The 10 Most Memorable Moments Of The World Cup So Far

  • Luis Suarez Chows Down

    It happened again. After two incidents when playing with Ajax and Liverpool (and serving a couple lengthy suspensions), it seemed like Luis Suarez had bitten his last human being during a soccer game. But not so! When Suarez and Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini got tangled up inside the box, the Uruguayan star did exactly what he does best: bite down. Despite claims that it was all a big misunderstanding, Suarez was banned for the rest of the tournament (and the start of the Barclays Premier League season as well), and without him Uruguay was eliminated in the Round of 16.

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  • Robin van Persie’s “Flying Dutchman”

    Or, as we could also call this, “the End of Spain.” Van Persie’s incredible goal not only leveled the highly-anticipated Group Stage match against the defending champions, but it was in fact the longest headed goal in the history of the World Cup. The perfectly struck header left Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas absolutely stunned, and La Roja never recovered as they got steamrolled by the Dutch 5-1 and were soon gone from the tournament.

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  • Tim Cahill’s Thunderous Volley

    Australia’s Tim Cahill is best known for his heading prowess, despite his relatively modest 5-10 frame. The New York Red Bulls star did not need his head for this incredible goal against the Netherlands, his second in as many games. An early favorite for Goal of the Tournament, Cahill’s first-time volley gave the Socceroos an unexpected lead over the red-hot Dutch.

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  • James Rodriguez Dazzles

    Perhaps nobody has increased their international profile than Colombia’s James Rodriguez. Despite missing star striker Radamel Falcao, Colombia reached the Quarterfinals for the first time in their history on the strength of Rodriguez’s magnificent play, and have become a trendy pick to win the entire World Cup. This strike against Uruguay in the Round of 16 gave Colombia a 1-0 lead, and was one of the great goals scored in both this tournament, and really any tournament.

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  • Jermaine Jones’ Emphatic Equalizer

    The United States was carrying the play in Manaus, but had fallen behind to Portugal early on in their Group Stage match. With his team needing a win to ensure they’d reach the knockout stage, USA’s Jermaine Jones unleashed this absolutely hellacious strike from well outside the 18. Not normally a goal scorer, Jones’ stunningly bent drive completely froze the goalkeeper and leveled a match that would eventually end in a 2-2 draw.

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  • Costa Rica Wins the “Group of Champions”

    Because of the previous championships won by Uruguay, England, and Italy, Group D at the World Cup was known as the “Group of Champions.” So, of course, it makes perfect sense that relative minnows Costa Rica didn’t just win the group, they dominated. After registering a shocking 3-1 win over Uruguay in their opening match, the Ticos won the group with a win over Italy before coasting into the knockout stage with a draw against England. After eliminating Greece on penalty kicks, they were on a high heading into the Quarterfinals to face another giant in the Netherlands.

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  • Lionel Messi Delivers in the Clutch

    Heading into the World Cup, there was a lot of talk about Lionel Messi needing to prove himself on the world stage. Some of it, to be fair, was true; with only one World Cup goal to his credit, there were some who felt he was coming up short when his country most needed him. It’s safe to say that that is no longer an issue. Messi has scored four goals thus far at the tournament, none more clutch than this late strike that gave Argentina a win over Iran.

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  • Miguel Herrera’s Wild Celebrations

    Mexico went through four coaches in qualifying, and No. 4 proved to be an absolute gem. Miguel Herrera invigorated a Mexican side that desperately needed it, bringing an unbridled passion and energy to the sidelines and coaxing a heroic performance out of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. Herrera’s ebullient celebrations are basically the reason GIFs were created, and made him one of the stars of the team throughout El Tri’s surprising run to the Round of 16.

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  • Tim Howard Stands On His Head Against Belgium

    It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that USA goalkeeper Tim Howard has a penchant for the spectacular; after all, he was the 2013 CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year and has been the starting goalkeeper for Everton of the Barclays Premier League since 2006. But even so, this was not expected. Making a World Cup record 16 saves, Howard single-handedly kept the USA in their Round of 16 match against Belgium even as the Belgians peppered him with shots for all 120 minutes. While the Americans ended up losing 2-1, Howard’s spectacular play made him one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.

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  • Miroslav Klose Ties The All-Time World Cup Goals Record

    The goal Miroslav Klose scored against Ghana to tie the all-time World Cup record was classic Klose. A true poacher, the 37-year-old German striker stuck his foot out and popped in a cross at the far post, his 15th goal in his fourth World Cup. He is now tied with the great Ronaldo for the all-time record, and with Germany primed to make a deep run it is entirely possible that he could become the all-time leader before the tournament is done.

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  • Luis Suarez
  • Robin van Persie
  • Tim Cahill
  • Jermaine Jones
  • Costa Rica
  • Lionel Messi
  • Tim Howard
  • Miroslav Klose

With the Group Stage and Round of 16 complete, the 2014 FIFA World Cup (shockingly) has only a few games left to be played. The tournament has already been a memorable one, and through these opening weeks we’ve seen a host of marvelous displays of skill, breathtaking goals, and at least one act of attempted cannibalism. It has truly been a tournament of stars, too, with names like Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Arjen Robben playing their best at the most pivotal times.

While there are many stories left to be told — the most important of which is crowning our new champion — now is a great time to pause and take a look back at the 10 best moments so far.

Follow Doug on Twitter at @dcsibor