Dave Gardner

Brazil is Still a Winner

Created on Jul. 13, 2014 7:11 PM EST

Despite all its upsets, wild results and Cinderella stories, the World Cup invariably ends with the right team celebrating at the end and these finals were no exception.
After their historic demolition of Brazil in the semi-final, anything less than a victory for Germany on Sunday would be an anti-climax.
They have won ugly in these finals and they have won in style. But the Germans always find a way to win. They've never lost a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup so Mario Gotze's super strike in the   112th minute probably saved the Argentinians even more agony.
Germany were the best team in the final. They are the best team in the world. Now it's official.
They didn't build their own training complex at a cost of millions to go home after three games in the group, they intended to stay until the very last.
The Brazilians may not have got the final result the nation wanted, but they have good reason to be proud nevertheless. They proved the naysayers wrong by putting on a splendid tournament, arguably one of the very best, and being effervescent and welcoming hosts.
The story wasn't about unfinished stadiums, crime or street riots. It was essentially about wonderful football.
Perhaps there were too many niggly fouls, too much play acting. But we had goals galore, particularly in the group stages where the old favorites got a real run for their money.
The traditional football powers took all four semi-final places, even if few would have predicted the scorelines. But who would have thought Spain, England and Portugal would be starting their vacations before the knock-out stages had even begun? 
Certainly, if Messi was no surprise as winner of the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player, nobody saw James Rodriguez collecting the Golden Boot with six goals in six games,one of them a candidate for the best goal of the finals.
The US team won the right to be taken seriously, not just in their own country but in the world game. It was an achievement that will accelerate America's growth and progress over the next four years. Who knows where that could lead in Russia?
Costa Rica is still pinching itself over its glorious run.
After being spoilt for the past month, it will be strange waking up for work on Monday without the prospect of some world class soccer to liven up the week.
But we will still have our memories of all those fabulous goals - Van Persie's looping header, James Rodriguez' stunning volley, Germany' seven strikes against Brazil....and the dramatic moment a 22-year-old won the World Cup for his country.

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