The top 10 moments of the World Cup in Russia
We look back at the tournament
After four weeks of shocks, surprises and scintillating football, France were crowned world champions for the second time yesterday after beating Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.
Les Bleus grew into the competition game-by-game and strode forward where other favourites fell. Their story tells only part of what has been one of the best World Cups in recent times.
The Coral News Team have looked back at the tournament as a whole and picked out ten of their favourite moments…
Mbappe comes alive
Newly crowned Golden Boy Kylian Mbappe enjoyed a stellar tournament. But it was his performance against Argentina in the round-of-16 which will live long in the memory.
The 19-year-old starlet scored twice and won a penalty as Les Bleus edged past Argentina in one of the tournament’s most memorable matches.
England win a shootout
It was a World Cup to remember for England. The Three Lions actually advanced from the group stages, won two knockout games and put in their best WC performance since 1990.
Yet it’s their last-16 clash with Colombia which will be looked back upon most fondly. Gareth Southgate’s men clung on for a draw in extra-time before taking the game to penalties.
Eric Dier scored the winning spot-kick to vanquish years of misery from 12-yards and send England through to the quarter-finals.
Kroos control saves Germany
In the end, it counted for nothing. But Toni Kroos’ straight-from-the-training-ground free-kick to rescue victory for Germany against Sweden in the dying moments remains a tournament highlight.
Kroos combined with Reus before curling home beyond the helpless Robin Olsen from an impossible angle to keep Die Mannschaft World Cup hopes alive.
Rojo rescues Argentina
It was a World Cup to forget for Argentina, although their time in Russia did produce one defining moment. Needing a goal to avoid an embarrassing group stage exit, all hope looked lost as their match against Nigeria drifted towards its conclusion.
So step forward Marcos Rojo. The Manchester United defender produced a striker’s finish four minutes from time to arrow a volley into the bottom corner and send Jorge Sampaoli’s men through to an unlikely last-16 clash with France.
Spain 3-3 Portugal
Every tournament needs a match to set the thing alight. For Russia, see Spain v Portugal. The two Iberian rivals produced a barnstorming encounter on the second matchday to kick things into gear.
Nacho’s second-half screamer and Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick sealing hat-trick will live long in the memory as the two nations played out a sensational 3-3 draw in Sochi.
One of the lighter moments of the tournament came during England’s clash with Panama. Harry Kane and co. had already put the game beyond doubt going into the closing stages.
So neutrals everywhere rejoiced when veteran Felipe Beloy latched onto a free-kick to slot home beyond Jordan Pickford for Panama’s first-ever World Cup goal. Cue jubilant scenes in the stands.
South Korea beat Germany
Schadenfreude is defined as pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune.
Given that Germany rarely get to suffer World Cup misfortune, the Coral News Team figure its fine to look back on their calamitous exit to South Korea with a nice slice of it.
The defending champions were downed in injury time, as 92nd and 96th minute goals from Kim Young-Gwon and Son Heung-Min sent the Germans packing in the group stages.
Belgium slice through Japan
Perennial dark horses Belgium were heading for the departure lounge during their last-16 tie with Japan. The Red Devils were 2-0 down in the contest after conceding two goals in four minutes.
Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini brought the score back to 2-2. But the best was saved until last. Roberto Martinez’s men produced a scintillating breakaway late in added time which was rounded off by Nacer Chadli for one of the goals of the tournament.
Croatia reach the final
All the talk ahead of the tournament was about the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany.
Nobody gave 33/1 shots Croatia a prayer. But the masters of the penalty shootout shocked, stunned and blitzed the field to reach a first-ever World Cup Final.
Their 3-0 victory over Argentina and battling success over England will go down as two of the competition’s finest displays.
Like father, like son for Schmeichel
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. But Kasper Schmeichel’s dramatic 114th minute penalty stop from Luka Modric took nerves of steel.
The rangy Dane saved two more from the spot but it wasn’t enough as Croatia advanced to the quarter-finals with a 3-2 shootout win.
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