An ode to Brazil 2014 - the greatest World Cup ever?

Fifa World Cup Brazil

This summer's showpiece in Brazil truly captivated the world, proving that it really is the greatest show on Earth.

When Mario Gotze scored the winning goal for Germany against Argentina in Sunday's World Cup final, celebrations erupted across the world.

Berlin went crazy, the Maracana the same. Hotspots all over Brazil were filled with delight and hundreds of millions of viewers (if not more) cried 'GOAL!' as another memorably tense final looked to have been decided by a moment of magic.

In the minutes that followed, though, every football fan would at some stage have felt despair. The Argentines felt if for obvious reasons - but even the Germans would have been hit with the realisation that that was it for another four years.

If ever there was a time to use Back to the Future's DeLorean time machine, it is now. For, if they could, every football fanatic would surely rewind to the very first day in Brazil and go through it all over again.

Often in sport, showpiece events promise so much but end up only half matching expectations. Not so this summer, when we were treated to everything and more in a picturesque country that played host to some of the most attacking and thrilling football in recent years.

Hosts Brazil may not have lifted the trophy but were the most welcoming of hosts. Eventual winners Germany, meanwhile, will go down in history as one of the greatest sides ever to grace the game - club or international.

But it is the individual moments that will live with us forever as much as anything else: Gotze's winner, James Rodriguez and Tim Cahill's stunning volleys, Louis van Gaal's decision to replace Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul moments before a penalty shootout and many, many more.

The idea that, for the last month, we have been treated to non-stop football, with all the drama, excitement and heartbreak that comes with it, is something that will be cherished beyond all recognition. Just by sitting at home and watching television, many have been treated to the best time of their lives - especially during the group stage, when game after game, goal after goal, the World Cup never failed to deliver.

Debates will no doubt rage on as to whether it was indeed the greatest tournament in the history of the game. And with good reason: this year's World Cup had everything in it that a sporting event should, no matter the problems that unfortunately came with it behind the scenes.

The important thing is not to take anything away from previous tournaments, such as England's triumphant campaign of 1966, Brazil's historic win in Mexico in 1970 and even the most recent installments in South Africa, Germany and Japan & South Korea, which brought their own culture, celebrations and iconic memories.

But what cannot be denied is the brilliance of Brazil 2014 - a tournament young children will be inspired by, a tournament old stalwarts will stand up and applaud, and a tournament that surpassed all expectations in terms of drama, entertainment and sheer joy.

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