On July 13, 2014, soccer fans around the world watched as German team member Mario Götze scored the only goal in the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With a final score of 1–0, the German team became the world champions. For most of the match, the teams were tied 0–0, but Götze’s goal during extra time led to Germany’s win. Throughout the game, Argentina came close to scoring many times. Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi, attempted many shots, but none of them were on target. Still, many fans consider Messi to be the best player in the world.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup began on June 12 with a soccer match between host country Brazil and Croatia. Soccer is known as football in most places outside the United States. Brazilians call it futebol. During the World Cup, 32 national football teams starring the best players in the game competed against each other. They played in 64 matches across 12 different cities throughout Brazil. These included Rio, Brasília, and São Paulo.
In the World Cup, the national teams of 31 countries advanced through qualification rounds that started back in June 2011. They competed for a chance to participate with the host nation Brazil in the final tournament. During the World Cup, players play for the team of the country they are from. The rest of the year, they may play for a “club” team in another country. For example, Messi plays for his country of Argentina during the World Cup, but usually he plays for the Spanish club FC Barcelona.
The 32 national teams were divided into eight groups—Groups A through H. During this stage of the tournament, each group of four teams played the other teams in their group. After these three games, the two teams with the most points from each group moved onto the knockout stage. The teams that moved onto the knockout stage did not necessarily win all of their matches. They had the most points from their group based on wins, ties, number of goals, and other factors.
Once a team makes it to the knockout stage, they must win all of their games or they are out of the tournament. For example, the United States played well in the World Cup, but in their first game of the knockout round, they lost to Belgium and were out. In one of the most notable games of this stage, Germany beat Brazil 7–1. Most fans were expecting this to be a closer match.
Despite worries that Brazil wasn’t ready to host the World Cup, the event was a great success. Brazilians were disappointed that their team did not make it to the final. The matches were exciting, however, and many fans from around the world attended. Total attendance for this year’s World Cup games was estimated at more than three million people. Fans who could not go to the matches in the stadiums enjoyed watching them on huge screens at Copacabana Beach in Rio. Millions of fans around the world gathered together to watch the games on television.
Image credit: ©Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
- SI Kids Guide to the 2014 World Cup
Check out Sports Illustrated for Kids guide to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
- World Cup 2014 at CBBC Newsround
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- Photos: World Cup Champion Germany Celebrates
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