Top five World Cup 2014 group games

Sports Mole rounds up its favourite five matches from the opening round of this year's World Cup.

Thursday night saw the final round of group games take place at the 2014 World Cup and the tournament has now moved into the business end. Germany and the USA joined the 14 other qualified sides in the second round, with some intriguing fixtures having been thrown up.

It has already been one of the most memorable World Cups in recent history with several group games containing drama, controversy and wonder-goals. Here, Sports Mole picks out five of the best from the opening round in Brazil.


1. Spain 1-5 Netherlands - Group B

The Netherlands came into the tournament with low expectations and were very much unfancied. Aside from their strong attack, they had a lot of inexperienced players and this tournament was billed as a learning curve for them. However, up against the reigning champions Spain, Holland showed why they can never be written off with a jaw-dropping 5-1 win from behind. The game also included one of the best headers ever scored, by Robin van Persie.


2. Germany 2-2 Ghana - Group G

One of the favourites for the tournament, Germany were handed a very tricky Group G but nonetheless were expected to reach the last 16. They made light work of Portugal in their opening game, and few were anticipating much of a contest against Ghana in their next fixture. However, Ghana led having gone behind and were unlucky not to hang on to a priceless win in the end. It was a thoroughly entertaining attacking game that also saw Miroslav Klose level Ronaldo's World Cup goalscoring record of 15.

Miroslav Klose of Germany does a flip in celebration of scoring his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Ghana at Castelao on June 21, 2014© Getty Images


3. Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica - Group D

This game proved to everyone that there is no such thing as a whipping-boy in a World Cup. In a group with Uruguay, England and Italy, Costa Rica were expected to finish last with probably zero points, but instead they ended top and went unbeaten. Their turnaround from a 1-0 half-time deficit started their act of defiance and they displayed quick, attacking football in the second half with Arsenal's Joel Campbell particularly impressive.


4. Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador - Group E

Top-level international football is all about drama, and that is exactly what happened in this Group E opener. Ecuador had taken the lead and were looking good in the first half, but an Admir Mehmedi equaliser just after the break saw the Swiss get on top. In the last minute Valon Behrami made a match-saving tackle that turned into a match-winning one as they broke and grabbed a last-gasp winner at the other end. A dramatic finish of the highest order in a really entertaining clash throughout.


5. Nigeria 2-3 Argentina - Group F

The World Cup is at its best when the top players in football prove just what they are about. In this game, Lionel Messi really did. Argentina just about won after being twice pegged back quickly by Nigeria, but the star of the show was the Barcelona man, who clipped in a 30-yard free kick just before the half-time break. It was his second excellent goal of the World Cup so far and he showed just how important he really is to his side with a brace in the match.


Switzerland's forward Haris Seferovic celebrates after scoring during a Group E football match between Switzerland and Ecuador at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 15, 2014
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