World Cup 2014 match reports
MICHAEL LYNCH Germany are the new world champions, Joachim Loew's team proving itself resilient and good enough to take the best opportunity that fell its way in a pulsating, thrilling World Cup final against an Argentinian side that at various points of a wonderful game looked as though it, not its European rival, could take the crown.
Brazil's miserable World Cup campaign ended to a chorus of boos as the hosts slumped to a 3-0 defeat against the Netherlands in the third place play-off match.
MICHAEL LYNCH If the Brazil v Germany semi final was a magical, illogical and inexplicable display of how football can deliver the completely unexpected, then Argentina's clash with The Netherlands reverted back to soccer's norm.
MICHAEL LYNCH This was not just a humiliation, a beating, a complete and utter demolition job. It was the ritual disembowelling of a team, the deconstruction not just of a squad of footballers, but of a nation's hopes and dreams.
Michael Lynch in Salvador Louis Van Gaal made World Cup history when he substituted his goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen seconds before the end of extra time to bring on Tim Krul for the penalty shoot out which brought The Netherlands victory over Costa Rica in their World Cup quarter final in Salvador.
MICHAEL LYNCH The Netherlands beat Costa Rica 4-3 on penalties in their World Cup quarter-final to set up a last-four clash with Argentina.
Gonzalo Higuain's goal gave Argentina a 1-0 win over Belgium and a place in their first World Cup semi-finals since 1990.
David Luiz's screaming free-kick gave Brazil a 2-1 win over Colombia to seal a World Cup semi-final place but the favourites saw Neymar stretchered off and captain Thiago Silva suspended for the next clash.
SEBASTIAN HASSETT A Mats Hummels header sent Germany into a record fourth successive World Cup semi-finals as they beat France 1-0 in the Maracana.
MARTIN FLANAGAN After 25 million Americans tuned in to watch the US play Portugal at the World Cup in Brazil, The New York Times ran the news under the headline ‘‘Bigger than baseball’’.
Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku's extra-time goals fired Belgium past the United States with a thrilling 2-1 win and into the World Cup quarter-finals.
DOMINIC BOSSI Four-time world footballer of the year Lionel Messi set up Angel di Maria for the only goal two minutes from the end of extra-time as Argentina reached the World Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Switzerland in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
Andre Schurrle and Mesut Ozil struck in extra time to earn Germany a 2-1 win over Algeria in a pulsating last 16 clash in Porto Alegre and a quarter-final date with France.
MICHAEL LYNCH Running, tackling, chasing back, playing forward passes, supporting the strikers, firing in shots himself or scoring a decisive goal, there didn't seem anything French midfielder Paul Pogba couldn't do in a lively match where the favourites were, for long periods given plenty to think about by a Nigeria side that showed plenty of ambition and troubled Les Bleus on several occasions.
Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas claimed man-of-the match honours as his side sank Greece in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time and a clash with the Netherlands.
A coolly-taken penalty by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar gave the Netherlands a stunning fightback 2-1 win over Mexico in their World Cup finals last 16 game in Fortaleza.
SEBASTIAN HASSETT James Rodriguez knocked Luis Suarez out of the headlines with an exquisite goal as Colombia beat Uruguay 2-0 to set up a World Cup quarter-final against hosts Brazil.
MICHAEL LYNCH The nation of Brazil collectively held its breath as Gonzalo Jara strode forward to take the last spot kick in the shootout of this extraordinary match. Seconds later it let out a convulsive roar of joy and relief as the Chilean defender's shot cannoned off the post and out to safety, ensuring hosts Brazil had scraped its way into the World Cup quarter-finals by the narrowest of possible margins.
Algeria progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time in their history as Islam Slimani's second-half header was enough to earn them a 1-1 against Russia in Curitiba.
Cristiano Ronaldo wasted a succession of glorious chances as Portugal bowed out of the World Cup despite beating Ghana 2-1 in Brasilia.
Thomas Mueller fired an unstoppable 20-metre shot to give Germany a 1-0 victory over the United States and top spot in World Cup Group G.
Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri erased his side's lingering World Cup pain in Manaus on Wednesday, scoring a hat-trick to see off Honduras 3-0 and secure a daunting last-16 tie against Lionel Messi's Argentina.
SEBASTIAN HASSETT Of the European teams expected to shine at this World Cup, few thought it would be the French and the Dutch leading the charge.
A double from Lionel Messi a day after his 27th birthday inspired Argentina to a 3-2 win over African champions Nigeria and assured them of finishing top of Group F at the World Cup finals.
Bosnia-Herzegovina ended Iran's World Cup knockout hopes by beating the Asians 3-1 in Salvador.
Jackson Martinez scored twice as Colombia beat Japan 4-1 to end their World Cup Group C campaign with a perfect three wins and boot the Asian champions out of the tournament.
A last-minute penalty by Georgios Samaras gave Greece a place in the second round of the World Cup finals for the first time after a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast.
Nick Mulvenney Natal: Uruguay's Luis Suarez could be banned from the World Cup for the second successive tournament after he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the South Americans' 1-0 win on Tuesday.
MICHAEL LYNCH England always expects. But invariably it always exasperates. And this game, a 0-0 draw, was no different. As has this World Cup.
Toby Davis Javier Hernandez came off the bench to help Mexico reach the last 16 of the World Cup as their watertight defence and swift counter attacks gave them a 3-1 win against Croatia on Monday to emerge from Group A as runners-up behind Brazil.
Neymar hit two goals as rejuvenated Brazil beat Cameroon 4-1 to march into World Cup last 16 and the Barcelona striker took top place in the goalscorers' rankings.
Substitutes Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay have scored to ensure the Netherlands finished top of Group B with a 2-0 win over Chile in Sao Paulo.
MICHAEL LYNCH Two inspirational passes from the master of tiki taka, Andres Iniesta, the first finished off by one Spanish legend in David Villa, the second by another name from Spain's recent great past, Fernando Torres, paved the way for the former world champions to post 3-0 win over a game, but in the end outclassed, Australia in the final World Cup fixture for both teams.
A superb header by Silvestre Varela in the final minute of time added on saved world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal from crashing out of the World Cup finals as it secured a 2-2 draw with the United States.
Algeria put themselves in pole position to reach the World Cup knock-out stages for the first time with a 4-2 win over South Korea in Porto Alegre on Sunday.
Teenage substitute Divock Origi scored a last-gasp goal that gave Belgium a 1-0 victory over Russia and secured them a place in the World Cup last 16.
Bosnia-Herzegovina's maiden appearance at a World Cup finals ended in disappointment as Peter Odemwingie's goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat by African champions Nigeria in Cuiaba and ensured they could not qualify for the second round.
Miroslav Klose equalled Brazilian legend Ronaldo's record of 15 World Cup goals with the equaliser for Germany in their 2-2 Group G draw with Ghana in Fortaleza on Saturday.
A stunning injury time strike from Lionel Messi spared Argentina's blushes as they qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup with a hard fought 1-0 win over Iran in Belo Horizonte.
Justin Davis Bryan Ruiz has headed the goal that has given Costa Rica a shock win over Italy - and sent England packing from the World Cup at the same time.
Ecuador moved into second place in World Cup Group E as two goals from Enner Valencia handed them a 2-1 win over Honduras in Curitiba.
France crushed Switzerland 5-2 on Friday to all but insure their place in the World Cup knock-out rounds.
Bryan Ruiz's goal in the first-half sealed England's elimination from the World Cup and saw Costa Rica progress to the last 16 with a fine 1-0 win over Italy in Recife on Friday.
Nick Mulvenney Ten-man Greece held Japan to a 0-0 draw that will suit neither side in a Group C match which ended with boos ringing around the Dunas arena and sent Colombia into the last 16 of the World Cup on Thursday.
Talek Harris A brilliant double strike by Luis Suarez has put England on the brink of a humiliating World Cup exit as Uruguay scored a 2-1 win in a tense Group D match.
Colombia beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in yet another action-packed World Cup clash on Thursday to top Group C on six points and move within touching distance of making the knockout phase for the first time since 1990.
Croatia sent 10-man Cameroon packing from the World Cup with a 4-0 thrashing of the Africans in Manaus on Wednesday (Thursday morning AEST).
Defending champions Spain slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Chile and crashed out of the World Cup on Wednesday after their second defeat in five days.
MICHAEL LYNCH For four glorious second-half minutes it looked as if Australia might be on the verge of perhaps their greatest ever World Cup result when Mile Jedinak's penalty added to Tim Cahill's first-half wonder strike to put them 2-1 up against the rampaging Netherlands in this Group B fixture in Porto Alegre.
Alexander Kerzhakov rescued Russia in their first World Cup finals match since 2002, scoring three minutes after coming on as substitute to salvage a 1-1 draw against South Korea on Tuesday.
Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa sensationally kept Brazil at bay to earn Mexico a 0-0 in World Cup Group A in Fortaleza on Tuesday.
Super subs Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens rescued World Cup dark horses Belgium in a come from behind 2-1 win over Algeria on Tuesday.
United States striker Clint Dempsey scored after 32 seconds and suffered a nasty kick to the face in an eventful 2-1 win over Ghana.
Nigeria and Iran played out the first draw of the 2014 World Cup in a drab 0-0 affair in Curitiba on Monday.
Thomas Mueller spectacularly stole the limelight from World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday with a hat-trick in a stunning 4-0 demolition of 10-man Portugal at the World Cup.
Lionel Messi scored a brilliant individual goal to bring Argentina out of their slumber and beat Bosnia 2-1 in the Balkan nation's first appearance at the World Cup finals on Sunday.
France beat 10-man Honduras 3-0 in a bruising World Cup clash on Sunday where goal-line technology awarded the first international goal in history, causing mayhem in the process.
Haris Seferovic scored in the last minute of injury time to grab Switzerland a dramatic 2-1 win against Ecuador in their Group E game at the World Cup finals in Brasilia on Sunday.
Ivory Coast scored two goals in two minutes to beat Asian giants Japan 2-1 in their World Cup Group C battle on Saturday.
Mario Balotelli came back to haunt England with the winning goal as Italy began their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over England in Manaus on Saturday.