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World Cup 2014 : Eleven defining elements of the 11 matches so far

Siladitya Ray, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 16, 2014
First Published: 07:51 IST(16/6/2014) | Last Updated: 14:53 IST(16/6/2014)

1. Not a single drawn game

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Eleven games in and we are yet to see a draw. The most refreshing thing has been the intent to win shown by all the sides. This courageous and aggressive approach has meant that there haven't been any drab games.

2. Own Goals the top scorer

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Who's the top scorer of the tournament so far? Is it Neymar, Messi, van Persie? No, shockingly it has been the dreaded own goal. There have been three own goals scored so far, either due to bad luck or some dodgy decision making (the Honduran goalie, Valladares' own goal was a controversial call).

3. Goal-line tech is the new villain

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Many objects have been made villains in the past World Cups, such as the Vuvuzela or the Teamgeist ball. This time goal-line technology has caused a stir. In the Honduras vs France game, the tech awarded a goal, when most naked eyes did not see the ball cross the line. The fans in attendance vociferously booed the technology.

4. The vanishing White Spray

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Football fans are seeing a peculiar sight on the pitch in this tournament when a free kick is being taken. The referee takes out a can and sprays a white substance that resembles shaving foam marking the spot for the free kick and the wall. This move has been criticised by some people who see it as a waste of time, others have backed it as they think it deters that the wall from gaining an unfair advantage.

5. Goals Galore

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A total of 37 goals have been scored so far, at an average of 3.3 goals per game. There's still a long way to go, but this bright start raises hopes of the 2014 edition improving on the 2010 average of 2.3 goals per game.

6. No more vuvuzelas

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The biggest difference between watching this World Cup and the 2010 tournament on TV has been the lack of the constant buzzing of the dreaded vuvuzelas. If you hate the vuvuzela noise, you have the authorities to thank for banning them from the stadiums.

7. Referees in the spotlight

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Referees have been in the spotlight so far and that's not a good thing. Both the Brazil vs Croatia game and the Spain vs Netherlands clash saw questionable penalty kicks being awarded. The referees have also been a bit too quick in booking players for minor offences. 

8. Stellar showing by unfancied sides

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Brazil, Netherlands, Argentina and other big sides have performed exceptionally as was expected of them but it is heartening to see the performance of the unfancied sides. The biggest surprise of the tournament so far has been Costa Rica's win over powerhouse Uruguay.

9. Injury woes 

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Two big names have had to spend their time on the sidelines. Luis Suarez (Uruguay) and Gianluigi Buffon (Italy) were unable to play for their teams due to injuries. Fans will be hoping that the Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) injury scare is nothing serious and he can turn up against the Germans. 
 
10. The Brazilian crowds

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Mass protests against the tournament had threatened to derail the footballing spectacle. Many feared that the Samba flavour might be sucked out by the protests. But Brazil has not disappointed; the colour, the flair and the samba have all been present at the grounds and around the country.

11. The stars have turned it on

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The big superstars have come to the party early on in the tournament. Neymar, Robben, van Persie, Pirlo, Benzema and Messi have all had a strong start to the tournament. All eyes will now be on Ronaldo and the star-studded Germans up the ante.


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