The 2022 World Cup begins in a week. People all over the world are already very excited. Fans are praying for their favorite team and players.
Let’s talk about the last world cup, as the tournament is yet to begin.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was a complete thriller. Fans enjoyed every match as all of them were equally exciting and competitive.
France proved itself the best in the world as they defeated Croatia in the Final and became the champion.
The tournament was full of events. This article will feature these events according to
- An overview of the tournament
- Group stage
- Knockout stage
- Top Scorer of the tournament
- Breakout Stars of the tournament
Let’s roll on.
The 2018 World Cup Overview
The action-packed 2018 World Cup was held in Russia.
The World Cup Tournament returned to Europe after eight years. Germany was the last European country to host the world cup in 2006. Here is the basic information about the tournament:
- Duration: 14 June to 15 July
- Host: Russia
- Teams Participated: 32
- matches played: 64
- Champion: France
- Runner Up: Croatia
- Total goals: 169
- Total yellow cards: 219
- Total red cards: 28
- Debutant teams: Panama and Iceland
- Golden Boot winner: Harry Kane (England)
- Golden Glove winner: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
- Best Young Player: Kylian Mbappe
The Group Stage
The FIFA World Cup 2018 was full of surprises.
Many unexpected things happened that no one expected. Here is a list of the most interesting things in the World Cup group stage:
1. Spain Proved Everyone Wrong
A month before the world cup, everyone would consider Spain a favorite. But there was the last moment twist. The Spain FA fired their coach Julen Lopetegui just a day before the World Cup.
Everyone was shocked. Even the players could not believe the situation. Many thought this decision would make Spain suffer since there was a lot of chaos in the team.
However, Spain proved everybody wrong. They were unbeaten in the group stage with one win and two draws. Spain qualified for the knockout stage as the group champion.
2. Goals Mania
Fans want to see their team scoring. And they hate the 0-0 final score. Luckily for them, there was only 1 such final score in the group stage. Only the France-Denmark match ended 0-0.
All the other matches were exciting. There were last-moment decisive goals, close contests, and big differences.
- 122 goals were scored in the group stage.
- Panama conceded 11 goals, the most by any team in the tournament.
- Belgium scored the most goals in the group stage- 9. The host country Russia followed closely with 8 goals.
- Uruguay was the only team that did not concede any goals in the group stage.
- Among the teams that qualified for the next round, Denmark scored only 2 goals.
- Argentina conceded more goals than they scored and still made it to the next round.
3. Struggle of The Favorites
The big five teams, like Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, and France, did not have a comfortable group stage journey.
Germany finished last in Group F and was eliminated in the first round.
Argentina hardly managed to reach the knockout round.
Brazil, Spain, and France were also struggling. None of them could win all three matches.
On the other hand, Croatia, Belgium, Russia, and Mexico were impressive on the group stage.
4. Cristiano: The Oldest Player to Score A hat-Rick
Age is just a number for Ronaldo. And he proved that in the World Cup match against Spain. Ronaldo was 33 years and 100 days old at that time. He scored three goals and led Portugal to a 4-2 victory.
5. How Did The New Teams Perform?
Iceland and Panama made their World Cup debut in this tournament. The debutant Iceland shocked the world when they drew their match against Argentina. This draw almost gave me a heart attack on Argentine fans. However, Iceland lost their other 2 games.
The other debutant team, Panama, could not win any match and was knocked out in the first round, just like Iceland.
Panama conceded 11 goals in three matches, the most in the tournament.
The Knockout Stage
We saw some big matches in the knockout stage. The most anticipated ones were-
- Uruguay vs. Portugal
- France vs. Argentina
Ronaldo was impressive on the group stage. So fans were expecting him to carry the team to the next round. On the other hand, Uruguay was the only team that conceded no goal in the group stage and won all three matches.
Ronaldo gave his best but could not match Cavani. Cavani scored two goals and led Uruguay to the Quarter-finals.
Final score: Uruguay 2-1 Portugal
The other high-voltage match was between Argentina and France. Fans were expecting Messi to win the world cup this time. It was one of the most exciting games in the knockout stage.
The first half ended 1-1. Argentina took the lead at the beginning of the second half when Mercado found the net.
However, France scored 3 goals in twelve minutes, and Argentina could not recover. Mbappe scored 2 goals in the 64th and 68th minutes.
Thus Argentina was out of the tournament. Yet another disappointment for Lionel Messi.
Final Score: France 4-3 Argentina
The other six matches’ final scores were:
- Brazil 2-0 Mexico
- Belgium 3-2 Japan
- Spain 1-1 Russia (Russia won in the tiebreaker)
- Croatia 1-1 Denmark (Croatia prevailed in the tiebreaker)
- Sweden 1-0 Switzerland
- Colombia 1-1 England (England won in the tiebreaker)
The most shocking result was when Belgium defeated Brazil and reached the semi-final.
Quarter Final results:
- Belgium 2-1 Brazil
- France 2-0 Uruguay
- Croatia 1-1 Russia (Croatia won in the tiebreaker)
- England 2-0 Sweden
Among the top 5 favorites, only France made it to the Semi-finals. France defeated Belgium 1-0.
In the 2nd Semi-final, England started well. They found Croatia’s net in the 5th minute.
But Perisic scored the equalizer in the 68th minute, and the match reached extra time. Mandzukic’s 109-minute goal took Croatia to the final.
In the final, we had 1-time world champion France. And we had Croatia, who never won the big trophy. Croatia was receiving tremendous support from fans around the world.
Croatia had many threats in the form of Griezman, Mbappe, and Pogba, who were all in good touch. They were under pressure. And they could not handle it.
France had their lead in the 18th minute by Mandzukic’s own goal. Later Griezman, Pogba, and Mbappe all scored 1 goal each.
The final score was: France 4-2 Croatia.
France won their 2nd world cup after 1998.
A total of 169 goals were scored in the 2018 World Cup. 110 players have found the opponents’ net for their teams. Henry Kane scored 6 goals, the most in the tournament.
Let’s see other top scorers of the tournament:
3 Breakout Talents from the 2018 World Cup
The 2018 World cup has witnessed some future legends’ emergence. They were equally impressive as some of the biggest names of the tournament. Here are 3 rising players from the tournament:
1. Kylian Mbappé
Mbappe had a wonderful tournament. Fans were impressed to see his incredible speed. The young French forward scored 4 goals in the tournament, including 1 goal in the final match. Mbappe also scored 2 goals within five minutes against Argentina in the knockout stage.
2. Benjamin Pavard
Fans were not happy with Pavard’s inclusion in the World Cup team. But the then 22 years old defender proved to be a valuable asset for his team.
3. Viktor Claesson
Sweden did not include Zlatan Ibrahimović in their World Cup squad. Their success in the World Cup proved that teamwork is more important than having egoistical big names.
Viktor Claesson established himself as a worthy forward for his team.
The 2018 World Cup had a discipline issue. Players were aggressive on the field. Because of the Match, referees showed 219 yellow cards throughout the tournament. Also, there were 28 red cards.
28 red cards equal the total number of red cards in the first 10 World Cups. Perhaps the referees were too strict in the tournament.
The 2018 World Cup will be remembered as one of the most exciting tournaments in history. We have seen the rise of new star players.
The rise of smaller teams made the tournament even more interesting. It proved that Football is an unpredictable game where anything can happen. Overall, we, as football fans, were fortunate to enjoy such a great tournament.