By Emmanuel Ebimoh
The die is cast, the crown is here. The world awaits the shouts of victory, as the flags of glory are hoisted beyond the skies. This is the assembly of champions, the ones who went, saw, fought with every inch of their blood, and are ready to kiss the cup with tears of joy. These are the ones who have conquered the world, for all they now see is the crown.
It’s been 21 days of the most entertaining spectacle in the world. We’ve seen heart-breaking moments, exhilarating goals, controversial decisions, pain, defeat, celebration, and laughter all packed in streams of undiluted football. The dribbles, the tackles, the shots, the saves, the paparazzi, the fans, the celebrations, the FIFA World Cup. Brace yourself, there’s more to come!
With a total of 146 goals so far after 56 matches, the 2018 FIFA World Cup has truly lived up to expectations. For the first time in the history of the World Cup, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was used. France were the first team to benefit from the first ever VAR decision, when Antoine Griezman was awarded a penalty after a replay and he finished it off perfectly in France’s 2-1 victory against Australia.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi was the first player to miss a penalty in the tournament and it happened in their opener against debutants Iceland in a 1-1 draw. A total of 28 penalties have so far been awarded in the tournament – a record for a World Cup. 21 have been successfully converted.
10 own-goals have been scored at the tournament, breaking the record of six set at France 1998. 39 years old Sergei Ignashevich of Russia became the oldest player to score an own-goal in the World Cup.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup has so far recorded a total of 189 yellow cards and 4 red cards. Carlos Sánchez of Colombia became the second fastest player to be shown a red card in World Cup history (3 minutes) when Columbia lost 2-1 against Japan.
Kylian Mbappe of France became the fifth youngest player to score multiple goals in a World Cup, 60 years after Pele of Brazil became the fourth.
Belgium are the first team after 48 years to come back from two goals down and win a knockout-phase match at the World Cup after they stun Japan 3-2. The last had been West Germany, who came from two goals down to edge England 3-2 at Mexico 1970.
Portuguese skipper, Cristiano Ronaldo became the oldest player at 33 years old to score a hat-trick in the World Cup in the thrilling 3-3 draw against Spain during the group stage.
And for the first time since 1982 all the African participants failed to progress from the group stage. In 1982 both Algeria and Cameroon slipped and this term Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia have all exited after the group stage.
No doubt, the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup has been nothing but exciting, with record breakers and record setters. Hold your breath however, there’s still more to come.
Tomorrow, Friday 6th July, Uruguay will tackle France in the first quarter final match, while the Samba boys of Brazil will tackle the star-studded Belgium team. On Saturday, it’ll be Sweden against the Three Lions of England, while hosts, Russia doing battle against Croatia.
It’s surely going to be an explosive weekend of exciting football.
Stay with us right here as we bring you all the moments and action of the games.
Emmanuel Ebimoh is a writer, blogger, and social media strategist. You can reach him on Facebook and LinkedIn at Emmanuel Ebimoh. Email: email@example.com