Football World Cup 2014

“The world cup fever is on” is quite an understatement. I am writing this blog a few minutes after I have seen Brazilians turned to ashes by the German brilliance. Yes it was 7-1, the most humiliating defeat Brazil has ever faced in its homeland. I don’t know what is more bizarre, my act of checking the weather if it is sunny or not through my cell phone instead of window right next to me or the score sheet of Brazilian team. Argentina vs Holland is yet to be played which will decide the next team to face wrath of Germans. Here are some interesting statistical facts about the football world cup finals.

Interestingly there are only two teams which have appeared most number of times in the finals of any football world cup. Yes, they are Germany and Brazil. Both teams have appeared 7 times in world cup final. This victory indeed has not only thrown away Brazil out of the world cup but it also makes Germany to play the final most number of times in football history. Germans will play their 8th final at Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is yet to play another match which would be 63rd match of the tournament but it would be for the third position. Despite of number of appearances Brazil still has most number of title reign than any other nation in the world with maximum number of 5 title victories. Brazil has won 5 out of 7 world cup finals while Germany has won 3 out of 7 of its final games.

Let me take you through Brazilian victories. Interestingly it was fourth world cup in 1950 when Brazil reached the final for the first time and guess what it lost to Uruguay 2-1. Next world cup of 1954 was not for Brazil either in fact it was for Germans. But right next to it, 1958 and 1962 were the years of good news for football passionate nation where they could finally celebrate their back to back world cup victories. Brazil won its first ever world cup in 1958 against Sweden 5-2 and that was the only Swedish appearance in world cup ever. In 1962 Brazil beat Czechoslovakia 3-1 to win their second title and also became the second nation to win world cup twice as Italy has already won the world cup twice back in 1934 and 1938. Fourth appearance was in 1970 where Brazil defeated Italy 4-1 and became the only nation to win the title 3 times. In 1994, Brazil faced Italy once again and it was an amazing tight game with both teams 0-0 at full time and I still remember that Roberto Baggio’s penalty hit missed the target and Brazil won it on penalty shoot outs. In 1998 Brazil reached the final once again but France ruined their hopes and defeated them 3-0. but it was 2002 when Brazil played their 3rd back to back world cup final against Germany and defeated them 2-0. One can pretty much say the Germans settled the score in today’s match and that too with interest. Of course Brazil won’t be playing 2014 final.

Let’s talk about Germany now. It was West Germany which qualified for the world cup final for the first time in 1954 and defeated Hungary 3-2 in tight contest at Swiss ground in Bern. In 1966, Germans faced England and it was not much pleasant experience for them as they lost it 4-2 but it was a match won in extra time. In 1974, Germans defeated Netherlands 2-1 at their home ground. Germany made it back to back in two world cup finals in 1982 and 1986 but both were heart breaking experiences for them. Germans lost to Italy in 1982 3-1 and lost to Argentina 3-2 in 1986. In 1990 Germany consolidated their loss of 1986 and defeated Argentina 1-0. In 2002 German dreams were shattered by Ronaldo where they lost to Brazilians 2-0.

There are a few things which we can learn about Germans for sure. Indeed they are genuinely aggressive both as a nation and as a sports team. They always have a plan and play at a very fast pace. And one thing is for sure, as one can feel from the stats that they are really good at settling the debts. If they have ever lost to a nation, they have made them repay. They have a much better record against Netherlands than against Argentina, and they have already seen that the team relying on single players  are much fun to beat. They have proven this very fact in game against Portugal where Christiano Ronaldo was a mere spectator as Germans humbled them 4-0. They also proved it in Neymar deficient game today (which was more of a strategy deficient team).

On the other hand, Argentina has won the world cup twice and lost the final twice too. Argentina and Uruguay were the two teams to play in first ever final in 1930 where Argentina lost to Uruguay 4-2 (No! there were no Suarez bite threats at that time). It was 1978 when Argentina played the final again after 48 years and guess what they faced Netherlands and defeated them 3-1 in extra time. It gets really interesting here as in 1986 and 1990 finals were played between Germany and Argentina. Argentina won the final of 1986 3-2 but lost in 1990 with 1-0. Which of these history is going to repeat itself? So over all Argentina appeared 4 times in the world cup finals and enjoyed two of them.

Holland, has a horrible record in world cup finals. They have worked hard to reach there thrice but lost all the three contests. In 1974 they lost their first ever final to Germany 2-1. They persisted with hard work, appeared in next world cup in 1978 again but lost it to Argentina 3-1. (Yup, a very bad news for Dutch as they may have to face one or both teams again). It was Soccer city in Johannesburg in South Africa in 2010 where they lost it to the current world champions Spain 1-0. Good news is that they are the only reason who dented Spain so badly with flurry of goals and threw them out of the world cup with at least one debt settled.

The stats are interesting, mostly in favor of Germans as they are the only team to play 8 world cup finals and most number of world cup final victories amongst the three teams left in the tournament. They have lost to Argentina but they have beaten them back again in history. Argentina’s Messi is a huge factor but Germans have shown that they play with something called THE PLAN, something which Brazilians, Portuguese and Spanish know nothing about. Netherlands apparently are the underdogs here as they have the tendency of playing and losing finals. They have lost one final each to Germans and Argentinians but can they break the curse? Interesting indeed it is for a statistician. Brazil most probably will lose their game again which the have to play for 3rd place. Lets see what happens. Its all getting interesting. Keep watching and keep enjoying 🙂

 A Summary of Word Cup Finals.

Exclusivly written by Kashif Shahzad, Table is courtesy of Wikipedia