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21 July ~ Kick Off! is a global project that filmed fans watching the Brazil 2014 final between Germany and Argentina around the world. The documentary follows people's reactions to match, from a beach in New Zealand to a taxi in Moscow and market in Tokyo.
19 July ~ When all eyes were on the decisive stages of the World Cup the uncovering of an illegal ticket sale scheme by Brazilian police threatened to tarnish FIFA's image once more. The arrest of Match Services executive director Ray Whelan on July 7 for his alleged role in the scheme brought matters uncomfortably close to home, since the company handles sales of premium tickets, accommodation and hospitality packages for FIFA. With Whelan staying at the Copacabana Palace Hotel that also hosted top executives from FIFA, the scandal could hardly have been more awkward.
16 July ~ Since Germany won the World Cup on Sunday there have been plenty of people around the world questioning what it means for the country as a whole. It was their first World Cup win as a reunified Germany and done with a young, multicultural team. Yet Uli Hesse, author of Tor! The story of German football, has noted for ESPN that Germany long became comfortable with its new identity. Instead their Brazil 2014 success is purely a vindication of their new football style, having proved their critics wrong.
Photographers assemble on the pitch as the Maracanã is lit up with fireworks at the end of Germany's 1-0 World Cup final victory over Argentina.
14 July ~ The immediate response was every bit as memorable as the shock and awe that sparked it. Shame, disgrace, humiliation howled the front cover of the Rio daily O Globo in the wake of Brazil's staggering 7-1 defeat to Germany. Those sentiments were echoed in bars and living rooms throughout the country as a nation struggled to recover its breath, let alone make sense of the carnage. Another daily, Folha de São Paulo, called it the "Mineiraço", a none-too-pointed reference to the Seleção's 1950 defeat to Uruguay.
13 July ~ Just how much euphoria can a nation take? Since reaching the World Cup final, their first since 1990, Argentina are making a good stab at testing the limits. This may have been the least productive week in decades - while some decide to drive three days north to Brazil at the last minute, others spent endless hours on the internet discussing the chances of winning. Maxi Rodríguez’s decisive penalty in the semi-final shootout not only took the country to the World Cup final, but also into total pandemonium.
13 July ~ With Germany playing Argentina in the World Cup final tonight, it will stir memories of 1986 and 1990. Then, the Argentinians played West Germany in consecutive finals, winning the first 3-2 in Mexico before the West Germans got their revenge in Rome four years later. In the Estadio Azteca Argentina went into a 2-0 lead through José Luis Brown and Jorge Valdano, before Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and then Rudi Völler levelled. With four minutes to go Jorge Burruchaga was sent clear by Diego Maradona and sealed Argentina's second World Cup trophy.
12 July ~ Brazil and Holland will contest the third-place play-off match both ruing very different types of defeat in the semi-finals. Sixteen years ago at France 98 the two met in a semi-final, with Brazil looking to defend their crown and Holland aiming for their first final in 20 years. A late Patrick Kluivert goal cancelled out Ronaldo's opener but Phillip Cocu and Ronald de Boer missed penalties as Brazil advanced. Holland lost the third-place play-off 2-1 to Croatia, while Brazil lost the final 3-0 to France.
12 July ~ This evening Brazil and Holland meet in a match neither wants to contest. The World Cup third-place play-off is often regarded as an annoyance. Many pair it with the opening ceremony as one of the tournament's necessary evils. Yet this fixture has provided the setting for some of the records, drama and spectacular goals intrinsic to World Cup history. It's been the historic pinnacle for some nations, has sealed a few individual reputations and, after four hectic weeks capped two years of qualifying, it's a nice contemplative pause.