THE BLOG

Touchstone Moments of Brazil 2014

30/06/2014 14:45 BST | Updated 27/08/2014 10:59 BST

If you could pretend that England's World Cup campaign had been part of an elaborate Rio Ferdinand merking which somehow managed to infiltrate and coerce all levels of the footballing community and not, as it might look from the outside, just the most miserable performance from the national team since Euro 2000, then this has been a pretty fun tournament so far.

No, wait, it has.

We're not just looking at a bunch of soulless figures here either; even if they do reveal a net-molestingly decent 2.8 goals-to-game ratio and only five scoreless stalemates at the time of writing. One of which, you'll be pleased to hear, was half-provided by England. You're welcome, World.

Indeed, for a World Cup to exist in the memory long after the event and maybe even get a slot in a future BBC3 nostalgia show hosted by Olly Murs- you know, if the channel hasn't been hooked by then for the heinous crime of Coming of Age and Russell Kane- it'll be those other moments which define its status as a great tournament. Those extra-curricular incidents both rare and spontaneous which compel even the most cynical and unromantic of football fan to say: hey, you know what, THIS is what it's all about.

Thankfully for us, the viewer, those absorbing episodes have been plentiful and often.

In no particular order, here're some personal favourites:

Mexican Rave

Miguel Herrera's celebratory rumble with his players after beating Croatia was a compulsive watch and a gift for GIF-makers everywhere (a GIFt, you might say). Modelling an estate-agent's suit, patriotic emerald-green tie and the leftovers of a formidable 1980s power-mullet, the Mexican coach bear-hugged and body-slammed his way through his triumphant compatriots as they swarmed to him at the final whistle. Even before that, Herrera could be seen excitedly high-fiving anyone in high-fiving-distance as the goals rolled in and Mexico's entry into the knockouts became ever more assured.

Ich Bin Ein Berliner, Y'all

Marco Tardelli famously celebrated scoring in the 1982 World Cup Final like, well, like any reasonable, freethinking mortal would: by absolutely losing his sh*t. The joy of Tardelli's reaction is that he appeared to be entirely cut-off from the rest of civilisation; lost within himself and the drama of what he'd achieved. For those few moments after scoring, nothing else mattered but the singular event of helping his country win Football's Greatest Prize.

In similar, if not quite as high-profile circumstances, John Brooks dropping to his knees in astonishment after scoring USA's winner against Ghana in the first Group game was an exhibition of pure emotion. Maybe not as wild-eyed a celebration as Tardelli's (understandably so- it wasn't a World Cup Final) but no less affective. Berlin-born and only having made his USMT debut in August 2013, Brooks flopped into a heap, face to the turf, overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. He'd scored in a World Cup for his adopted nation. The winner, no less.

Mondragon's Den

Elsewhere, history was made in the last fixture of Group C as Faryd Mondragon was thrown on for Colombia in the final minutes of their game with Japan. An unused substitute in the Gran Colombia-Peru War of 1828, Mondragon's cameo at the Pantanal Arena made him the Oldest Man of All Time, usurping the previous incumbent, Roger Milla. A heart-warming moment. Like a tired old war horse being ushered around a village fête for one last hurrah. Woah there, Jenny!

The Experts

Pundit's Corner has been the source of some magical entertainment. Gary Lineker reading out Daniel Sturridge's Tweet after the Uruguay game was a strong highlight. Hearing the conker-tanned crisp peddler earnestly punctuate his message with the phrase hash-tag-gutted was a bizarre and wonderful thing. Jonathan Pearce's brainflub over the correct implementation of GLT stood out; as did Clarke Carlisle not knowing the difference between Colombia and Ecuador (they both play in yellow, right?) and, of course, Robbie Savage.

Ah Robbie Savage.