Gradebook: How did each country fare at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?

9 Comments

With the 2014 World Cup done and dusted, it is time to wrap things up and reflect on how each team performed in Brazil.

From Champions Germany to the disappointing early exits of Italy, Spain, England and Portugal, we run the rule over all 32 teams who took part in South America.

[ RELATED: Story of the 2014 World Cup

How did the U.S. do, you ask?

Well, scroll down a little bit and you will find out!

Enjoy.

Top 10 goals | PST’s best XI | Story of the WCTop 10 moments | Top stats |


GRADE
 source:  Champions A+
GERMANY: The Champions had a wonderful tournament and hardly put a foot wrong. The ‘Golden Generation’ deserved the golden trophy. Goals galore and solid as a rock.
 source: Getty Images  Third Place A
NETHERLANDS: Louis van Gaal’s men restored the pride of a nation as veterans and youngsters combined to dazzle. Unlucky not to make the final. A joy to watch.
 source: AP Runners Up A
ARGENTINA: Sabella’s men only trailed for 7 minutes the entire tournament. That was the final 7 minutes of the final. Messi tried to inspire them, but they came up agonizingly short.
 source: AP  Quarterfinals A
COSTA RICA: The real surprise package as the CONCACAF nation topped their group and were within PKs of the semifinals. Marvelous from Los Ticos.
 source: AP  Quarterfinals A- COLOMBIA: The darlings of the tournament, James Rodriguez was sublime and Los Cafeteros played sexy soccer. Should have made the semis.
 source: AP  Round of 16  B+ CHILE: They almost knocked out Brazil in the last 16 and probably deserved too. Sanchez, Vidal and co. will be back. Wonderful energy.
 source: Getty Images  Quarterfinals  B+ FRANCE: Didier Deschamps has constructed a fine French side. Benzema scored goals, Pogba and Varane are talents. Unlucky no to make the final four.
 source: AP  Round of 16  B+ USA: Out of the ‘Group of Death’ and so close to snatching a miracle win vs. Belgium. Klinsmann’s men have made progress. Can they kick on from this?
source: AP  Round of 16  B+ ALGERIA: They defended for their lives and gave Germany a real scare in the last 16. The Desert Foxes can be proud.
source: AP  Round of 16  B+ MEXICO: We love Herrera’s celebrations and El Tri were two minutes away from the quarterfinals. Wonderful unity after the qualifying debacle.
source:   Quarterfinals B BELGIUM: The Belgians never truly got going but came close to making the final four. They kept every game close, but the offense never sparked. Slightly disappointing.
 source: Getty Images Fourth place B
BRAZIL: They were expected to win this and were crushed in the semifinals 7-1. They limped through the knockout rounds and Neymar’s injury was the last straw. Not a great Brazil side, but they battled.
 source: Getty Images Round of 16 B
SWITZERLAND: The Swiss are such a funny team. They were hammered by France, then took Argentina all the way to the 118th minute before being knocked out. Stubborn.
 source: AP  Round of 16   B- GREECE: How they got to the last 16, I do not know. However they lost on PKs to Costa Rica and predictably failed to get going offensively.
 source: AP  Group Stage   B-
BOSNIA: They didn’t make it out of their group, but they should have. They beat Iran, just lost to Argentina and somehow lost to Nigeria when they missed a hatful of chances. Great showing by the rookies.
 source: AP Round of 16   C+ URUGUAY: They just made it out of Group D ahead of England and Italy but were shown up by Colombia. Luis Suarez let Uruguay down and were the reason they left early.
 source: AP Round of 16   C+ NIGERIA: Solid but unspectacular, the African champions did well. They escaped from an easy group, battled vs. France but poor defending undid their good work.
 source: AP  Group Stage  C-
ITALY: Beating England in their opener should have been the perfect springboard. Wrong. Two 1-0 defeats to Costa Rica and Uruguay sent the Italians home. Poor showing.
 source: AP Group Stage   D+
IVORY COAST: Even Didier Drogba couldn’t inspire Les Elephants to the knockout rounds. On paper they are superb but at times the defending was woeful.
 source: AP Group Stage   D+
ENGLAND: No wins. One point. Hopes of a nation shattered. England looked bright vs. Italy and Uruguay but silly mistakes cost them. Bright future but how long will this rebuild take?
 source: Getty Images Group Stage  D- GHANA: They gave it a good go, but poor finishing cost them time and time again. Defeat to the U.S. and Portugal was the killer. Played well to draw with Germany.
 source: Getty Images  Group Stage  D- AUSTRALIA: Lost all three games but certainly not disgraced. Took the Netherlands all the way and they were in a tough group. New era for the Socceroos as Cahill, left, hang up the boots.
 source: AP  Group Stage D- RUSSIA: Fabio Capello has a lot of questions to answer as his side crashed out. Awful goalkeeping errors aside, Russia never looked comfortable. The hosts of the next World Cup must improve.
 source: AP  Group Stage D- ECUADOR: So close, but so far. When all was said and done the Swiss just pipped Ecuador. However the South Americans just didn’t have the quality in the final third. Silly mistakes throughout.
 source:   Group Stage D- IRAN: Carlos Quieroz almost secured a famous draw for his side vs. Argentina but a late Messi wondergoal undid Iran. Not bad. Not great either.
 source: AP Group Stage F
CROATIA: Robbed vs. Brazil in the opener and never recovered. Mexico battered them. Olic and co. looked tired and ageing.
 source: AP Group Stage F
KOREA: Just poor from South Korea. They led Russia briefly but that was as good as it got. No wins. Bottom of their group.
 source: AP Group Stage F
PORTUGAL: Ronaldo’s boys failed miserably. They beat Ghana at the death, but they were hammered by Germany and grabbed a last-gasp point vs. USA. Shaky throughout.
 source:  Group Stage F
SPAIN: The inquest started a while ago as the defending champs were dumped out. A 5-1 hammering by Holland, then 2-0 by Chile, the stuff nightmares are made of. End of an era?
 source: Reuters Group Stage F
HONDURAS: No points. Just one goal scored. The CONCACAF minnows continue to qualify for World Cups but don’t do anything when they get there.
source: AP  Group Stage F
JAPAN: Very disappointing for the Japanese as Honda and Kagawa couldn’t create anything. One point and that was it.
 source: AP Group Stage F
CAMEROON: A shamble from start to finish. Squabbling over bonuses led to a lack of focus. Outclassed in every game as they lost all three.

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Leave a comment

AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.

Europa League preview: Rating every second leg

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund are one of many teams with their UEFA Europa League fates realistically in the balance come Thursday’s second legs of the Round of 32.

[ MORE: Sevilla 0-1 Man Utd | Mourinho reacts ]

Aside from a sextet of big teams posting blowouts, there’s still hope for the Round of 16 and a step closer to an automatic berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League.

Basically done

Atletico Madrid 4-1 Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon 3-1 Astana — 1 p.m. ET
Arsenal 3-0 Ostersund — 3:05 p.m. ET
Milan 3-0 Ludogorets Razgrad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Spartak Moscow — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga 0-3 Marseille — 3:05 p.m. ET

In four of these cases, the heavy favorites emerged with multiple goal leads and at least three away goals.

Actually done

CSKA Moscow beat Red Star Belgrade 1-0 on Wednesday to win 1-0 on aggregate.

Unlikely, but big club lurks

RB Leipzig 3-1 Napoli — 1 p.m. ET
Villarreal 1-3 Lyon — 1 p.m. ET

In the case of Napoli, their 3-1 home loss to Leipzig was stunning but it’s impossible to rule out a club with such firepower. Villarreal trails by two to Lyon, but is home and dangerous.

Advantage one side, but anyone’s guess

Lokomotiv Moscow 3-2 Nice — 11 a.m. ET
Lazio 0-1 FCSB — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 0-1 Celtic — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg 2-2 Real Sociedad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Atalanta 2-3 Borussia Dortmund — 3:05 p.m. ET

Salzburg’s two away goals in a draw feels like a one-goal lead, and the one-goal matches are especially interesting. In the case of Atalanta, 1-0 to the Serie A side could undo Michy Batshuayi‘s first leg heroics for BVB.

Wide open

Plzen 1-1 Partizan Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 AEK Athens — 1 p.m. ET

Yes, nil-nil will get it done for the hosts, but there wasn’t a 0-0 in the entire group of first legs.