The 4 Most Moving Displays of Sportsmanship from the 2014 World Cup

We've come a long way in the eight years since the Zinedine Zidane headbutt felt around the world. This year's World Cup has been a non-stop celebration of good will and sportsmanship. Well, except for the biting. However, even that was followed up with a merciful response from the victim. With the tournament now concluded, here are a few of our very favorite sportsmanlike moments of the 2014 World Cup.

• After Colombia prevented Japan from advancing to the round of 16, Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin consoled weeping Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo—his Inter Milan teammate and friend.

• Then, when Brazil defeated Colombia in the quarterfinals, Brazilian players urged fans to celebrate the incredible effort of Colombian striker James Rodriguez (Rodriguez is pictured above), who scored at least once in every game he played (totaling 6 goals in 5 games).

• The Brazilians fell next in a devastating 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany. Afterwards, the eventual champions sent an encouraging note to Brazilian fans. The letter thanked the Brazilians for their generous hospitality and reminded us that the Germans lost on their own home turf in the 2006 semi-finals.

• If you aren't moved by this gesture from that same semi-final match—in which a die-hard Brazilian fan hands over his replica trophy to some Germans after the deflating loss—then you're missing the big picture. The World Cup is perhaps the most visible stage in the world, with nearly 1 billion people tuning in for the final game. It should forever remain a celebration of talent, hard work, sportsmanship, and above all, global unity.

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