Top 5 Underachieving Teams From The 2014 World Cup Group Stage
There are always teams that fail to meet expectations at every World Cup. The 2014 tournament has been no different, and perhaps it's been even more so than usual, with a deluge of shock results and team performances. Many underdogs have risen, and that can only mean that some teams that were expected to do well did not. Here are the top 5 underachieving teams of the 2014 World Cup group stage.
5. Ivory Coast
5. Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast have slowly gained a reputation for underperforming at World Cups. With the players they have had, including Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Soloman Kalou and Gervinho, they really should have done better, both previously and this year in Brazil. Greece pipped them to second place by beating the Elephants in the final group fixture -- a group they really should have advanced from.
The expectations for England were actually quite low for once; I guess you could say they met the expectations this time. But with all due respect, England really should be beating teams like Costa Rica, and then a draw in either of the games against Uruguay or Italy was very possible. England let themselves down, though, with poor defending, and it meant the Three Lions could not roar as their emerging youngsters had done in the Premier League.
Portugal were in a very tough group, but still, a group that they had enough talent to emerge from. Star player Cristiano Ronaldo may have been hampered by a knee injury and that obviously cannot help, but the Real Madrid man was on the pitch in all three games, so he must be judged accordingly. Ultimately, Germany and USA advanced, but after beating Ghana in their final fixture, Portugal will be left with a sense of too little, too late.
Italy's group was complicated with England, Uruguay and a better than advertised Costa Rica, but it's still a group they should have qualified from with all their experience and quality. The Azzurri started well with a win over England, but then they followed that up with disappointing defeats to both Costa Rica and Uruguay. It may be disappointing, but ultimately they only have themselves to blame as they crashed out at the group stage.
Spain were the reigning World champions heading into Brazil, having won the trophy four years ago in South Africa. They have been the dominant force on the international scene since about 2008, but that dominance came to an abrupt end in Brazil. Spain were expected to top Group B and be strong contenders to win it all. That did not happen, clearly, but they did still finish No. 1 -- the No. 1 underachievers of the 2014 World Cup group stage.