I love watching players come off the bench. Super subs they’re sometimes called. They remind me of a closer or a pinch hitter at the end of a baseball game. One man that could set the stage for a dramatic win or make a critical tackle to stop a charging opponent. The 2014 World Cup has seen an amazing amount of success from subs scoring goals and notching assists including the first goal off the bench from a U.S. national player.
You can view in depth investigations of the performance of various Super Subs from the 2014 World Cup here.
Let’s take a look at how the subs made an effect on the four contests on June 23.
- In a surprisingly (heading into the World Cup that is) pointless game, Spain took on Australia in what was their farewell tour of the World Cup. Several players have likely made their final appearances for Spain in a World Cup, but one in particular scored off the bench and will be a lynch pin in the future; Juan Mata. The assist was given to fellow subsitute, Cesc Fàbgregas. Mata is currently being listed for a possible transfer away from Manchester United to acquire Bastian Schweinsteiger or is a mainstay depending on the day of the week.1
- After coming on in the 75th minute for Wesley Sneijder, 24-year-old Leroy Fer recorded his first goal for the Netherlands. The Norwich City midfielder took just 90 seconds to accomplish this and score the game-winning goal against Chile to secure the Netherlands’ first place finish in the group stage.
- You can view a much more in depth look at Memphis Depay and his exploits as a sub in our Super Subs series. But, if you want to get a quick look, here is his goal against Chile in stoppage time. Depay now has two goals and one assist in just 63 minutes on the pitch. The 20 year old is being targeted by Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United for a reported £17 million.2
- Holding a 3-1 lead, Fernandinho recorded a goal for Brazil in their contest against Cameroon. The Manchester City midfielder played a 1-2 passing game to tuck the ball into the back of the net.
- The final goal scored by a sub was by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, the fallen-from-grace Manchester United forward. Hernandez’s goal off of a corner kick gave Mexico a 3-0 lead. Chicharito has been linked with Inter Milan, Arsenal, Tottenham and Southamption.3
Five goals and one assist in four games in one day for the super subs. Quite a day on June 23rd for the players that weren’t good enough to start. But, that’s the beauty about super subs, they often can, but they aren’t and they get to provide us with unexpected moments like the ones above.