What will the 2018 World Cup in Russia be remembered for?" />

The 10 most interesting episodes from the FIFA World Cup. Photos and stories

What will the 2018 World Cup in Russia be remembered for?

The football World Cup has come to an end in Russia. Hundreds of millions of fans across the world tuned in to watch, and viewers and experts alike agree that the championship was one of the most spectacular of recent years.

The majority of European leaders did not come to see the championship in Russia – the only exception was the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, who came to see France’s team compete in the finals.

The leaders justified their absence by asserting that the championship served to raise the rating of Vladimir Putin on the international stage.

This is the first time western leaders have ignored the football world championship.

With the help of Reuters photographs, JAMnews reviews the most interesting episodes from the championship. 

The tournament bracket was shuffled so that on the second day, two favourites were already matched against one another. The European champion, Portugal, went up against Spain, which has one of the strongest teams in the world. 

The match was even more interesting than the most optimistic expectations of football fans. The teams each scored three goals, some of which were beautifully played. Cristiano Ronaldo had a hat trick, and the final score was not decided until the last moment when Portugal scored to even things out. 

 

Photo: Cristiano Ronaldo arguing with referee Cesar Arturo Ramos in the game played between Uruguay and Portugal. 30 June 2018. Sochi. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

The Germans were one of the main favourites of the championship - they won the last round after all. However, the German team was unable to make it into the playoffs. Surprisingly, they lost in the first round against Mexico. They barely defeated the Swedes in the second round but then later lost to Japan in the third. 

 

Photo: Fans gather by the Brandenburg gates in Berlin during the Germany-Mexico match. 17 June 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Croatia was always considered a good team, however they were never a favorite at large tournaments. The main achievement of the Croatian team up to this point had been bronze medals at the world championship 20 years ago. 

Having won all their matches in the group round, the Croatians made it to the playoffs where they defeated Denmark, Russia and England and for the first time in history made it into the finals. 

 

Photo: Fans in Zagreb watching the semi-final of Croatia against England, 11 July 2018. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

 


Уверенно выиграв все матчи группового этапа, хорваты вышли в плей-офф, где обыграли сборные Дании, России и Англии, и впервые в своей истории вышли в финал мирового первенства.


На фото: Болельщики в Загребе смотрят полуфинал Хорватия-Англия, 11 июля 2018. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

The most spectacular match of the playoffs was the 1/8 final, where France went up against Argentina. The two teams kept neck and neck, scoring beautiful goals and playing an offensive game. The legendary Argentinian player Diego Maradona was often portrayed at the stadium in a highly emotional state and rooting for his compatriots. The final score was 4-3, France. 

 

Photo: Argentinian Marcos Rojo happy about his second goal during the match of Nigeria against Argentina, Saint Petersburg, 26 June 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Before the beginning of the championship, Russia had the lowest FIFA rating of all teams at the tournament. The fact that Russia got the quarter finals was quite the surprise. 

Their victory over one of the strongest teams in the championship, Spain, and their well-played game against Croatia were the best moments in the history of modern Russian football. 

Photo: Spaniard Diego Costa with Russian Sergei Ignashevich, Spain vs. Russia. 1 July 2018. Moscow. REUTERS/Carl Recine

This championship was the first large tournament in which referees were able to use video replay to make decisions. There were contentious moments in almost every match, and the referees made ample use of technology. More often than not, the video replays were a deciding factor in decisions made about penalties which could decide the outcome of the game. 

Photo: The Swedish player Andreas Granqvist pictured after scoring the first goal in the game of Sweden versus Korea. 18 June 2018. Nizhny Novgorod. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

FIFA said that this championship was sexist, basing the claim on the fact that during broadcasts of the games, female fans were shown more often in the stadium than male fans. 

There were also several cases of inappropriate behavior from fans towards female reporters that were covering the championship. Multiple episodes took place on live TV when fans tried to kiss or touch female journalists. Some of these fans lost their fan ID as a result. 

Photo: Fans of the English team in Hyde Park in London after the loss of England versus Croatia on 11 July 2018

 Many of the players on the Swiss team were Kosovo Albanians, and so the match between Switzerland and Serbia was anticipated with a high degree of tension. Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka (both Kosovo Albanians) celebrated goals with a gesture depicting an eagle (which is also on the flag of Albania). 

 

Later, the players stated that their gestures did not have any political significance, however FIFA fined them. 

 

Photo: The Serbia-Brasil game on 27 June 2018. Moscow. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

After Croatia’s victory against Russia in the quarter finals, the Croatian defender Domagoj Vida recorded a video in which he pronounced the phrase “Glory to Ukraine” and talks about how he dedicated his victory to Ukraine. Vida used to play for the Kiev team ‘Dinamo’, which, apparently, was the reason for his action. 

Later, Vida apologized. The Croatian football federation dismissed member of the coaching staff Ognena Vukojevic, who recorded the video with Vida.

Photo: A statue of Lenin in the recreation park in Sochi where several matches took place. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

France is the champion!

Photo: Frenchman Benjamin Medny with the trophy in his arms celebrates the victory. 15 July 2018. Moscow. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

 
 

More on JAMnews