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Repeating patterns and curses lifted – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • ​Once again champions left the World Cup early
  • Mexico and Nigeria frustrations persisted
  • England ended long-running jinx

You will struggle to find anyone who believes the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ was predictable. Big names tumbling early, unlikely runs to the latter stages and a few major upsets made sure of that.

But, in many ways it exactly was that: predictable. Let us guide you through a few of the surprising World Cup trends that just insist on sticking which played out during 31 days of excitement.

However, some well-worn patterns finally came to an end, much to the relief of two teams.

Repeated history

Early departures for European holders

It almost seems unbelievable, but Germany’s ‘premature’ exit in Russia – if recent history is to be believed – wasn’t so extraordinary after all. Ever since the turn of the millennium, no returning champion from Europe has made it past the group stages.

Once is a surprise, twice is a shock, but four times? Twenty years ago it would have been impossible to fathom. France (winners in 1998), Italy (2006), Spain (2010) and Germany (2014) have seen their title defence come crashing down around them at the first test.

Argentina haunt Nigeria again

Seeing La Albiceleste and the Super Eagles drawn in the same group back in December will no doubt have had some happy memories come gushing back in Buenos Aires. As of late this has become quite the tradition. Ever since the West Africans made their first visit to the World Cup at USA 1994, only one of their six tournaments hasn’t featured an encounter with the men in blue and white – each time ending in defeat.

What’s more, every meeting his been decided by just a solitary goal. With Nigeria not having been ahead since their very first meeting in 1994, this year’s 2-1 defeat added an extra layer of repetitive pain, as Marcos Rojo scored the winner for the second successive World Cup.

Mexico’s fourth-hurdle falter

Looking at El Tri’s recent record at the World Cup presents a mix of the enviable and the maddening. Since qualifying for USA 1994, only six other nations have a longer streak of tournament appearances in history, with Russia 2018 taking it to seven in a row. On top of that, only Brazil are currently on a better run of escaping the group stages, with Mexico making it out every time.

However, that is always where their journey ends. The frustration continued at the hands of A Seleção this year in Samara, as a 2-0 defeat meant the fifth game will remain beyond them for at least four more years.

South Americans suffer in Europe

The elimination of Brazil and Uruguay in the quarter-finals confirmed it would be another fruitless trip to Europe for South American sides. It’s now 60 years since their last World Cup triumph on the old continent. Find out more in our Visual Story.

See also



Russia 2018 Visual Stories




Curses ended

Croatia catch a knockout break

The pressure to live up to the heroic team of 1998 has sometimes hung heavy on the shoulders of the Croatian national team. While World Cups have offered slim pickings since, having failed to escape the group stages, twice at the European Championships they slipped at the chance to win a knockout match.

With their struggles threatening to become a full-blown complex, particularly for their midfield talismans Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, who both missed penalties in a 2008 shoot-out defeat against Turkey, beating Denmark by the same means was a cathartic release. Even more so following Modric’s penalty miss seconds from the end of extra time.

England finally pass spot-check

Speaking of catharsis, coach Gareth Southgate’s emotional demons looked to depart in a triumphant roar after England won their own shoot-out against Colombia in the last 16. Having lost all three of their previous 12-yard duels at World Cups, and won just one of six at major championships, it was a widely-held belief: England don’t do penalties.

Southgate famously missed a crucial one himself in the UEFA EURO 1996 semi-final, so there were few happier than him when Eric Dier struck the winner to buck that persistent trend.

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Hallgrimsson steps down as Iceland coach – FIFA on GBP Sports

Heimir Hallgrimsson has left his role as head coach of the Iceland national team after spending seven years in the position. 

Hallgrimsson led Iceland, alongside Swedish coach Lars Lagerback, to their first UEFA EURO in 2016, where they finished as quarter-finalists, before solely guiding the team as head coach to the nation’s first ever FIFA World Cup™ finals.

Iceland exited Russia 2018 after the group stage, but their debut at the world finals included a 1-1 opening draw with Argentina before suffering defeats by Nigeria and eventual finalists Croatia.

The Football Association of Iceland posted the following announcement:

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Cahill announces retirement from Socceroos – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Australia’s Tim Cahill retires from international football
  • Cahill is the Socceroos’ all-time leading goalscorer (50)
  • First Australian to play in four World Cups

Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer and the first player in the country’s history to take part in four FIFA World Cups™ Tim Cahill has announced his retirement from international football.

Cahill wrote the following on his official Twitter account: “Today’s the day that I’m officially hanging up my boots on my international career with the Socceroos. No words can describe what it has meant to represent my country. Massive thank you to everyone for the support throughout all my years wearing the Australian badge.”

Cahill made 107 appearances for his country, which is the second most in Australia’s history behind goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (109). His first cap was on 30 March 2004 culminating with his appearance in Australia’s 2-0 defeat by Peru at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

He is Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer with 50, and to demonstrate the legacy he leaves behind, the next top goalscorer in the country’s history finished with 29 in Damian Mori.

Cahill will forever be an Australian World Cup legend. He became the first Socceroo to score at the World Cup finals, when he helped Australia come from behind to defeat Japan 3-1 at Germany 2006.

He scored goals in three consecutive World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014). Known for his aerial ability and impressive vertical leap, it is his stunning volley, however, from the 2014 World Cup that will live longest in world football’s memory.

The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) Chairman Steven Lowy AM spoke about Cahill’s contribution to the game on the FA’s official website: “Tim Cahill is a football great in Australia. As a player and as a person he has had an enormous impact on the game. Tim’s performances on and off the pitch and his feats at FIFA World Cups and AFC Asian Cups have inspired millions across the globe, but it is in Australia, where Tim is a household name, that his influence is most profound. He has our very best wishes for whatever new challenges he takes on. We hope to continue to work with Tim to promote football in Australia.”

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Champions return home to joyous celebrations – FIFA on GBP Sports

The images went right around the world: rain pouring down from the Moscow sky as France skipper Hugo Lloris and his team-mates lifted the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy, before a deluge of golden confetti mixed in with the raindrops at the Luzhniki Stadium. It was an unforgettable moment.

Another storm was breaking over France at the same time – a storm of wild joy as car horns blared and fans poured onto the streets to sing, shout and come together as one. A whole nation was awash with happiness. From Lille to Marseille, via Lyon and Bordeaux, they gathered in their millions to celebrate the country’s second world title. And the celebrations went on into Monday.

The newspaper headlines set the tone for the day: “Eternal joy” (L’équipe); “Again!” (Libération); “We love you!” (La dépêche du midi); “Thank you!” (La voix du Nord); and “Heads in the stars” (Le Parisien). France was on a high and the party went on and on, a party the like of which had not been seen in fully 20 years.

And as was the case in the 1998 celebrations, the fans gathered in huge numbers on the Champs-Elysees to hail the triumph of Les Bleus, or the “Deschamps-Elysees” as they were renamed for the occasion, in honour of Didier Deschamps – the 1998 captain and 2018 coach, the figurehead of this all-conquering France. Tens of thousands of fans sang the obligatory “We are the champions!”. The sun shone and so did the radiant Bleus.

After touching down at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport at around 17.00, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Co received the adulation of the fans as they made a near two-hour journey to the country’s most famous avenue. The bus, the crowd and the sky were blue, and when they reached the appropriately named Arc de Triomphe, a fresh wave of elation broke over the Champs.

A long and joyous communion with the fans followed, and when it was over, the players headed to the Palais de l’Elysee for a more solemn celebration with French President Emmanuel Macron. Night was falling by this time and France’s second World Cup star was shining bright.

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Cristiano Ronaldo First Day in Juventus & Meets His Teammates First Time!

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Cristiano Ronaldo First Day in The Juventus & Meets His Teammates For The First Time!

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Croatia return home to a heroes’ welcome – FIFA on GBP Sports

  • Croatia fans welcomed home Zlatko Dalic’s side on Monday
  • Supporters lined the streets of Zagreb to greet their heroes
  • Team were received at a gathering in Zagreb’s Bana Jelacica Square

Croatia’s players and staff were greeted to a heroes’ welcome upon their arrival home in the Balkan country on Monday afternoon following their runners-up finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – their best placing at a world finals.

The Vatreni flew into Zagreb, with the team’s plane being escorted by two Croatian Mig 21 fighter planes.

After landing at the airport, Zlatko Dalic’s squad then rode on a rooftop bus and greeted supporters along the road towards the country’s capital, with the players sharing in the celebrations.

The team then greeted a large and passionate crowd of appreciative fans at a rally in Bana Jelacica Square, which is in the centre of Zagreb.​

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Were Croatia CHEATED In The World Cup Final?! | #WorldCupReview – Football Daily

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Amazing Football Dance & Dab ft. Pogba, Lingard, Griezmann |HD

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