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Recapping The Three Biggest Disappointments From The 2014 FIFA World Cup

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 7/1/2014 9:08:48 AM

In order for the underdog teams from Costa Rica, Chile, and the United States to make it through to the Round of 16, at least one of the favorites from their group had to fall. While both England and Bosnia & Herzogovina deserve honorable mention as teams that failed to live up to expectations at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it was Italy, Portugal, and the defending champions Spain that fill out the list of the three biggest disappointments from this year’s tournament.

Spain entered the 2014 FIFA World Cup among the favorites to win it all, listed behind only the hosts Brazil, Argentina, and Germany at 6/1 odds to win outright. It didn’t take long for those that bet on them to realize they were in trouble, as Spain was quickly devastated in a 5-1 loss to the Netherlands in its opener. The effects of that defeat lingered in a 2-0 loss to Chile that sealed their fate, eliminating any chance they had to advance, and signaling the end of an era in which the European giants have dominated on the world stage. The side that had won every major international tournament since the 2008 Euro Cup ended its group stage schedule with a 3-0 win over Australia, but the fact there was nothing more than pride was on the line in that game illustrates just how big of a disappointment this World Cup tournament was for Spain.

Although technically Portugal entered its final game of the group stage with a shot at advancing, they were also one of this year’s biggest World Cup disappointments. Listed at 22/1 odds to win it all, Portugal opened the tournament with a brutal 4-0 loss to Germany that left them facing a major disadvantage the rest of the way. Any elation the Portuguese felt when their team scored in the fifth minute of second-half injury time to squeeze out a 2-2 draw against the United States and keep their hopes alive faded quickly when they realized they were in tough to advance even with a win over Ghana in their group stage finale. The early four-goal deficit they suffered on goal differential meant that even though they beat Ghana on the same day that the US lost to Germany, they were still eliminated because they had conceded three more goals than an American side that also finished with four points.

While England was the only team from Group D not to secure a victory and Bosnia & Herzogovina came up short against Nigeria in Group F, the third-biggest disappointment at the 2014 FIFA World Cup was an Italian side that finished third in Group D. Listed at 25/1 odds to win the tournament (ahead of the Netherlands at 28/1), Italy opened the tournament with an important 2-1 win over England in a match that many felt would ultimately decide the winner of their group. However, Italy would not score another goal in its final two games of the group stage, losing 1-0 to Costa Rica to concede top spot in the group, and then losing 1-0 to Uruguay in a crucial elimination game in which they needed only a draw to advance. Allowing an excellent opportunity to slip away separated Italy from a couple of other worthy candidates as the one of the three biggest disappointments at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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