5 reasons why 2018 was an amazing year for world football
#2: The World Cup was surprisingly awesome
There was a lot of trepidation when it came to this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Nobody was really sure what to expect from the hosts due to the amount of controversy surrounding the way in which they were able to secure the tournament. And after a disappointing Euro 2016 tournament, it felt like the fans weren’t all that into international football.
That all changed pretty much from the opening match of Russia 2018, where the hosts destroyed Saudi Arabia 5-0. From that point on, we were taken on a tour de force for the next month, getting treated to probably the best World Cup since France 1998 two decades prior.
We saw some classic games – Spain’s 3-3 draw with Portugal, Argentina’s dramatic victory over Nigeria, and an incredible 2-1 victory for Germany over Sweden which somehow couldn’t save the holders from being eliminated at the final hurdle.
And that was just the group stage. Things just kept on rolling into the knockout stages.
It felt like every game was somehow memorable, from England winning their first penalty shoot-out in 22 years to eliminate Colombia, to Belgium’s insane comeback to defeat Japan, and the Kylian Mbappe-fuelled 4-3 France victory over Argentina. Then there was Russia’s penalty shoot-out win over Spain – and subsequent shoot-out loss to Croatia, and the elimination of favourites Brazil by Belgium.
All the while, the sun shone, the fans in Russia had the time of their lives, and there wasn’t a hint of the problems that some observers suggested would happen in terms of political issues and hooliganism. When France won the tournament by beating Croatia on July 14th, nobody really wanted the World Cup to end.
It’ll go down in history as one of the best World Cups ever – and nobody expected that, did they?Modified 20 Dec 2019, 20:28 IST