The 2014 World Cup in Brazil gave fans worldwide everything they could have asked for. Narrow victories by underdogs. Massive blowouts to global titans. Incredible individual performances. Extraordinary team efforts. The worldwide insatiable thirst for excitement was quenched by an astounding World Cup that left sports enthusiasts everywhere counting down the days until the 2018 tournament kicks off. With Germany capping off the competition with a victory over Argentina in the final, here are the five most exciting teams and five most exciting games, sorted by Thuuz rating.
Top 5 Most Exciting Teams
5. Greece- 81.5 average Thuuz rating
As the tournament went on, Greece’s games got more and more exciting. After opening with a 3-0 clunker against Colombia, Greece gained a point with a 0-0 tie versus Japan that was rated at 89 by Thuuz. Even when Kostas Katsouranis was sent off with his second yellow card in the 38th minute, the Greece defense held Japan scoreless playing a man down. Against Ivory Coast, Greece punched its ticket to the Round of 16 with a thrilling 2-1 victory that saw Georgios Samaras net a penalty kick in stoppage time for the win. Greece fell to Costa Rica in the Round of 16 in a match Thuuz rated at 100. Greece and Costa Rica could not reach a decision in regulation or overtime after a Greece equalizer in stoppage time, but Costa Rica prevailed 5-3 on penalty kicks.
4. Ivory Coast- 86 average Thuuz rating
Another Group C team, Ivory Coast failed to advance, but still played in three close and exciting games. Ivory Coast opened its tournament by surging past Japan 2-1, with two second-half goals coming with in two minutes of each other to secure the victory. Les Éléphantes then fell to Colombia 2-1 in a match that was rated at a 89. Finally, Ivory Coast was minutes away from advancing via goal differential versus Greece, but had their hearts ripped out on a last-minute penalty kick that sent the Greeks through.
3. United States- 90 average Thuuz rating
The United States found themselves in some fascinating games during their World Cup run, as three of their four games were rated at 100 by Thuuz. John Brooks’ header in the 86th minute lifted the US to a scintillating win over Ghana after the loss of their star striker Jozy Altidore. Against Portugal, the Stars and Stripes fell behind early but scored twice in the second half, including a 81st minute go-ahead goal from Clint Dempsey. But Portugal scored on the last touch of the game to hold the US out of the knockout round for the time behind. The US played a bit of a clunker in their third game, losing 1-0 to Germany. Nonetheless, the United States finale against Belgium might have been its finest performance Thuuz-wise, with excitement rising as the game went on, including three goals in extra time and plenty of opportunities for both teams.
2. Ecuador- 90.33 average Thuuz rating
Similar to Ivory Coast, Ecuador did not advance out of its group, but still found itself in the midst of some tremendous matches. Ecuador opened group play with an exciting, yet heartbreaking loss to Switzerland in which the Swiss scored the go-ahead goal with under 30 second left in stoppage time. In its second match, La Tri fell behind Honduras in the first half but Enner Valencia scored twice to lift Ecuador to victory in a game rated at 83 by Thuuz. In its final match, Ecuador faced off against France, with a chance to advance had it won by a healthy margin. However, the two teams played to a 0-0 draw, with Ecuador playing a man down for most of the second half. Ecuador’s final match was rated at a 88 by Thuuz.
1. Ghana- 100 average Thuuz rating
Ghana only gained one point in Group G, but all three of its games were rated at 100. The Black Stars opened with a 2-1 loss to the United States, where Ghana equalized in the 81st minute, only to see John Brooks score five minutes later. Ghana faced off with Germany in its next match, playing to a 2-2 tie. However, all four goals came in a fascinating 20-minute span, creating one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Finally, the Black Stars faced off with Portugal needing a win and and a United States loss to advance. Ghana fell behind on an early own goal and after an equalizer, was victim to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the 80th minute that sent them home, but not after playing some incredible games.
Top 5 Most Exciting Matches
5. Ghana, 2; Germany, 2 (100 Thuuz rating)
Germany’s only tie of the 2014 World Cup came against Ghana in the second match of the group stage. After a quiet first half, the second period exploded with excitement starting with Mario Götze’s goal in the 51st minute. André Ayew equalized three minutes later, and in the 63rd minute Asamoah Gyan pulled the Black Stars ahead after a costly Germany turnover. However, in the 71st minute, Miroslav Klose scored his record-tying 15th career World Cup goal to tie the match, where it stayed throughout the final 20 minutes.
4. United States, 2; Portugal, 2 (100 Thuuz rating)
The United States fell behind early after Nani was gived a goal by a poor Geoff Cameron touch. After some missed opportunities, Jermaine Jones fired in a laser of an equalizer, then Clint Dempsey pushed the Americans ahead with a 81st minute goal. But the United States lost its chance to advance when Cristiano Ronaldo sent in a perfect cross to Varela five minutes into stoppage time. Varela’s goal tied the game on what was literally the last touch of the match, and kept the United States out of the Round of 16 for the time being.
3. France, 5; Switzerland, 2 (100 Thuuz rating)
Though France blew out Switzerland in this Group E matchup, the sheer number of goals scored, many in quick succession, made this game exciting. Oliver Giroud and Blaise Matuidi scored in back-to-back minutes to put the French ahead in the first half and Mathieu Valbuena’s goal in the 40th minute gave France a 3-0 lead going into the break. Karim Benzema nutmegged the goalie for a beautiful 67th minute goal and Moussa Sissoko made the lead 5-0 with one of his own. Switzerland got a couple of goals back as Granit Xhaka’s gorgeous volley made it 5-2, but it was too little, too late for the Swiss.
2. Belgium, 2; United States, 1 (100 Thuuz rating)
While the United States lost this Round of 16 game, Tim Howard turned in a performance for the ages. The American goalkeeper saved a World Cup-record 16 shot attempts in a 2-1 loss to Belgium. The match seemed to get better and better as the time ticked away. Belgium dominated throughout regulation and scored twice in the opening period of extra time for a commanding 2-0 lead. But 19 year old Julian Green scored in the 107th minute to pull the United States within one goal. However, the Americans couldn’t equalize despite some solid opportunities and Belgium moved on to the quarterfinals.
1. Germany, 1; Argentina, 0 (100 Thuuz rating)
Fittingly, the 2014 World Cup ended with a dazzling championship match, as Germany prevailed over Argentina to capture its fifth World Cup. Ripe with excitement and plenty of missed opportunities, the match headed to extra time scoreless and stayed that way until the 113th minute. Mario Götze received a cross in the box, controlled it with his chest, and volleyed the ball in for a World-Cup winning goal. Lionel Messi and his teammates could not pull off a victory on Brazil’s turf despite many good chances. It’s safe to say that the final game as well as the entire tournament satisfied soccer fans and even casual sports fans around the world