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Reputations on the rise in Russia – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • ​Surprise stars cropped up throughout the tournament
  • Well-known names and unsung heroes raised their game in Russia
  • FIFA.com looks at five players who unexpectedly took the limelight

Only one team can lift the trophy. Only 23 players leave with gold around their neck. However, this does not mean they were the only winners at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

With 736 players selected, there’s always those who raise their game on the biggest stage who maybe weren’t expected to steal the limelight.

We take a look at five who stepped up to the plate over the last month.

Kieran Trippier

England, 27, wing-back

England’s run to the semi-finals was built on the back of set pieces and Trippier’s dead-ball ability was fundamental to that. Only a switch in formation back in March, where a 3-5-2 allowed both Kyle Walker and Trippier to feature, allowed the Tottenham wing-back to find his place in the side. Delivering the corner for Harry Kane’s winner against Tunisia and the sensational free-kick against Croatia in their semi-final, he was instrumental in some of the Three Lions’ most memorable moments.

Laure James with England
“Trippier’s strengths make for impressive reading. No one delivered more balls into the box than him, while his set pieces were exceptional, scoring England’s first goal from a direct free-kick since David Beckham’s against Ecuador in 2006. When you’re part of a team who have scored nine of their 12 goals from set plays, it’s a useful attribute.”

Denis Cheryshev

Russia, 27, midfielder

Arguably the only way Cheryshev’s World Cup could have been more of a dream experience were if he had stepped out on the Luzhniki pitch for the Final, 31 days after he announced himself with a sumptuously taken brace in the Opening Match. After failing to break through at Real Madrid and having suffered an injury-disrupted spell at Villarreal so far, this has been his time to shine. His strike in the quarter-final against Croatia was ample evidence of that.

Igor Borunov with Russia
“The national team has given Cheryshev the chance at redemption. Finally, luck has gone his way. Having missed the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 squad, he could have easily been omitted from the Russia 2018 squad too if Stanislav Cherchesov hadn’t switched to 4-2-3-1. Even though he started the tournament as a substitute, his arrival against Saudi Arabia was triumphant and he simply dazzled from there.”

Takashi Inui

Japan, 30, midfielder

Snapped up by Real Betis before the tournament, his signing is looking impressively shrewd as Inui drew plenty of admiring glances during Japan’s four games. A disciple of the classic Samurai Blue style of quick passing and non-stop dynamism, he shone brightly as the creative focus for the side, bringing goals, invention and unpredictability.

Hidetoshi Suzuki with Japan
“Despite his short stature, Inui showed that determination, precision and a fierce strike are all weapons in his arsenal. He dazzled against Senegal, scoring one and setting up the other as he made the Japanese midfield tick. However, his goal against Belgium will likely be what his tournament is remembered for – striking viciously to double their lead to leave the eventual bronze medallists on the ropes.”

Kasper Schmeichel

Denmark, 31, goalkeeper

While Schmeichel junior may have earned the right to step out from his father Peter’s long shadow as he superbly helped Leicester City to Premier League glory in 2016, it was rare to hear his name touted among the best keepers in the world. That may change now, leaving Russia with the best save percentage of anyone who played more than one game, stopping 91.3 per cent of the shots he faced, not to mention saving three penalties against Croatia.

Svend Frandsen with Denmark
“This World Cup did not suddenly turn Schmeichel into one of the best keepers in the world. He was when he arrived at the tournament. Denmark had gone 14 games unbeaten thanks to his services. If Schmeichel went into these championships under the radar, then it can perhaps be attributed to playing for arguably a smaller club and national team than keepers usually in the conversation. His performances at Russia 2018 should change that once and for all.”

Yerry Mina

Colombia, 23, defender

Picked up by Barcelona in January, Mina’s quality as a rugged-but-classy centre back had not gone unnoticed but, having earned just a handful of appearances, his talent was far from common knowledge. But towering performances in both boxes have profoundly changed that. Scoring in three successive games, including a dramatic equaliser against England, ensured his hulking figure will stick in the minds of many.

Alejandra Rueda with Colombia
“Mina’s superb tackling and aerial dominance gave Colombia tranquillity at the back. That strength in the air transferred into the opposition penalty area as he proved to be a nightmare for all tasked with trying to contain him. His outstanding performances simply reflected the quality that those around him knew he could produce.”

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BEST FOOTBALL VINES – NEW 2018 – GOALS, SKILLS, FAILS #7

by Joga Bonito

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France triumphant in ravishing Russia – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • France crowned World Cup champions for second time, Croatia claim second
  • Modric wins adidas Golden Ball, Kane takes home adidas Golden Boot
  • Bronze for Belgium, England finish fourth

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ thrilled from beginning to end. The 21st edition of the world finals also produced countless moments that will endure in the collective memory of those who love the beautiful game. From Kaliningrad to Ekaterinburg from Saint Petersburg to Sochi, there were smiles and celebrations aplenty as millions came together to enjoy what was a true festival of football. There were goals aplenty: the first and only goalless draw at Russia 2018 came after 36 matches, which was the latest for a single edition in history. 

France were crowned champions for the second time in history and for the first since they were hosts in 1998 after defeating Croatia 4-2 in what will go down as one of the most thrilling World Cup finals ever. Nineteen-year-old Kylian Mbappe became the second teenager in history to score in a World Cup Final, following in the footsteps of Pele who did so as a 17-year-old in 1958. Goals and performances from midfielder Paul Pogba and forward Antoine Griezmann also proved vital in helping Les Bleus become world champions once more.

Defining moments
Giants fall in Kazan
Kazan Arena witnessed the elimination of multiple World Cup heavyweights. Holders Germany, for example, were defeated 2-0 by Korea Republic there and failed to progress from the group stage for the first time in the country’s proud World Cup history. The next giant to fall was Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the Round of 16. In one of the most thrilling matches of the tournament, France – led by the exhilarating youngster Mbappe – saw off La Albiceleste 4-3. Brazil, Argentina’s long-time South American rivals, were next, as Neymar and Co were beaten by an impressive Belgium side in the quarter-finals.

Surprise packages
Some nations scaled new heights at Russia 2018. The Red Devils of Belgium had their best-ever World Cup, finishing in third and eclipsing their fourth-place finish in 1986. Roberto Martinez’s side, who finished as the top scoring team (16), were one of three sides – the others being Uruguay and Croatia – who emerged from the group stage with maximum points. Russia’s quarter-final finish was their first at that stage since the former Soviet Union did it in 1970. Sweden reached the last eight for the first time since USA 1994, while Croatia contested the country’s first ever World Cup Final.

Fans, hosts create carnival atmosphere
Throughout the various FIFA Fan Fests, the streets of all the Host Cities and beyond and of course in the stadiums themselves, the fans made this a World Cup to treasure. Those supporters came with their chants, their colours and above all, an unrelenting support for their teams, and they were met in turn by warm and welcoming locals.

Breakout stars
If there were still some football fans who were unfamiliar with Mbappe before France and Argentina’s Round of 16 tie, they certainly knew all about him by the time the final whistle sounded. The 19-year-old starred with his electrifying pace, skill and finishing ability in Les Bleus’ epic 4-3 comeback win before becoming the second teenager to score in World Cup Final history in France’s 4-2 win over Croatia. Denis Cheryshev also had a tournament he will never forget. The Russia star bagged a brace in the hosts’ 5-0 Opening Match win over Saudi Arabia, put in two Man of the Match performances and scored a brilliant goal in their quarter-final defeat at the hands of the tournament’s runners-up. Colombia’s 23-year-old defender Yerry Mina was crucial in their run to the Round of 16, showcasing his aerial prowess to score in three consecutive matches for Los Cafeteros, a feat any forward would be content with, let alone a centre-back.

Legends bid farewell
Several of the game’s greats brought an end to their World Cup stories. Javier Mascherano played his 20th and final World Cup match for Argentina, Japan’s Keisuke Honda his 11th and last game for the Samurai Blue. Scorer of the winning goal in the 2010 Final, Andres Iniesta’s last outing in a Spain jersey was in La Roja’s penalty shootout defeat by the hosts in the Round of 16. As for Mexico stalwart Rafael Marquez, he became just the third player to play in five World Cups.

VAR makes its bow
Russia 2018 was historic for many reasons, but in the field of football technology it was the dawn of a new era with the introduction and use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). History was made in France’s 2-1 win over Australia, when Griezmann scored the first penalty kick resulting from a VAR review.

Stat of the tournament
19 – There were 19 goals scored in second-half injury time at Russia 2018, setting a new World Cup record. Neymar also scored the latest ever goal at a World Cup in regular time (90’+7’) when he doubled Brazil’s lead in their 2-0 win over Costa Rica. [Editor’s note: Injury time has been codified officially since 1998]

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Stupid & Funny Goalkeeper Mistakes ● HD – Football Skills

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France revel in winning second world title – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • France are world champions for the second time
  • There were scenes of joy in the bowels of the Luzhniki Stadium
  • Les Bleus repeated the feat of two decades ago
By Adrien Gingold with France

Fresh off their triumph in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Final, the France players lingered on the pitch for several long minutes, revelling in a happy ending that will be remembered for eternity. A generation of supremely gifted players had overcome the challenge posed by an excellent Croatia side, showing their mettle to run out victorious in a game that they never had under complete control – despite scoring four goals.

They subsequently emerged shouting and singing. It was almost as if they were not quite sure how to express so much joy in one go. Yet, as Benjamin Pavard explained, “The party is only getting started. This is just the beginning: we’re going to savour this win for four years!”

As messages flooded in from their loved ones, the heroes got a glimpse of the scenes of joy that were playing out across France. They were beside themselves. “What? Am I mad? I must be mad! I scored in the Final!” said an incredulous Paul Pogba. Les Bleus congratulated each other, stripped down, cavorted around in nothing but underwear and then got dressed again. The torrential rain during the closing ceremony added an extra touch of charm and mystique to an occasion that no one seemed prepared for.

No one except coach Didier Deschamps, whose words always hit the mark: “This is amazing, it’s the pinnacle: France are on top of the world! It’s really fantastic. Kudos to the team and my staff. We’ve spent 55 days working hard together.” After becoming just the third man to win the World Cup as both a player and a coach, following in the footsteps of Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer, even Deschamps struggled to keep a lid on his emotions: “I’m thrilled to see my players so happy. They did it and I’m proud of them.”

The coach headed off for his press conference, only for the squad to ambush him and douse him with beer and champagne. In this moment of collective euphoria, they released all the pent-up stress and tension from the past month and a half, in which they have lived and worked together as one.

This togetherness has been rewarded. Unlike in 1998, this group of France players are well aware of the impact a World Cup conquest can have, having seen for themselves the life-changing effect of their predecessors’ victory. Twenty years on, they know that they have written their own names in history on a date, 15 July 2018, that will not be forgotten.

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Griezmann: I’ll be the first to buy the jersey with the two stars – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Griezmann instrumental in France’s World Cup win
  • Les Bleus’ front man named Budweiser Man of the Match in Final
  • He made a decisive contribution in all of their knockout matches
By Adrien Gingold with France

Not for the first time at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Antoine Griezmann was France’s saviour in Sunday’s Final against Croatia. We spoke afterwards to the Budweiser Man of the Match, a newly-crowned World Cup champion.

“After a match like that it doesn’t really sink in,” said a beaming Griezmann, who could barely contain himself. “Believe me though: I’ll be the first to buy the jersey with the two stars.” 

After emerging from the dressing room singing and dancing with Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, he somehow managed to collect his thoughts. “Sorry, but we’re so happy. We feel so proud, and we just want one thing: to go and celebrate this with the people of France.”

France’s joint-leading goalscorer of the competition with Mbappe, Griezmann once again played an influential role as they saw off Croatia. Not afraid to take responsibility, he set Les Bleus on the road to victory again, just as he had done in scoring a penalty against Argentina, and in flighting pinpoint free-kicks on to the heads of Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti as France saw off Uruguay and Belgium respectively. 

He was at it again in the Final, first sending in the free-kick from which Mario Mandzukic inadvertently glanced the ball into his own net, and then scoring from the penalty spot. Reflecting on the game, he said: “I love matches like this. It’s win or you’re out. That’s when I’m at my most confident and when I feel the best. I’m delighted I was able to show that again tonight.”

With four goals in all at Russia 2018, he is France’s second highest scorer at a single World Cup after Just Fontaine, who struck an incredible 13 goals at Sweden 1958. It came as news to Griezmann: “I honestly didn’t know that. I know it sounds like a cliche, but the team comes before all else. Today we became world champions together, and we’d be nothing without the team.”

Giving his opinion amid the French euphoria, Lucas Hernandez had this to say about his Atletico Madrid team-mate, a player he is very close to and whom he describes as his big brother: “He’s one of the best players in the world and I love him to bits. He’s helped me tremendously and I sincerely wish him every happiness in the world.”

At this moment in time, that happiness takes the form of the World Cup Trophy and the adidas Bronze Ball Award. Having the final word and wearing a broad grin, the hero of the hour exclaimed a few simple words that now sum up what has become a glorious international career: “Vive la republique et vive la France!

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Modric: Croatia can be proud – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Luka Modric was awarded the adidas Golden Ball
  • Russia 2018’s outstanding player missed out on a winner’s medal
  • Modric: “We were so close to winning the Trophy”
By Vjekoslav Paun with Croatia

Croatia’s players and their coach will return from Russia 2018 as national heroes. Luka Modric also heads for home with a tangible reward for his hugely impressive campaign, having collected the tournament’s adidas Golden Ball award.

“I’m proud of that,” he said. “I would also like to thank all my team-mates, because without their help I would certainly not have received this award. 

“We were so close winning the World Cup itself,” he added. “And we will certainly think about it for a long time. But we can be proud.

“When you see this support of the fans after the match, it definitely makes you happier. We know we did something big here. But when you come so close, it is not easy to take.”

Though justifiably proud, both of his own outstanding performances in Russia and of his team’s spectacular campaign, Modric winced at the fresh and painful memory of their 4-2 Final loss to France.

“We fought heroically, we did everything to win, but we were unlucky,” he said. “We were the better team most of the match but unfortunately some unlucky and clumsy goals cost us dearly and gave France the advantage.”

Modric’s assessment was echoed by his coach, Zlatko Dalic, who was gracious in his praise for France and generous in his acknowledgement of his players’ Herculean efforts.

“I congratulate France on their title,” said Dalic. “And I also have to congratulate my players. This was maybe the best game we played in this tournament; we controlled the match. But against a side as strong as France, you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we have to be proud as well for what we’ve done.”

No-one had more reason to be proud than Modric, of course, and Dalic was quick to praise his star midfielder for following in the footsteps of Golden Ball winners such as Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona.

“We are very glad that Luka has won the Golden Ball, and deservedly so,” said Dalic. “He had a terrific tournament.”

The same, too, could be said of the entire Croatia team, and a heroes’ homecoming is assured. Modric certainly believes that every member of the Vatreni squad can leave Russia with heads held high and memories that will last a lifetime.

“We can be proud of this tournament,” he said. “We played very well. Truly, this was a great tournament for Croatia.”

See also



Russia 2018 Visual Stories




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CRAZIEST REACTION TO FRANCE WIN THE WORLD CUP 2018!

Football highlights by Wrsh98, enjoy:

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Hyundai Goal of the Tournament – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Vote for the World Cup Goal of the Tournament
  • Choose from the best 18 goals at Russia 2018
  • Voting open until Monday 23 July on FIFA.com and the Official FIFA App

The goals have been scored, the matches won, and the new champion crowned. Now that the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is complete, it’s time for football fans around the world to vote and decide on the Goal of the Tournament, presented by Hyundai.

Between now and Monday 23 July, you can can view our shortlist of the best 18 goals at Russia 2018. Watch the goals and vote for your favourite on FIFA.com and the Official FIFA App. Your selection will help decide which player will receive this prestigious award. Voting is open to all fans, with no registration required.

This is the fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup in which football fans have been able to vote for the Goal of the Tournament, with the first vote taking place following Germany 2006. Argentina’s Maxi Rodriguez was the inaugural recipient of the award for his spectacular volley against Mexico that year. Uruguay’s Diego Forlan won the honour for his strike against Germany at South Africa 2010, while Colombia’s James Rodriguez won the award for his sublime turn and finish against Uruguay at Brazil 2014.

Who will win the award in 2018? Now is your chance to choose the top goal of this year’s World Cup. Don’t miss your opportunity to select your favourite and have your say! Vote now!

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Meunier and Pogba sign off in style – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Meunier, Courtois and Pogba were the stars of the final two matches
  • The winners will be officially announced over the coming days
  • A warm ‘thank you’ to the two million-plus who played – we hope you enjoyed it!

Back in the Belgium XI. Back among the points. That was the case for Thomas Meunier, who returned from suspension, scored and helped keep a clean sheet against England, and claimed a Round 7-high 12 points in the McDonald’s FIFA World Cup™ Fantasy.

Thibaut Courtois and Paul Pogba got seven points apiece, while Kevin De Bruyne, Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe were among the players who got six.

The winning coaches will be announced over the coming days.

A huge thanks to the two million plus FIFA.com users who took part – we hope you enjoyed it.

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