SB Nation

Chris Mottram | July 14, 2014

The World Cup, in photos

World Cups look fantastic. Soccer always lends itself to photography and when it comes to the sport's showpiece, with the sun beating down and the planet watching, everybody makes sure they've got their best face on. Armies of Dutch fans in bright orange rubbing up against the Chilean reds; America repurposing the red, white and blue in every combination imaginable; Brazilian yellow everywhere, in the stands, on the streets, in the bars, on the beaches. Shapes and colors, unforgettable and intoxicating.

Here are some of the finest photographs of the moments that will define this World Cup, moments that are already fixed in the collective memory. Tim Howard's staring eyes. Vincent Kompany's twisted frame. Diego Forlan's blurred concern. Leo Messi's heaven-lit figure. Bright uniforms set against the pitch and sky; sweeps of color in the crowd. Athletes, contorted and frozen, caught halfway through the remarkable, the unforgettable and the absurd. -- Andi Thomas

Wcvanpersie_mediumRobin van Persie scores on a flying header during the Netherlands' 5-1 dismantling of Spain in the group stage. (Video of the goal)
Wcbrooks_mediumJohn Brooks scores the game-winning goal in the U.S.' opening match. (Video of the goal)
Australia's Tim Cahill celebrates after scoring one of the tournament's most spectacular goals. The Socceroos would come up just short against Holland, 3-2. (Video of the goal)
Wcmessi_medium Lionel Messi saves Argentina from a draw against Iran with a stoppage time goal. (Video of the goal)
Wcspain_medium Stunned Spanish fans watch as the defending champions are eliminated from the tournament in the group stage.
Wcsuarez_medium Uruguay's Luis Suárez reacts after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini. FIFA banned Suárez for four months as a result. (Video of the bite)
Wcgreece_medium Greece celebrates from Georgios Samaras' stoppage time penalty kick sends the Greeks to their first ever round of 16, and the Ivory Coast home early once again.
Wcrodriguez_mediumJames Rodrigez prepares to strike the goal of the World Cup in Colombia's round of 16 win against Uruguay. He would go on to win the Golden Boot as the tournament's highest scorer. (Video of the goal)
Wchoward_medium Tim Howard prepares to make one of his record-setting 16 saves in the U.S.' 2-1 round of 16 loss against Belgium.
Wcneymar_medium Neymar yells in pain after breaking a vertebrae in Brazil's quarterfinal match against Colombia. He would miss the rest of the tournament.
Wccostarica_mediumCosta Rica's Michael Umaña nets a penalty kick to send the tournament's most surprising team to the quarterfinals.
Germany scores one of its seven goals as they embarrass the host country in the semifinals.
Brazilian fans during the 7-1 semifinal loss. (Video of sad fans being sad)
Wcgermanygoal_mediumMario Götze scores the World Cup-winning goal for Germany. (Video of the goal)
Wcmessisad_mediumMessi takes off his runner-up medal moments after receiving it and the Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player. (Video of Messi receiving his trophy)
Wcgermanycelebrate_medium The 2014 World Cup champions celebrate.
Producer: Chris Mottram | Photos: Getty Images

About the Author

Executive Producer, Fan of D.C.-area sporting teams and craft beer. Living in Charlotte, N.C.