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The World Cup: Making and breaking careers
WORLD Cups can be make or break moments for the players involved, just ask the Brazil squad of 1950, Ahn Jung-hwan or El Hadji Diouf.
Much has been made of how many of Selecao’s 1950 squad never recovered from losing to rivals Uruguay in front of a reported 200,000 home fans in the Maracana.
The game became known as the Maracanazo, with those Brazilians involved in the loss saying they suffered for years because of the curse.
This year’s tournament was supposed to see the reversal of the Maracanazo, the Brazil class of 2014 would render that 2-1 defeat 64 years ago lost in distant and forgettable memory.
Well, they have done that, but far from banishing the curse by becoming champions on home soil, a 7-1 semi-final humiliation to Germany has left the Brazilian public suffering a new, fresh pain.
So what will become of this Brazil side?
David Luiz has just made a £50million move to money-bags PSG, but the rest of the back four could struggle to recover from such a horrific defensive display.
Dante has to return to Germany and face his Bayern teammates, Maicon is yet to shake off the tag of the man who suffered in the making of Gareth Bale, while Marcelo’s defensive ability has long been questioned.
Fred, who scored just once throughout the tournament, was booed by his own fans when replaced in the second half of Tuesday’s mauling, Hulk offered little, while Oscar’s consolation perhaps saved him from the slaughter.
But while World Cup 2014 will hang over these Brazilians’ careers, it has provided a platform for others to shine.
Few were familiar with Netherlands trio Bruno Martins Indi, Stefan de Vrij and Daley Blind, while Ron Vlaar had hardly set the world alight at Villa Park.
Along with the likes of Memphis Depay and Daryl Janmaat, many of the semi-final reaching Dutch are now attracting interest from Europe’s top clubs.
The big names of Belgium were supposed to impress, but it is teen sensation Divock Origi who appears to have secured a move to the Premier League with Liverpool and in the group stages it was Ecuador’s Enner, rather than Antonio, Valencia who took centre stage.
Their futures are yet to be told, but previous success stories have seen Sir Geoff Hurst knighted for his role in England’s sole World Cup triumph, Toto Schillaci scoop the Golden Boot in 1990 and a teenage Michael Owen announce himself to the world in 1998.
Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles signed for Tottenham Hotspur 36 years ago today having just won the 1978 World Cup with Argentina.
Their moves signalled the beginning of a trend and now it is the norm for players to join the English top flight following successful tournaments.
Former Fulham, Portsmouth and West Ham man Papa Boupa Diop first came to the fore when he scored the winning goal against holders France in 2002 – man-of-the-match that day was El Hadji Diouf, paving the way for a move to Anfield.
The same tournament created a rollercoaster moment in Ahn Jung-hwan’s career, the South Korean bagged the golden goal that knocked Italy out in the second round.
The forward was on loan at Perugia at the time, and while the goal earned him a place in South Korean folklore, it effectively ended his time in Italy.
David Beckham’s red card against Argentina in ’98 saw him hounded by the British media, but of course the most tragic of World Cup fallouts lays with Colombia’s Andres Escobar.
The defender was shot dead when he returned to Colombia in 1994 after scoring an own-goal against hosts USA in a 2-1 defeat that sent his country home.
However hurtful the 7-1 defeat was for Brazil this week, surely none of those involved will suffer the same tragedy as Escobar.
Their immediate future with the national team may lie in tatters, but there is one man who will still be welcome at any bar along the Copacabana.
Neymar - a home World Cup was supposed to be the making of Brazil’s new golden boy, injury has probably saved him being tarred with the legacy of the German rout.
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