The Telegraph
Sunday , July 13 , 2014
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The World Cup, alphabetically

Brasilia: The 2014 World is in its final chapter. Ahead of the summit clash, here’s the A-Z of this edition of the tournament in Brazil.

A — Abysmal Asia: The continent’s four teams failed to grab a win in Brazil, the first time Asia has gone without a victory at a World Cup since 1990 when United Arab Emirates and South Korea each lost all three group games.

B — Bite: Uruguay forward Luis Suarez was slapped with a World Cup record four month ban from football and suspended for nine international matches after sinking his teeth into the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.

C — Cash: Ghana’s players wanted their appearance fees for playing in the World Cup right away so President John Mahama flew millions of dollars to Brasilia in order to appease the squad hours before their make-or-break clash with Portugal.

D — Dilma: Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, along with Fifa boss Sepp Blatter, were routinely booed when shown in the crowd at matches, with many Brazilians angered by their government's extravagant World Cup spending.

E — Embarrassment: A World Cup record defeat, a first loss in a competitive home match in 39 years, it was not meant to end like this for pre-tournament favourites Brazil, who lost 1-7 to Germany in the semi-finals.

F — Fans: The empty stadiums of the South African World Cup four years ago were never going to be repeated with fans flocking from all over the world to watch the action in Brazil.

G — Goals, goals and goals: The group stages were full of them. The knockout stages less so but still the attacking mindset of the 32 teams resulted in 167 goals prior to the final two matches. Four short of the record 171 scored in France in 1998.

H — Hands of Howard: United States goalkeeper Tim Howard made a World Cup record 16 saves in their last-16 clash with Belgium.

I — Invasions: Fans managed to escape security and run on to the pitch in the group match between Germany and Ghana and the last-16 clash involving the United States and Belgium, while an estimated 200 Chilean fans burst into the media centre at the Maracana Stadium before their win over Spain.

J — James Rodriguez: The baby-faced Colombian attacker made himself a household name all over the world after his brilliant displays and six goals in their run to a first quarter-final appearance.

K — Klose: The ageing Miroslav Klose scored his 16th World Cup goal to surpass former Brazil striker Ronaldo’s record of 15.

L — Lotto: The relatively small Italian kit maker managed to muscle out some of the major brands in Brazil thanks to Costa Rica’s unlikely run to a first quarter final.

M — Memes: Social media and the World Cup were as intertwined like never before. After Arjen Robben’s theatrics led to a late penalty against Mexico in the round of 16, fans posted various memes of the Dutch winger lifting an Oscar for Best Actor, competing in Olympic diving, and plunging arms-flailing off the cliffs of Acapulco.

N — Neymar: Neymar’s tournament ended at the last-eight stage when he suffered a cracked vertebra after a heavy challenge against the Colombians.

O — Oldest: Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon became the oldest player to take part in a World Cup when the 43-year-old came off the bench in the South Americans’ 4-1 win over Japan in Group C.

P — Penalties: A record-equalling four matches were settled by penalties in Brazil with Costa Rican enjoying the ecstasy of winning a shoo-tout against Greece to make a first quarter final only to lose to the Dutch the same way.

Q — Queen kiss: Mario Balotelli, whose goal helped Italy beat England, said he would aid out his beaten foe by delivering a victory against Costa Rica in their next match. All the striker wanted in a return was a kiss from the British monarch for his efforts.

R — Recife rain: Torrential rain in the north-eastern Brazilian city led to talk of the Group G decider between the USA and Germany being postponed. Long tailbacks were seen on roads leading to the Pernambuco arena on the outskirts of the city with fans wading through waist-deep water to watch the game which Germany won.

S — Spain: They arrived in Brazil with ambitions of successfully defending the title they won four years ago and winning a fourth consecutive major championship, but exited the World Cup embarrassingly early following a 1-5 defeat by the Dutch and a 0-2 loss to Chile in their opening matches.

T — Technology: Goal-line technology made its World Cup debut with France the first team to be indebted to it when Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares knocked a rebound from the crossbar over the line before scrambling it clear.

U — Under arrest: A Rio court approved the detention of a chief executive of a Swiss hospitality company and 10 other suspects, who are believed to have run a scalping ring for World Cup tickets originally allocated to soccer federations and other VIPs.

V — Vanishing spray: Another World Cup debutant in Brazil. Referees have been reaching for their canister to spray the white foam on the ground around the ball at a free kick and also 10 yards away to ensure no defenders encroach.

W — Water breaks: Searing temperatures and mid-day kick-offs caused players to wilt in the heat and Fifa approving the water breaks.

X — Xherdan Shaqiri: Dubbed the ‘Alpine Messi’ in some quarters, the Swiss midfielder scored a hat-trick in the Group E win over Honduras. It was the 50th treble in World Cup history.

Y — Yuichi Nishimura: The Japanese referee was at the centre of the first officiating controversy of the World Cup when he awarded hosts Brazil a penalty in their Group A clash with Croatia.

Z — Zuniga: Colombian defender Juan Zuniga became public enemy number one in Brazil when he carelessly thrust his knee into the back of the hosts’ talisman Neymar, who suffered a cracked vertebra and was ruled out of the World Cup.