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.

Javier Hernandez reflects on Premier League return

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Javier Hernandez is ready to get back to scoring goals in the Premier League.

If that happens, get ready to see plenty of Claret and Blue shirts with “Chicharito” on the back of them.

[ MORE: Where will Chicharito slot in? ]

Chicharito, 29, signed a three-year deal with the Hammers on Monday making him the best paid player in club history with wages of just over $180,000 per week. He won two Premier League titles in five seasons at Manchester United and is still lauded at Old Trafford for his crucial goals in big games with 59 goals in 157 appearances in all competitions.

Speaking to West Ham’s in-house TV channel, the El Tri star revealed exactly why he’s looking forward to a return to the PL.

“I am very excited. The last three years – the loan in Madrid and the two years with Leverkusen – were fantastic for me, and they helped me to improve a lot. But before then I was in England for four years – it was my first chapter in my European career – and now to be back makes me very happy,” Hernandez said.

“For me it is the most competitive in the world. There are no easy games, you can see that the top 10 can change a lot. The Premier League challenges you and that is why I am here – I want to improve. I’m very desperate for the season to start now, and help the team to achieve their objectives next season.”

West Ham’s objectives may have changed slightly after Slaven Bilic‘s side pushed through four new signings this summer and three in quick succession.

Chicharito has joined Marko Arnautovic and Joe Hart by signing for the east London club over the past 10 days, while Pablo Zabaleta had already arrived on a free transfer.

With vast PL and international experience in the four summer signings, Bilic’s aims have probably jumped from finishing in the top 10 to pushing for seventh place and the final Europa League spot. The Hammers finished last season strongly after a poor start which was them compounded by failing to settle into their new London Stadium home, the Dimtri Payet saga and then multiple defensive injuries.

Chicharito has the fifth-best goals per minute ratio in Premier League history so in theory combining his predatory skills with the creativity of Manuel Lanzini, Arnautovic and Michail Antonio should work very well indeed.

Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer hasn’t slowed down his production in the Bundesliga over the past two seasons, scoring 28 goals in 54 league appearances for Leverkusen and his displays in recent 2018 World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup proved his movement is as sharp as ever.

The Hammers have gambled on Chicharito providing the goals to help them challenge for Europe once again and on paper it looks like a smart bet.

Ronald Koeman confirms Ross Barkley to leave Everton

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ronald Koeman has confirmed that Ross Barkley will not play for Everton.

[ MORE: Mbappe to Man City? ]

Barkley, 23, has just one year left on his current deal at Everton but the playmaker has turned down a new deal with his boyhood club and Koeman revealed he wants a “new challenge” elsewhere.

When asked if he was certain Barkley would leave Koeman replied “100 percent” but he did state that there aren’t any offers on the table as things stand.

Ahead of Everton’s UEFA Europa League third qualifying round firs leg against MFK Ruzomberok at Goodison Park on Thursday, Koeman revealed the new about Barkley. 

“His personal situation is not so difficult. We made a really good offer to him to sign a new contract and he declined that contract and he told me he is looking for a new challenge,” Koeman said. “It is not Everton’s future anymore. It is his decision. I need to respect that and we will see what happens because what I heard from the board at the moment, it’s not really an offer on the table for Ross.”

The England international is currently recovering from surgery on his groin and is expected to be out until the end of August.

With Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez arriving this summer, plus the Toffees pushing hard to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City, it’s not difficult to see why Barkley sees his future elsewhere and the enigmatic attacking midfielder was criticized by Koeman on multiple occasions last season.

Where could Barkley go?

Tottenham and Arsenal are destinations which keep cropping up but neither are likely to spend over $30 million to bring him to north London and neither are exactly short of playmaking midfielders. It’s probably right that Barkley, once the brightest hope of English soccer, gets a fresh start elsewhere as his contract situation has left the fanbase, and Koeman, more than a little frustrated over the past 12 months.

After losing his starting spot with the English national team to Dele Alli over the past year, plus his regular spot at Everton under severe threat, Barkley’s career is reaching a pivotal stage.

The young talent who burst onto the scene ahead of the 2014 World Cup was supposed to be the next Rooney but his career is in real danger of petering out if he doesn’t find the right club to fit his talents and help him regain his form. The talent is there with Barkley but many, including Koeman, have questioned his commitment to truly realize his potential.

Jose Mourinho slams “dangerous” summer of spending

Getty Images
1 Comment

Manchester United’s manager isn’t happy with the amount of money being spent this summer in the transfer market.

[ MORE: Mbappe to Man City?  

He has spent $156 million on just two players, but we will leave that fact to one side, like Jose has, for the moment…

Speaking in Washington D.C. ahead of United’s final game of their U.S. tour against Barcelona on Wednesday, Mourinho defended United breaking the world transfer record to sign Paul Pogba last summer and then spending a total which could rise to $117 million on Romelu Lukaku this summer.

“Every club is getting good players, every club is investing a lot and some clubs are paying too much and by paying too much they create a very strange and out of control market,” Mourinho told the BBC. “But this is the reality now. I always thought the problem is not what you pay for these kind of (top) players, I don’t think the problem is what you pay for Pogba, I don’t think the problem is going to pay crazy for Neymar.

“I think the problem is with the other group which is a big group because players like Pogba, there is one or two (big) transfers (like that) per transfer window. The other ones are where you have 100 transfers and for me that is the dangerous area of the market. Some clubs are paying or they don’t buy because they don’t accept the numbers that are now ruling the market, or to do it they have to go the same levels and for me that’s what worries me a little bit because now we speak about £30million, £40million, £50million in such an easy way.”

Has he got a point?

The elite players will always demand the biggest fees with the likes of Messi, Pogba, Lukaku, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez rightly demanding huge sums given their output of goals and assists. Yet when defensive players are being bought for over $65 million, e.g. Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy at Manchester City, that’s when eyebrows being to raise.

Of course, Mourinho is throwing stones from inside a glass house because United have been big spenders for quite some time and although they aren’t shelling out the sums Manchester City could for Kylian Mbappe this summer and what Chelsea have over the last 15 years in their dramatic rebuild under Roman Abramovich, they have still spent almost $900 million in transfer fees alone over the past four seasons.

Mourinho has spent over $341 million on new players since arriving last summer…

Yes, he has got a point that good to very good players are now costing more than world-class players did five years ago, but the main debate here is whether or not these fees are sustainable. The answer is, probably not, and Mourinho wants to let United’s fans know he won’t pay over the odds as he intimates crosstown rivals Man City are…

The mind games never end with Jose.

Pep Guardiola gives update on Kylian Mbappe interest

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pep Guardiola has given an intriguing update on Manchester City’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe.

[ PHOTOS: Man City’s new away kit ]

With reports in Spain stating that Real Madrid had agreed a $208 million deal for the 18-year-old striker, Man City and others were still said to be pushing hard to sign the French international with the Premier League side waiting to hear back from Monaco.

Speaking in Los Angeles ahead of City’s International Champions Cup game against Real Madrid on Wednesday, Guardiola revealed he hasn’t given up hope of signing the powerful forward.

“The player is still at Monaco – still on that team,” Guardiola said via the Manchester Evening News. “Anything can happen – we are still looking at a lot of other players, but he is still on that team. The Premier League is so attractive and the agreements are good. All the clubs think about their potential and their squads getting better. We try and we will see. Now there is a period where there are a lot of doubts in terms of the players who are here and who will be here or not. We have to wait and meanwhile prepare the team as well as possible.”

Pep has just left enough there to suggest City hope they can lure Mbappe to the Etihad Stadium. He also insisted they can compete financially with Real Madrid and Europe’s superpowers when it comes to spending.

“Madrid doesn’t have more than Manchester City have,” Guardiola said. “Players are very important and we always try to get the best players possible. Abu Dhabi came in and invested in the team. Over the past five or six years we climbed to the top and we’re now in the top three or four. In order to get to the level of Madrid or Barcelona we just need time.”

So, they need time and to keep splashing the cash.

City have already spent over $255 million this summer, bringing in Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Ederon and Danilo in the largest spending spree in one transfer window the Premier League has ever seen.

If they can somehow lure Mbappe to Manchester (maybe linking up with former Monaco teammates Silva and Mendy will give them the edge) it boggles to mind to see where and how Guardiola will slot him into the side. Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are all fighting for the front three positions, plus Bernardo Silva is now in the mix with David Silva in a deeper midfield role.

Mbappe — who scored 26 goals last season as Monaco won Ligue 1 and reached the UEFA Champions League semifinals — was said to be worried about moving to Real Madrid due to a lack of chances playing in the first team, but with these kind of offers flying around for him he shouldn’t be too worried about playing time.

Even though he’s only been on the scenes for one season, Mbappe showed enough potential for Monaco to suggest he will challenge the glut of stars Real Madrid, Man City and others possess.