Ten things we learned from the World Cup

Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo uses a spray can to draw a foam line marking the position of the wall during the Group D match the Estadio do Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. PIC: PA
Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo uses a spray can to draw a foam line marking the position of the wall during the Group D match the Estadio do Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. PIC: PA
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WHAT Brazil taught us about football and other stuff, according to Grant Woodward.

1. GERMANY RULE WORLD FOOTBALL

Ok, so Brazil have won one more World Cup than them, but in the last 40 years it’s 3-2 to the Germans. More to the point, the manner in which Jogi Low’s team humiliated the host nation in the semi-finals will live long in the collective consciousness.

2. FREE KICK FOAM IS HERE TO STAY

For some, the real star of Brazil 2014 came in a small spray can. The magic foam brandished by the refs finally allowed them to clock players as they crept forward at free kicks. Its heady mix of butane, isobutane, propane gas, water and other chemicals meant it quickly vanished from the pitch and, on occasion, players’ boots.

3. BRAZILIAN WOMEN ARE OFFICIALLY STUNNING

It’s something that has long been suspected, but it was good to have it confirmed by the TV cameras – especially at intervals of roughly every five minutes.

4. ADRIAN CHILES DOESN’T DO HOT WEATHER

There were already concerns over the ITV frontman’s ability to cope with the heat during England’s warm-up games in Miami when he looked like he was about to spontaneously combust. Sure enough, as the likes of Gus Poyet and Patrick Viera looked cool on Copacabana Beach, Chiles resembled an embarrassing dad as he quickly turned pink in bad shorts and flip flops.

5. IT’S THE END OF AN ERA FOR SPAIN

Having won three major tournaments on the bounce, everyone was wondering if tiki taka could take the Spanish to number four. We didn’t have to wait long for an answer. About 65 minutes in fact – the time it took a Robben and van Persie-inspired Netherlands to rack up five goals against them in their opening group game.

6. BURGLARS PREFER ITV TO THE BEEB

When Ian Wright packed his bags for Brazil, he probably didn’t bank on being back in Blighty within a few days after an armed gang stole his MBE and rare watches from his London home, threatening his wife at at knifepoint in the process. They say you should never tell people you’re going on holiday, but it’s a whole lot trickier to cover your tracks when you’re being watched live on telly by 12m people.

7. EUROPEAN CLUB FOOTBALL DOMINATES

All 22 players who started the final played for European club teams. In 2010, six of the winning Spanish team played for Barcelona, this time there were six Germans from Bayern Munich.

8. IT’S ABOUT THE TEAM, NOT THE PLAYERS

Can you name three Algerian players? How about the USA? Or Costa Rica? This World Cup proved that supposedly star-studded line-ups can look distinctly second-rate against teams with clear tactical plans and players who are able to execute them – even if they’re not (and are never likely to be) household names.

9. THIS WASN’T THE BEST EVER WORLD CUP

Exciting though it was at times, the regular claims that we were witnessing the greatest World Cup ever staged were wide of the mark. The excitement of the opening games was more down to shoddy defending than scintillating

attacking. Alan Hansen is still having therapy after witnessing Brazil’s meltdown against Germany.

10. ENGLAND WILL NEVER WIN IT AGAIN. EVER.

Depressing though it is, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion after England looked further behind the rest of the world than ever before. Hopes were raised slightly after the narrow loss to Italy, but little did we know they wouldn’t qualify for the knock-out stages either. Still, at least we didn’t have to play Germany.

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