Call the FIFA World Cup 2014 what you want, but you cannot say it has been predictable. With so many unforgettable moments, it has been a nightmare for bookmakers to make odds on some of the matches, but it has also been a rollercoaster ride for spectators around the world.
Chelsea sent 18 of our boys to the World Cup this year, representing the favourites Brazil, as well as Belgium, Cameroon, England, Germany, Ghana, Nigeria and Spain. While some of our Blues have had outstanding moments so far in the group stages, others have had World Cup experiences they would rather forget – here is a look at some of the good, bad and ugly moments of the Chelsea boys in Brazil so far.
Without a doubt, Chelsea’s ‘big four’ – David Luiz, Oscar, Ramires and Willian – have had the support of a fantastic team behind them on the Brazil side. Brazil had a shaky start when Marcelo scored the first goal of the World Cup in an embarrassing own goal against Croatia, but they soon recovered thanks to the talents of Neymar.
On the Chelsea side, however, Oscar has shined so far in the goal scoring stakes. While Friday 13th may be unlucky for some, he scored the third goal for Brazil in their 3-1 victory against Croatia. The Croatia game was also great for Ramires, who had one assist, while David Luiz facilitated a goal in the team’s 4-1 victory over Cameroon.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Chelsea’s André Schurrle for Germany against USA. While the 23-year-old has had no goals or assists so far, Germany topped of Group G and boast former 2010 Golden Boot winner Thomas Müller, so things are looking rosy for the team.
Belgium have also proven themselves as potential dark horses this year – in particular, our man Eden Hazard has two assists under his belt for Belgium’s respective 2-1 and 1-0 victories over Algeria and Russia. While Romelu Lukaku is still awaiting his chance to shine against Korea, Thibaut Courtois has only conceded one goal, keeping a clean sheet for Belgium in the Russian game.
Step forward, England, to claim your embarrassing knockout title in the group stages. While Hodgson caused debate for taking a relatively young team to the World Cup, he perhaps could have fared better had 36-year-old Frank Lampard started in the Italy and Uruguay games. However, Lampard failed to fly the flag for England in our one last hurrah against Costa Rica, but he is not the only Chelsea player who should be feeling a little embarrassed – our very own Gary Cahill is also flying back to England with one clean sheet to his name.
Watching his national team play against the Brazil big four must have been awkward for Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, but things may not have been so different if he had played. The 33-year-old has had no goals or assists in his one game against Mexico, and Cameroon are now bottom of Group A.
Meanwhile, despite being second in Group F, Nigeria’s Chelsea players don’t have much to brag about – neither Kenneth Omeruo or Victor Moses have had any goals or assists, while John Mikel Obi earned himself a yellow card while fouling Miralem Pjanic in their 1-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
If only Juan Mata still played for Chelsea, then at least we would still have something to brag about. Indeed, Fernando Torres scored one of Spain’s very few goals in the World Cup during their 3-0 defeat over Australia, but he was also joined by former Blues boy Mata. César Azpilicueta, meanwhile, has had no such luck, with no goals and assist, and the former 2010 winners have gone home hanging their heads in shame. 2010 might have been their year, but in a dramatic turnaround, Spain’s national team were the first to be booted out of the World Cup.