World Cup 2014: Abiding memories from the tournament in Brazil

Our football writers pick their abiding memories from the World Cup

 

SAM WALLACE - Chief football correspondent

It is hard to imagine the pressure on the Brazil team

 I had always presumed they were under a lot of expectation to win regardless of where the World Cup was played. But seeing the crowds here gathering to watch games in parks and on beaches brought home just how much pressure these boys play under.

IAN HERBERT - Football correspondent

Fireworks in Sao Paulo

They exploded across the Sao Paulo night sky after Brazil’s equaliser in the tournament’s opening match against Croatia. There is a fragility about the Brazilian optimism, because deep down in the nation’s psyche resides an unmistakeable inferiority complex that makes the nation special. While it lasted, Brazil’s belief was beautiful to behold.

GLENN MOORE - Football editor

Pele, Cruyff, Kempes, Tardelli, Maradona, Schillaci, Letchkov, Owen and Beckham, Ronaldo, Zidane, Iniesta. Who follows? No individual shone brightly enough, but what will stick in the memory is Germany slicing through Brazil’s defence in Belo Horizonte again and again and again.

JACK PITT-BROOKE - Football writer

It can only be the remarkable story of Brazil, of the early hope and the hubris, and the unprecedented 7-1 dissection by Germany in the semi-finals. The passion and fervour was too much for the players, who were unable to play with their heads when they needed to the most.

TIM RICH - Football writer

They paid £11 billion for the tournament, Fortaleza never got its metro, nor Manaus its monorail but their warmth, their welcome and their unfettered joy – nobody else would have olé’d the Germans when their team was 7-0 down – are a greater testament to the host nation’s spirit than any trophy.

SIMON HART - Football writer

Goalfests and goalkeeping feats on the pitch, and off it: 1) the gracious, measured response of Costa Rica’s players to their quarter-final shoot-out defeat, which was a lesson in how to lose; and 2) the chatty Salvador taxi drivers with their insights into the very unequal world beyond the World Cup bubble.

MIGUEL DELANEY - Football writer

The six minutes of the Belo Horizonte semi-final

Spain’s drastic decline will probably be more important in football history, but there’s no accounting for the emotional impact of a genuine event like Brazil’s thrashing. Given the stakes, given the context, given the history, it may be the most stunning match ever.

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