

World Cup 2014: 60 arrested in Buenos Aires riots as Argentina takes final loss badly

Police dispersed vast crowd with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon

Sport
PREVIEWPressure builds on Van Gaal, Everton vs Chelsea and other talking points
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
Polish side were booted out of the Champions League for fielding an ineligible player against Celtic earlier this month
Sport
Lip service: Mohamed Al Fayed (left) welcomes new Fulham owner Shahid Khan to Craven Cottage
The former Cottagers owner took exception after he was blamed for the club's current problems
Sport
<b>Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)</b><br/>
<b>Age</b> 26<br/>
<b>Caps</b> 73<br/>
<b>England moment:</b> Sent off at the 2006 World Cup for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho. England go on to lose the quarter-final with Portugal on penalties.
REACTION It's been confirmed the Manchester United striker is now captain for both club AND country
Sport
Sergio Aguero
EXCLUSIVE COLUMNWatching Manchester City on Monday night, the scale of the club’s ambitions was clear for anyone to see. They do not just want to be champions of England; this is a squad built to win the Champions League, too
Sport
Michel Platini has ruled out opposing Sepp Blatter for Fifa’s top job

Tom Peck: Frenchman will not stand against his rival in race to be the head of football's global body

Life and Style
The group wants to see a limit on the number of times young players are allowed to head the ball
Lawsuit aims to see a limit introduced on the number of times young players are allowed to head the ball
Sport
Mario Balotelli's Beatles picture he posted on Instagram
Italian awaits Liverpool debut
Sport
A view of Wembley Stadium
...and hope Wembley will host Euro 2020 final as well
Sport
James Hanson (left) celebrates the winner for Bradford City after three late goals in four minutes saw them come from behind to beat Championship side Leeds
DRAWArsenal face Southampton, West Brom vs Hull and Crystal Palace against Newcastle
Sport
Manuel Almunia pictured during his time at Watford
The stopper has retired from football following the discovery
Sport
England's Frank Lampard and Steven Gerard train together ahead of Saturday's clash with Kazakhstan
COMMENTThe Independent's chief football writer looks back on the international career of Frank Lapard
Sport
VIDEOWatch the moment that the Sky Sports pundit reacts to the goal that ensured Celtic would be playing no part in this season's Champions League
Sport
Real Madrid have unveiled a new black third kit featuring a dragon
Real Madrid have unveiled their new black third kit... featuring dragons

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Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
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Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
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Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
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Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
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Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
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Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

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