Football

World Cup: The best quotes from Brazil 2014

Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT) July 13, 2014
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We saw enough unforgettable action to make Brazil 2014 one of the most memorable tournaments of all time. And it's not just on the pitch where players are making a mark, with many stars of Brazil 2014 producing some superb soundbites. With the quarterfinals almost upon us, here is CNN's pick of the best quotes of the World Cup so far. Clive Rose/Getty Images
Has there ever been a game so talked about as Brazil's 7-1 World Cup semifinal thrashing by Germany? Buda Mendes/Getty Images
As many as 35.6 million tweets were sent during arguably the World Cup's most extraordinary game, beating the previous record set at this year's Super Bowl by10 million tweets. lars baron/bongars/getty images
Amid all the tweets and goals, Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari had to watch from the sidelines as one of the grimmest days in the nation's football history unfolded. Fabrice Coffrini/afp/getty images
Argentina's Diego Maradona was just one of the former World Cup greats to be left astonished by the result. Andreas solaro/afp/getty images
Mario Balotelli is well known to English fans, having spent three incident-packed seasons with Manchester City. After losing to Balotelli's Italy in its opening match, England needed a favor from the Azzurri to have any chance of reaching the round of 16.

England lost to Uruguay in its second game, meaning only a win for Italy against Costa Rica could preserve its slender hopes of qualification. Balotelli was happy to help his former adopted homeland, but at a price; the striker wanted a kiss from Queen Elizabeth II.

In the end, Her Majesty had no cause for alarm. Costa Rica beat Italy 1-0, condemning Balotelli's team and England to a early flight home.
Warren Little/Getty Images
Balotelli's Italy teammate Andrea Pirlo is something of a cultural icon.

Women want him, men want to be him, with every sublime swing of the midfielder's boot sending shockwaves of adoration throughout social media.

The Juventus playmaker is also a master of taking free-kicks and when he sent a sumptuous long-distance shot crashing into the England crossbar in a Group D match, the football world produced a collective gasp.

Such is his mastery of a deadball, French World Cup winner Thierry Henry proclaimed that Pirlo had intended to hit the frame of the goal, rather than find the back of England goalkeeper Joe Hart's net.
GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images
The 5-1 drubbing the Netherlands dished out to reigning world champions Spain on just the second day of Brazil 2014 was one of the most stunning results in the tournament's long history.

Dutch captain Robin van Persie scored twice, including a barely believable acrobatic header, as his team tore into a Spain side which was previously regarded as one of the finest in the history of the game.

The Netherlands blitzed Spain with a flurry of second-half goals, and it could have been much worse had Van Persie and co. not spurned a number of presentable chances.

The football world was left reeling at the fulltime whistle and Van Persie was no exception, with the 30-year-old struggling to keep up with his team's goalscoring tally.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
He's the unmistakable presence in Belgium's ranks. Marouane Fellaini, the lanky midfielder with a mop of curly, jet black hair covering his scalp.

Many have tipped Belgium, which has a squad packed with stars from Europe's top leagues, to go all the way in Brazil and, if his country does win football's biggest prize, Fellaini has promised to shed his famous locks.

Barbers of Brazil be warned.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Fellaini came off the bench to score as Belgium beat Algeria in its opening group stage match. Prior to the contest in Belo Horizonte, Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic faced questions about how he planned to overcome a strong Belgium team with a formidable defense.

His response was forthright, suggesting the Bosnian was confident in his team's ability to overcome the Belgian rearguard.

His confidence was rewarded when his team took a first-half lead through Sofiane Feghouli's penalty, but Belgium hit back, first through Fellaini before Dries Mertens fired in the winning goal.

After an encouraging start, the Algerians had stalled.
CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images
Russia coach Fabio Capello was impressed with what he saw at the World Cup, and who could blame him?

The group stage provided bucket loads of goals, thrills and spills galore and more tales of David overcoming Goliath than the Old Testament.

Capello had just one small problem; the pace was just too much for his Russian players. The hosts of the 2018 World Cup were out of step with their dry, low-tempo football in a competition which was setting pulses racing across the globe.

Russia and Capello exited after failing to win any of its three matches in Brazil. A vast improvement will be expected on home soil in four years.
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Oh Luis... Not again?

The reaction of many football fans at the sight of Luis Suarez biting an opponent for the third time in his football career.

His victim in Brazil was Giorgio Chiellini of Italy but, in the initial aftermath of the unsavory incident, the striker had a plausible (?!) explanation as to how his teeth had come into contact with the defender's shoulder.

Predictably, Suarez's "my teeth fell onto his skin" schtick didn't wash with the game's rulemakers and he was swiftly hit with a four-month ban from all football and a nine-match international sanction.

The 27-year-old has since admitted to biting Chiellini and apologized for his actions.
JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images
France's fluent attacking football has been one of the highlights of this World Cup, with "les bleus" delighting fans and neutrals alike with its swashbuckling approach.

It's in stark contrast to the mood surrounding the team four years ago, when in-fighting and poor performances ensured a humiliating early elimination from South Africa 2010.

Patrice Evra was part of that derided squad and he's one of the few players to have survived a French footballing cull.

Often painted as a divisive figure, Evra appears relaxed. As his quote shows, the defender is unlikely to lose sleep over any criticisms.
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images