Well, the curtain has fallen on the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The fans have gone home, Russians go back to their normal routines, and the venues will sit empty in solitude until their host clubs resume domestic duties. And let’s not forget France, who are now back celebrating their World Cup triumph with their fans in Paris, 20 years after winning it there.
It’s sad to see the World Cup officially over. For me, it always fills that one month of my summer with pure radiance! Now, I must wait until 2022 when Qatar will have the honor Russia just did.
Before the World Cup started, I prayed that there would be some surprising matches along the way. And surprises I received. Mind you, some of those surprises weren’t good ones, but I guess that’s why it’s called ‘surprises’.
I took notes of everything that happened during the four weeks of the tournament: goals scored, cards given, etc. And yet some interesting things came out of this World Cup, which I’d like to point out in no particular order:
- We Did it! Uruguay and Belgium were the only teams to win all of their group games!
- You’re Fired! The coach of the Spanish team, Julen Lopetegui, was fired two days before the World Cup began after accepting the manager position with Real Madrid. Some will argue this caused La Roja to ultimately go home early after losing on penalties to Russia.
- Everybody Scores! Every team scored at least one goal! Long time since that’s happened!
- What? No Goals? Although every team scored at least one goal, there was one goalless draw in the group stage between France vs. Denmark.
- Going Home Empty-Handed. Egypt and Panama were the only teams that did not earn a point. In other words, neither earned neither a win nor draw.
- Curse of the Champions. Pre-tournament favorites Germany, who won the tournament four years ago in Brazil, went out in the group stage. In fact, this was the third time in a row that the defending World Cup champion failed to qualify for the knockout stages! What’s worse for Germany, was this was the first time in history that they went out in the group stage.
- All European Final Four. All the teams in the final four were European, the fifth time in the tournament for this to happen (1934, 1966, 1982 and 2006)
- No Red! Not one red card was issued for a violent tackle. This surprised me the most as I was expecting a plethora of them throughout the tournament. Don’t ask me why.
Which one surprised you the most?
It’s also worth noting the final between France and Croatia was the first final in 16 years that didn’t need to be settled in extra time. Well, I’m done rambling, so now back to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!