World Cup 2014 Best Sportsmanship Moments (Part 1/2)

What a World Cup it’s been. Shocks, sensations, revelations, great football mixed with the odd  fear packed paranoid game, some crazy behaviour, wonderful goals, great celebrations, great fun, great fans,  – some of whom were literally out of this world and lots of great sportsmanship. Sit back relax and enjoy some of the great moments of World Cup sportsmanship.



The World Cup, for me, kicked off with a game of football in space. Astronauts were seen ‘taking the game to a new level’ whilst having a kick about in the station with one of the best saves you’ll ever see (keeper dives 18 feet). And the astronauts set the scene by wishing all teams ‘good luck’ in the World Cup.



That Magical Hand Shake

A long time ago , when you were a lot younger, way back on Sat 14 June 2014, English manager, Roy Hodgson, walked out onto the pitch in the Arena Amazonia, in the biggest game of his life, went over to the Italian dugout, stuck his hand out and shook hands with every single Italian substitute. It was lovely moment in an epic battle in which England’s youth shone despite losing narrowly 2-1 to the 4 times world cup winners, Italy.  0 Hands Shaking




Friendship Amidst High Stakes – USA and Ghana.

Two days later (16 June), USA Manager, Jurgen Klinnsman (former German genius footballer), embraced warmly the opposition Ghana player Michael Essien (who was on the bench) during the USA v Ghana World Cup Match. Despite the high stakes, Friendship prevailed.




Ghana Dance Rattles Germans Amidst Battle Of The Brothers

Do you remember the game (21 June) billed as the Battle of the Brothers, Ghana’s Kevin Prince and his brother, Germany’s Jerome Prince? Ironically the game only sparked into life in the second half after both brothers were substituted. Within 20 minutes there was a 4 goal bonanza. Ghana went 1-0 down (51 mins), then got an equaliser and then scored again to take the lead playing fabulous football. The sheer exuberance and joy of football was unveiled when Ghana took the lead.  Ghana’s goal celebration was a team dance by the corner flag.

Ghana’s wonderful goal celebration

Finally Germany scrambled a ‘Klose toe-poke goal’ on 71 mins & hung on for the draw (Miroslav Klose is now the world’s leading goal scorer of all time with 16 World Cup goals).

How great to see players celebrate with a smile and a boogy, as opposed to tension filled, semi rage celebrations. Footballers forget they are playing and playing is fun! They are supposed to enjoy themselves – one of the 7 Pillars of Sportsmanship. We, The Great Sportsmanship Programme, collect goal celebrations – you can watch some of best World Cup goal celebrations from years gone by here (including Roger Miller’s famous samba)  that’s Cameroon’s Roger Miller  – whose age no one ever knew – including himself (but we think he was 40 or 42 when he did his last samba dance in a World Cup Finals.

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22 Year Old Columbian Revelation Triggers Best Team Celebration

Fast forward to the knock-out stages and more unbridled joy – goal celebrations. We have scientific proof from Notre Dame University one of the world’s great sports universities) that sportsmanship, and in particular remembering to enjoy your sport actually boosts performance. So when the young Colombian revelation, James Rodriguez scored an absolutely sensational goal against Uruguay, his team mates shared the joy – unbridled joy with a little team dance.  Colombia beat Uruguay 2-0 on 28th June to move into the quarter finals of the World Cup whilst having some fun.



Animated Mexican Manager Miguel Shares Passion & Love

And then came the Mexicans. They brought even more joy & fun to the World Cup. Miguel Herrera won a lot of hearts, with his animated passion inspiring his team to great football. Camera’s caught him gingerly celebrating (not!) Mexican goals. In fact his players regularly ran to him and hugged him, some even lept onto him knocking him to the floor. 1-0 up against Holland and with just two minutes to go Mexico were about to deliver a major World Cup shock until an 88th minute goal followed by a 90th minute penalty destroyed the Mexican dream on 29 June. However, Herrera might be manager of the tournament….as he nurtured a team of relative nobodies into a serious World Cup threat who also openly enjoyed their football. He’ll be remembered fondly as he ‘illuminated the World Cup with his touchline passion’. See 16 reasons (photos and videos) Miguel Herrera had already won the World Cup (of our hearts).

World Cup FIFA



German American & Belgian Reveal Real Friendship

Managers Are Leaders By Definition. They are also role models.  So when they display friendship with the opposition it helps the game.  During the last 16 knock-out match between USA v Belgium 1st July opposition managers embraced before during & after.  What a great game.120+ minutes of intense WorldCup battle for a place in the 1/4 Finals. And all the time US Manager Jürgen Klinsmann & Belgium manager, Marc Wilmots behaved like old friends – embracing each other at the end of the epic battle, at half time and at the start of the game.



Brazilian Respect For Columbian Revelation

4 July Quarter Finals between Columbia and Brazil. A moment Of Respect when the Columbian World Cup Revelation James Rodriguez was in tears after losing 2-1. Brazil’s David Luiz saw this, went to him, consoled him, swapped shirts, and then with an arm around the young Rodriguez, turned to the fans & encouraged them to clap Rodriguez off the pitch. Luiz also stood and applauded Rodriguez as he walked down the tunnel & out of this World Cup. See this sportsmanship in action.



Fair Play & Respect During Intense Argentina v Holland Semi-Final 

During the intensity of a World Cup semi-finals between Argentina and Holland, last Wednesday (9 July)  there was a lovely moment of respect. In the dying moments (85 mins) and with the score delicately balanced at 0-0 and where, just one mistake, or one moment of genius will determine who goes into the World Cup Final, the Dutch Destroyer, Arjen Robben, the flying winger/roaming striker, was tackled by the big Argentinian Defender, Martín Demichelis right on his own line. Both players stood up, shook hands & played on.



Win Or Lose Brazilian Fans Celebrate Football  

Part 2 shows how Brazilian fans, football and the brotherhood of football is the real long term winner.

World Cup Wembley Fair Play


Also see how these games will be remembered in hundreds of years time – see how a truly great German footballer feels that although he lost a World Cup final in controversial circumstances, he thinks almost 50 years later, that the opposition, England, deserved to win because they were the better team.



You can listen to  all these stories, and more, on  my BBC Radio London Best World Cup 2014 Sportsmanship Moments


You can also see the best World Cup celebrations from previous years and How Football Helped Apartheid Victims To Survive In Prison: ‘We Knew we Were Part Of The Football Universe‘.

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Part 2 of the Best World Cup 2014  Sportsmanship Moments For more stories about the brilliant Brazilian fans (and others) read Part 2/2.


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