Who Has Looked Great After First Wave Of World Cup Games?

After Tuesday, the first wave of group-stage games will be over at the World Cup in Brazil. Here are three teams that have looked the best so far and are worth a look at on the futures:


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Germany were absolutely ruthless in a 4-0 demolition of Portugal, powered by a hat trick from Thomas Muller, who did embellish to get Pepe sent off, but Pepe had no business putting his head anywhere near Muller’s. Mesut Oszil struggled down the stretch for Arsenal, but he was excellent for his country, as was Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira. Germany has lots of room for improvement as well as they looked a little shaky defensively early in the game, and the back end was where many figured they would have issues, but Portugal didn’t make them pay and Germany (who became the first country to play 100 World Cup games) came away with the three points.


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For all the attention about Fred getting an easy penalty, Neymar not being sent off for an errant elbow and a couple of other incidents, the story should have been the wonderful Oscar in Brazil’s 3-1 win over Croatia to kick off the World Cup. He assisted on Neymar’s first goal, scored his own in injury time and generally looked like a threat basically every time he was on the ball for Brazil, who like Germany, has lots of room to improve. At the back, they gave away a few chances too easily and the own goal by Marcelo to put Croatia on the board (it was the first time ever that the first goal in a World Cup tournament was an own goal) was a comedy of errors. Better teams will make them pay for mistakes like that, but it was good to see the team fight back after that OG. 

The Netherlands

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There could be no other winner for the best performance of the first round than the Netherlands, who put together a thrilling 45 minutes in the second half of their 5-1 thrashing of the defending champions from Spain, who embarrassed Holland in the 2010 final. Robin van Persie scored twice and his diving header at the end of the first half is something that we will see for years and years to come, and there is a good chance that will be the best goal of the tournament. Arjen Robben also scored twice for the Dutch, and while a lot of the credit has to go to manager Louis van Gaal for his tactics, this simply looked like a team that was out for revenge after what happened in South Africa when Holland tried to be physical with Spain instead of playing the game, then you have to factor in their poor performance at Euro 2012, where they failed to win a game while Spain won the tournament. The Netherlands looked confident and when they saw Spain starting to fade, they found another gear to put them away and now they’re on the cusp of emerging from Group B as the top team.