As the sporting year of 2014 draws to a close, the Exeposé Sport team relive their individual highlights from the past 12 months. Here’s Part One:
James Beeson- Sport Editor
World Cup Semi Final- Germany 7- Brazil 1
Never have I seen such a one-sided demolition of a match at the highest level of world football. Brazil, the hosts, the favourites, the humiliated; utterly dismantled by the brutal and ruthless Germans.
The Brazilian’s were missing their poster boy and top scorer Neymar, and their captain Thiago Silva, but nobody could have expected what happened after kick off. The Germans were relentless, scoring five goals in the opening 29 minutes to leave the home fans stunned and distraught. It was a match which produced one of the defining images of the tournament, the sight of an old Brazilian fan clutching a World Cup trophy, struggling to hold back tears as the realization of what he was seeing took hold.
Amidst the chaos of the game, Miroslav Klose became the World Cup record goalscorer, a spectacular feat that seemed to go almost unnoticed, such was the shocking nature of the result. It was Brazil’s biggest ever World Cup defeat, and their first competitive home defeat for 39 years. They simply crumbled before the overbearing German side, with David Luiz in particular making a mockery of his £48million price tag with a shocking display of indiscipline.
It was a match that will live long in the memory of the German’s, linger painfully for the Brazilian’s, and provided an incredible spectacle to watch.
Seb Biggam: Sports Team
Champions League Final- Real leave it late
In another year packed full of sporting drama, picking one standout highlight is incredibly tough. However, for me it has to go to the dramatic Champions League final between the two Spanish giants; Atletico Madrid and their city rivals Real Madrid. On the one hand you had Real, led by the old master Carlo Ancelotti, who were seeking to finally claim the much craved ‘la Decima’, their tenth European title. And on the other you had Atletico, managed by the inspired Diego Simeone, who sought a famous double triumph in Spain after winning La Liga weeks before.
While the game did not provide the spectacle many had hoped for, it was poised on a knife-edge right the way throughout. I have never found myself so tense about a match in which I was not emotionally involved with either side. It seemed certain that Atletico would shatter their enemy’s dreams as their lead from a Diego Godin header held until the very final seconds of the game. However, in what must have been the last play, Sergio Ramos rose from a corner to equalise and break the hearts of Atletico. Extra time proved too big an ask for the men in red and white as Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo decided the fate of the game. With so much at stake, the thrilling finale to the Champions League proved a fitting way for the world’s biggest club to finally get their hands on a tenth European crown.
Alex Bonner: Online Sport Editor
Hamilton wins World Title in Abu Dhabi
Lewis Hamilton’s win at Abu Dhabi epitomised a great year for Britain, which saw him claim his second drivers’ World Championship. The 2008 champion became only the fourth Briton in history to win two world titles, an amazing feat. The significance of this moment was enhanced by Hamilton’s epic rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg, as both drivers gave it their all throughout the duration of the season. The final race was certainly a great end to a spectacular season, with Hamilton’s win captivating the hearts of all racing fans. Hamilton’s success and the importance of this moment, was rewarded fittingly with the Sports Personality of the Year award.
Sophy Coombes-Roberts: Sport Editor
Glasgow 2014- Home Nation Success
With all the recent excitement surrounding Hamilton and McIlroy’s achievements, you could almost be forgiven for forgetting Glasgow’s incredible summer of success at the Commonwealth Games.
The sceptics were satisfyingly proved wrong as Scotland seamlessly reproduced the magic of London 2012. Olympic Heroes such as Alistair Brownlee, Kirani James and David Rudisha pulled out big wins, Claire Balding was back in full force and athletics’ legend Usain Bolt even made a fleeting appearance, ensuring Glasgow delivered an event unlike anything else in the sporting calendar. Returning champions did not disappoint and nor did the new talent as the Games uncovered the stars of the future. Who could forget the young Scott Ross Murdoch overshadowing poster boy Michael Jamison in the 200m final or Claudia Fragapane’s feisty final floor routine which secured her fourth Gold medal of the event. It was sport at its best.
Perhaps most impressively, when you get down to the nitty gritty, more than 140 Commonwealth records were broken, 1.2 tickets were sold and the Athletics and Rugby Sevens drew record crowds.
And if this is not evidence enough, the success of the British nations is enough to seal the deal. England topped the medal table for the first time in six years, Scotland equalled their best result finishing in fourth and Wales enjoyed their most successful Games in their country’s history.
For me, it was 2014’s unrivalled sporting event of the year, made even better by the success and involvement of the Home Nations.