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By Rose Maramba
Germany shot Brazil’s dreams of winning the World Cup championship to pieces in the semifinals and brought a subdued Lionel Messi, captain of the Argentine team, to his knees in a tense final last Sunday, 13 July. The score gave the Germans a 1-0 victory over Argentina. It was Germany’s fourth World Cup win which, moreover, blasted the long-standing notion that no European could ever bag the World Cup trophy in Latin America.
Mario Götze’s goal proved fatal to the Argentine team and it happened too just as when fans around the world were sure that the match would be settled by penalty shootouts after the 90-minute 0-0 deadlock. Seven minutes from the end of extra time, Götze catapulted Germany to the highest peak of football glory at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, humiliating Argentina and particularly Messi who had hoped to match Diego Armando Maradona’s historic feat and take Argentina to where Götze had taken his country instead.
It was 29 June 1986, the day of the final round of the World Cup at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Argentina, like in 2014, was playing against Germany. Argentina was able to qualify for the final, thanks to Maradona’s four goals in earlier rounds, one of which became known as “ Goal of the Century.” During the final match, Maradona maneuvered the ball so that Jorge Burruchaga could, and did, convert it into a goal, breaking the 2-2 tie in favor of Argentina. Maradona, captain of the Argentine national team and absolute hero, received the trophy in the presence of 115,000 spectators.
For all that, the 13th of July 2014 was actually the second time Germany has beaten Argentina in a World Cup final, the first being 24 years ago in 1990 which was also the last time Germany had won the World Cup. The score then was 2-1.
The genius that is associated with Messi’s footballing was clearly not in sight in Maracana despite some football commentators’ claim that it actually shone through at odd moments. For the last ditch, Messi free-kicked the ball and sent it sailing into the stand which is of course as far away as you could get from goal.
What is one team’s sadness through defeat could be another team’s joy even if the latter was no longer in the running for the trophy. This was the case of Brazil who got a severe 7-1 thrashing from Germany in the semi-final and yet gloated over Germany’s win! There was nothing so hateful to the Brazilians as the thought of Argentine champions partying in Copacabana, and girls in Ipanema swooning all over them.
So that’s it for World Cup 2014. The next one will be hosted by Russia in 2018. FIFA is keeping its fingers crossed the Crimean crisis will have been resolved by then and that Russia and Ukraine are back in each other’s arms. Qatar has been accused of buying votes for the privilege of hosting the World Cup in 2022 but that’s where it will be held anyway.
The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world and generates more interest than, say, the Olympic Games. Something like 800 million people watch the World Cup final and the cumulative audience for the one-month duration of the matches could come to 30 billion, thereby attracting important multinational sponsors. It has been predicted that for hosting World Cup 2014 Brazil would rake in over $11 billion in revenues.
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