It will go down as one of the craziest games in soccer history. Brazil, five-time World Cup champions, were torn asunder by Germany, who humiliated this year's hosts 7-1 in front of their own fans. Germany scored 5 times within 18 minutes in the first half, destroying Brazil's hopes of a sixth trophy and sending shock waves throughout the country.The goal difference tied with Brazil's worst-ever defeat, in 1920 to Uruguay.
Clint Dempsey scores in 29 seconds
Clint Dempsey got Team USA off to a running start less than 30 seconds into their first group match, against Ghana. Dribbling around a still-stunned Ghana defense and slamming the shot home with clinical precision, Dempsey became the fastest goal-scorer in this World Cup and the fifth-fasted in the history of the tournament.
Columbia's goal celebrations
Colombia were the most entertaining side to watch this World Cup. whether it was the beautiful goal scoring of star James Rodriguez (who won the tournament's golden boot for most goals, with six) or the team's extended goal celebrations. These coordinated dance routines, including one inspired by Michael Jackson's “Thriller” won over the hearts of neutrals worldwide.
Ronaldo's dribbling against Team USA
Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo, who came to the tournament injured, was underwhelming for much of World Cup but he dazzled against Team USA, showing off enough fancy footwork for a series of highlight reels match and an amazing, injury time goal to tie the game. In Portugal's last match against Ghana, Ronaldo went from enemy of the States to all-American hero when his goal meant the US went through to the second round.
Germany wins its fourth World Cup
In the end, it wasn't much of a surprise to see the German team raise the championship trophy. Their tight squad seemed to get better with every match - culminating in their 7-1 destruction of Brazil in the semi-finals. But the final against Argentina was a different matter. With no space between both sides it was anyone's match until, deep into extra time, substitute Mario Gotze scored to give Germany's its first World Cup since 1990 and its first ever as a unified country.
Jurgen Klinsmann's "Please Excuse" letter
In an open letter, Team USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann asked America's employers to give their workers the day off to cheer for the US in their deciding group match against Germany. A lot did – or simply looked the other way while their employees watched online. Germany won 1-0 but it was enough to see the US through to the second round.
Messi's free kick against Iran
The beautiful game's most beautiful player didn't always shine at the 2014 World Cup but he turned on the magic in the dying minutes of Argentina's game against Iran. A picture-perfect free kick gave Lionel Messi his fourth goal and sent Argentina through.
The Netherlands trash Spain 5-1
It started as most had expected, with a (questionable) penalty for Spain and a familiar 1-0 score line in their first match against the Netherlands. Then Dutchman Robin van Persie made an amazing flying header to tie the score and the floodgates opened. What followed was a goal fest for the Dutch, who scored almost at will, decimating Spain's legendary defense. It was a sign of things to come. Spain, the defending world champions, were knocked out in the first round.
The Neymar foul
Brazil's quarter final match against Columbia was a nasty one. Brazil's team had been fouling Columbian star James Rodriguez, and going unpunished throughout the game. Near the end of the match, Colombia responded in kind. Juan Camilo Zuniga made a nasty challenge against Neymar Jr. kneeing him in the back and sending the tournament's top star to the pitch screaming in pain. The attack fractured a vertebra and put Neymar out of the World Cup for good.
The Suarez bite
Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez was the big villain going into this World Cup and he didn't disappoint. Late in the opening round match between Uruguay and Italy, Suarez, unprovoked, turned and bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. What followed was a farce, with Suarez first claiming he'd accidentally hit his mouth against Chiellini's shoulder and the Uruguayan coach blaming everything on the English media, who brought up the fact that Suarez has a history of this sort of thing, having bitten two other players in the past. In the end, the player they call “the cannibal” received a four-month ban.
Teddy Goalsavelt, Team USA's number one fan.
American's 26th President emerged as Team USA's number one fan thanks to Chicago ad man Mike D'Amico, who became an Internet superstar after the TV cameras caught him in his Teddy Roosevelt costume celebrating Jermaine Jones' first goal in the US' 2-2 draw with Portugal. Invites to fan parties and late night talk show appearances followed.
Guillermo Ochoa's Brazilian shutout
It was a tournament of great goalkeeper and few better than Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa, who turned in the match of his life in Mexico's first round game against Brazil. Ochoa stopped shot after close-range shot, eventually shutting out Brazil to end the match 0-0. Stunned by his performance, one announcer proclaimed “Are they building a statue for him back in Mexico City or what?!”
Tim Howard's 16 saves against Belgium
Arguably the stand-out individual performance of the tournament came from US goalie Tim Howard in second round match against Belgium. The favored Belgians hammered shots at the American keeper but he stopped shot after shot, recording an amazing 16 saves, the most ever in a World Cup, since records began being kept in 1966. Sadly, it still wasn't enough. Belgium beat Team USA in extra time 2-1. against Belgium, when he made 16 saves.