An exciting 2018 World Cup came to an end as France beat Croatia in Sunday’s final in Moscow, but there have been a lot of unusual occurrences on the pitch and on the sidelines in Russia.
Russia 2018 will be remembered as a tournament where football dazzled, giants of the game suffered early exits, goals flew in late at an amazing rate and England relatively convinced football to come home
Today at CheapGoals we take a look at ten of the best offbeat stories from the 2018 World Cup
Robbie Williams Middle Finger
The prestigious Mundial commenced with Russia’s 5-0 whipping of Saudi Arabia, but it was former Take That star Robbie Williams who stole the headlines for exhibiting an odd gesture showing his middle finger to a TV camera amid the tournament opening ceremony.
Nobody is very certain why the Englishman was so angry, particularly considering he was invited to perform despite previously causing outrage in Russia with his song “Party Like a Russian“.
Russia 5- Saudi Arabia 0
From an unbiased fan’s point of view, the World Cup couldn’t have gotten off to a wonderful start. In spite of the fact that these tournaments are worldwide events, the fortunes of the host country, on the pitch, have a tendency to be firmly linked to the environment in which occasions unfurl.
Russian, down to each and every one, had no expectations from their own team. However, it appeared like the whole country was viewing Stanislav Cherchesov’s team go up against the unfenced Saudi side in the opening game.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud flanked FIFA president Gianni Infantino at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium — giving the world a somewhat startling perspective without bounds of global football. The mood was a significant sure Russian nation quick to prove to the world that they could put a stunning show.
At the point when Alan Dzagoev, for a long time regarded as Russia’s most skilled player, went off injured in the first half, it appeared as if Russians would fare much the same as they have done in the recent past – demonstrating flashes of splendor but otherwise failing flat. But, Denis Cheryshev, the only Russian outfield player at a club outside Russia, scored the second goal before the break. Russia went rampaging, slamming in three more into the Saudi’s net to a comfortable win that would set the tone for things to come.
Maradona’s Two-Fingered Gesture
Argentina’s legend Diego Maradona will dependably be remembered as one of the best players ever for his exploits in 1986, but he turned into an increasing fascination for mockery in Russia.
The 57-year-old made a revolting signal from the VIP box to celebrate Argentina’s sensational 2-1 triumph over Nigeria which sent them into the knockout stages, drawing a lot of criticism.
Despite everything he still managed to keep himself in the spotlight even after Argentina’s exit at the hands of France, claiming that he would turn La Albiceleste fortunes around if given the role of a head coach, and afterward being rebuked by World football governing body (FIFA) in the wake of raving about the officials following Colombia’s loss to England.
Swiss Double Eagles
A politically-charged group clash between Switzerland and Serbia saw Swiss duo of Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka fined by FIFA for celebrating their goals by making a pro-Kosovan ‘Double Eagle’ gesture which dully represents the Albanian national flag.
Granit Xhaka and Liverpool’s new recruit Shaqiri follow their underlying roots to Kosovo, a former territory of Serbia where thousands were murdered and tens of thousands more pursued from their homes amid a 1998-1999 conflict between Serbian power forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
Neymar Unprofessional Theatrics
Brazilain forward Neymar dominated plenty of the World Cup build-up with his battle to overcome a foot injury, but it was his feigning of injury that saw him turned into the butt of numerous jokes.
The Brazilian star exhibit plenty of his ability, scoring twice as the five-time champions reached the quarter-finals, but reliably and consistently play-acted in clear attempt to have opponent booked or sent off, having a dive to win a penalty toppled by VAR.
Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio named the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s theatrics in Mexico round-16 loss to Brazil a “Disgrace for Football”.
Yuri Cortez’s Polished Skill
AFP photographer Yuri Cortez got himself literally at the center of Croatia’s jubilations after their triumphant goal in the semi-final clash against England but repelled his cool to take a stunning shot.
Croatian goalscoring hero Mario Mandzukic helped Cortez to his feet after he became engulfed by the players, while Domagoj Vida even gave him a kiss on the cheek.
The emotional triumph over Sweden had football fans expecting that Germany may wind up unstoppable on their path to the final in Russia. However, in one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, South Korea ended Joachim Low’s side quest before the knockout stages.
With the game bolted at 0-0 and Germany needing a win to qualify, Young-Gwon Kim strikes home from a corner and despite the fact that the goal was at first precluded for offside, a VAR review showed the ball falling off the foot of Toni Kroos and the decision was switched. After five minutes, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer humorously walked upfield and was dispossessed before Heung-Min Son fired into an open net.
Eric Ends Three Lions Dire Run
England won on penalties at a World Cup for the first time when getting through an emotional penalty shoot-out against Colombia in the last 16. It had a country getting up the following morning, asking the question: “Did That Truly Happen?”
Arsenal shot-stopper David Ospina saved Jordan Henderson’s penalty to put Colombia on the edge but Mateus Uribe fired his effort against the underside of the bar before Kieran Trippier reestablished parity.
A major left hand from Jordan Pickford at that point kept out Carlos Bacca’s savage effort – leaving Eric Dier to venture up and send the Three Lions to the quarter-final. London went potty. Then, football appeared to be coming home.
Japan Awesome Ethics
Japanese fans had earned themselves a reputation for being the most deferential and respectful fans during 2014 World Cup when they cleaned the stands and washrooms after their group games in Germany. The Blue Samurai faithful indeed earned accolades and respect in this World Cup as they cleaned the stadium in Rostov-on-Don before leaving for home.
What makes this significantly more mind-blowing is that the Japanese fans had recently witnessed their side throw away a 2-goal lead and lose to injury time goal against Belgium in the round of 16. Through tears, sadness, and sorrow, the supporters remained consistent with their ethics and ensured the stadium was left spotless. The fans had likewise done same amid their three group games
The Japanese team showed unimaginable goodwill upon their exit from 2018 greatest sporting event. Regardless of the tears streaming after the final whistle, the players and staff left the changing room totally clean alongside a note with the caption: “Thank You” in Russian.
Dawn Of A New Era
With the trouble of the previous glory comes the hope for future delights. This has been a magnificent Mundial for those putting their confidence in youth. A bold England frees themselves of long stretches of penalty shootout jinx by playing a team that had no memory of those painful defeats.
Gareth Southgate had the memories but missed the penalty that put England out of Euro ’96 when football was first expected to get back home. Perhaps he paid the price for that slip-up all through his career. His experience and vision were executed really well by a team of extremely young England players.
Meanwhile, Belgium, Switzerland, France even — Nigeria producing one of the youngest team — a new generation of young players is being celebrated.
A multicultural generation that mirrors the numerous tints of present-day democratic society. The Kylian Mbappes, the Dele Allis, and the Romelu Lukakus of the world — are destined to immigrants. In their battles for survival, ten of thousands see to the struggle of their own lives. How they are accepted — as French, English and Belgian immigrants regardless of their race, ethnic background to start with, black or white later — football impacts the world with peace and unity in genuine ways.
Football is truly a beautiful game.
THANK YOU RUSSIA FOR THE MEMORIES