It’s been four years since the world’s most anticipated tournament came to a conclusion. The 2018 FIFA World Final saw France and Croatia duke it out, for 90 minutes of action. In the end, France hoisted the prestigious Jules Rimet Trophy, for the 2nd time, since 1998.
But, the 2018 World Cup isn’t notable for only that reason. The event itself is full of other history making matches and controversies.
Mother Russia as Host
First and foremost, why was Russia awarded the right to host the tournament? At face value, it’s interesting, and it helped the Russian economy. They even held the 2014 Winter Olympics. But, let’s look beyond that.
Eyes around the world were focused on Russia. Perhaps its government wanted to showcase a firm and steady nation. Vladimir Putin benefited from this, portraying himself an excellent leader amongst his people.
But, corruption and other allegations were talking points, ever since Russia won the bid. On top of that, in early 2014, there was the start of the Russo-Ukraine War. Of course it made sense to let Russia still hold the event. Regardless of where you stand on LGBT issues, it makes zero sense, for an anti-LGBT country to hold a global event, by an organization that supports the LGBT community. Imagine if Nazi Germany was a World Cup host.
Fall of Champions
Then reigning champions, Germany, were poised to cruise through Group F. Mexico and South Korea had other plans. Mexico hammered an early goal, against Germany. El Tri held firm to their lead, and handed Germany first defeat of their game, and retaliation for every major loss. A team famed due to failure, defeated one of the most successful World Cup teams. It was shocking and fulfilling at the sametime.
South Korea fueled Germany’s humiliation, with two goals, to send the Germans home. Germany knows very well how it feels to lose, on Russian soil.
Let’s see what happens to France.
Use of VAR
Ref Ball never seizes to amaze or anger fans. So, why not add more suspense to crucial decision making. For the first time in World Cup history, ‘Video Assistant Referee’ was used. Now, this is a double-edged sword. Only red cards, goals, offsides and mistaken identities can be checked by VAR, while other judgements that might potentially lead to a goal cannot be checked.
At the end of the day, Ref Ball still influences games. Just not in the traditional way.
Simultaneous Elimination of GOATS
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the greatest footballers of our generation. It’s an indisputable fact. This was another bad showing, for the former Barcelona and Real Madrid legends.
Portugal topped Group B, by a goal, barely. They looked good, at best. Argentina meanwhile was fortunate to make it out of Group D.
Then came Uruguay and France to ruin their runs. Uruguay’s Edison Cavani outshone Ronaldo, with two brilliant goals. Meanwhile, Messi’s aging Argentinian unit faced off against a youthful French squad. The veterans brought their A game, scoring three goals. None by Messi. Whereas soccer’s future found the net four times, one by then teenager Klyian Mbappe.
This upcoming World Cup might be Ronaldo and Messi’s last.
Who knows what surprises await us, for the 2022 World Cup. Especially with the controversial hosting by Qatar.