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10 flops of the World Cup 2014

July 14, 2014 11:06 IST

10 flops of the World Cup 2014

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A world class Mario Goetze volley in extra time fired Germany to a fourth World Cup crown with a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday, leaving the South Americans and their captain Lionel Messi heartbroken.

The thunderous clash between Germany, Brazil's 7-1 semi-final conquerors, and their bitter rivals had seemed headed for penalties until Andre Schuerrle escaped down the left after 113 minutes and sent in a cross that substitute Goetze controlled on his chest before slamming past goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Rediff.com takes a look at the 10 names that flopped at the World Cup

 

Iker Casillas (Spain) 

Kept his place ahead of Pepe Reina and David de Gea despite no longer being automatic first choice at Real Madrid. He began with a nightmare performance in the 5-1 defeat by the Netherlands and produced another blunder in the 2-0 loss to Chile when he punched a free kick straight to Charles Aranguiz who scored the South Americans' second goal. Left Brazil with his reputation in ruins.

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Image: Iker Casillas
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

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Dani Alves (Brazil)

The Barcelona player left so much space down Brazil's right flank that it was dubbed "Dani Alves Avenue" by local media. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari eventually lost patience and brought in Maicon to try and plug the gaping hole in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but with no success.

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Image: Dani Alves
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images

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Pepe (Portugal)

The controversial Real Madrid defender got himself sent off before halftime in the opening 4-0 defeat by Germany for pushing his head into Thomas Mueller as the forward sat on the ground. Banned for the next game against the United States, Pepe returned for the final match against Ghana but the damage was done and although Portugal beat the African side 2-1, their star-studded team failed to make the last 16.

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Image: Pepe
Photographs: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

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Sergio Ramos (Spain)

The World Cup seemed to be a bridge too far for Ramos after his exertions in helping Real Madrid win the Champions League. Sank without trace as Spain were utterly overrun and humiliated in their 5-1 defeat against the Netherlands, from which they never recovered.

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Image: Sergio Ramos
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)

Made headlines when he incredibly attempted to heat-butt team mate Benjamin Moukandjo late in the 4-0 defeat by Croatia. French sports daily L'Equipe reported that the bust-up continued in the tunnel after the game with Assou-Ekotto throwing a water bottle at his team mate. He was dropped for the following game against Brazil.

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Image: Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Eden Hazard (Belgium)

Supposedly the pick of Belgium's so-called "golden generation", Hazard performed one of the most impressive disappearing acts at the tournament. The low point was his utterly ineffective performance in the quarter-final defeat by Argentina which led him to being hauled off near the end.

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Image: Eden Hazard
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Alex Song (Cameroon)

After his uncle Rigobert Song was sent off in both the 1994 and 1998, Song kept up the family tradition when a senseless elbow in the back of Mario Mandzukic earned him a first-half sending off against Croatia. Trailing 1-0 at the time, Cameroon crashed to a 4-0 defeat and were eliminated after two games. Song, who apologized for what he described as a blunder, was banned for three internationals by FIFA.

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Image: Alex Song
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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Fred (Brazil)

Following in the footsteps of Jairzinho, Careca, Romario, Bebeto and Ronaldo was never going to be easy, and Fred never came close. Arguably the least effective Brazil striker since Serginho in 1982, he managed a meager one goal and was singled out for vicious jeering by the crowd during the semi-final drubbing by Germany.

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Image: Fred
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Suffered tendonitis in his left knee shortly before the tournament and never lived up to his world player of the year status.

Although he got precious little support from a thoroughly mediocre Portugal team, Ronaldo did not help his cause by the manner in which he continually remonstrated with his team mates.

He scored the winner in their final match against Ghana but Portugal's hopes of getting the big win they needed to qualify had already been scuppered when Ronaldo missed a sequence of excellent chances in the second half.

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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo
Photographs: Warren Little/Getty Images

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Mario Balotelli (Italy)

Having scored the winner against England, "Supermario" followed up with two ineffective performances in losses to Costa Rica and Uruguay.

He missed two good early chances against the Central Americans which could have sent Italy’s campaign in a completely different direction.

The maverick striker did not help his cause by filling a Panini album with stickers of himself after the England game and posting a photograph of it on his Facebook page. Daniele De Rossi said after Italy's elimination: “We need real men, not Panini stickers or characters."


Image: Mario Balotelli
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

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