Ultimately, the best team was crowned world champion, a fair accolade after Löw's decade-long renovation of German football.
A lack of fandom in the capital city may turn the $900-million stadium into a white elephant.
Castigated after France's players boycotted training at the World Cup in South Africa, Patrice Evra has rebuilt his reputation under Didier Deschamps.
As the teams head into the quarterfinals, the stumbling heavywights have left the door open to Colombia, Belgium and even Costa Rica.
Central and South American teams are challenging the powerhouses of Europe.
The old World Cup favourites are not all doing well, and Brazil's tournament has seen surprises galore. What else is in store?
Indigenous Brazilians want to be respected, not saddled with "the world's most expensive bird toilet".
This is Raheem Sterling's first appearance before the media on England duty and it is impossible to get away from his boyishness.
German captain Philipp Lahm quite likes the high pressure on his team. He prefers to be one of the favourites, not one of the underdogs.
Seven goals conceded in 135 minutes of tournament football for Spain? How was that even possible?
The Red devils represent an ideal modern nation but ultimately merely mask the country's division.
The country has welcomed the 23 qualifying teams that will take part in this year's Cup. But not all Brazilians are happy to play host.
Five ambitious teams are in Brazil with the goal of becoming the continent's first World Cup semifinalists.
The biggest clash of the opening weekend of the World Cup is a repeat of the 2010 final: Spain vs the Netherlands.
England manager Roy Hodgson wants his team to retain the ball thus denying the Italian playmaker the opportunity to dominate.
Will he be selected to face England? Will he be on song? Will becoming engaged just three days before the World Cup starts distract Mario Balotelli?
The legendary Brazilian footballer Jairzinho is passing on his skills to youngsters in an urban wasteland.
The rivalry between Real Madrid and Atlético is all about power and wealth in 21st-century Spain.