The World Cup is now over and more memorable moments have been made. This article will be meant to look at some key storylines at the World Cup as it will review what happened during the tournament
Video Assistant Referee is a success
VAR has been an instant success in this World Cup and because of that it could mean that it will be implemented to more competitions in the future. While referees made the correct calls most of the time, there have been times VAR was needed and it corrected a call or determined a call (an example of this was during the final when a hand ball was determined and a penalty was awarded to France).
Germany was a heavy favorite going into the World Cup to repeat as champions, however, that would not be the case as they fell to “Winning the World Cup Curse” (the past three champions including Germany have bowed out of the World Cup in the Group Stage). They lost 1-0 to Mexico and 2-0 to South Korea, which solidified their embarrassment at the World Cup.
With assuredly it being Lionel Messi’s last appearance at the World Cup and probably for Argentina’s national team, the squad sorely underachieved. They were favorites to make a run at the final, but the team barely made it out of the Group Stage relying on Messi to get them to the knockout stage. In the round of sixteen, they got blown out by France even though they led earlier in the match. The squad relied on Messi too much and it proved to be their downfall.
Harry Kane’s foot
Harry Kane was an absolute scoring machine in the World Cup as he won the Golden Boot in this tournament. Kane scored six goals in the tournament including scoring five in the first two matches that England played. He also had a hat trick in the contest against Panama.
Russia’s surprising run
Being the host puts a lot of pressure on you, but to make a deep run in the tournament will surely ease any of that. Russia made a surprise run to the quarterfinals and came very close to making it to the semi-finals, but fell short in penalty kicks to Croatia. The biggest name from Russia was Denis Cheryshev who scored five goals in the tournament. They even scored five goals in their first match with Saudi Arabia including getting a clean sheet for their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Croatia’s run to the final
Croatia was expected to make it to the knockout stage, but no one saw them make it all the way to the final. After seeing them win 3-0 against Argentina, that’s when people took notice as they won their group and made the run to the final by winning two matches in penalty kicks over Denmark and Russia and then was victorious over England in extra time to make their first ever World Cup final. While being outclassed in the final by France, their run was remarkable including having Luka Modric win the Golden Ball.
France’s remarkable play
Coming into the tournament, there was talk that they had a very strong side, but no one saw them winning the World Cup. The team played terrifically in the tournament including having the winner of Best Young Player Kylian Mbappe lead the way. Mbappe was absolutely sensational scoring four goals for France. However, the rest of the squad with Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, N’Golo Kante, Benjamin Pavard, Olivier Giroud, and Samuel Umtiti playing, they were incredibly balanced, in great form, and played liked a team and that helped them win their second World Cup title.
*Fun fact: This was the first World Cup where a tiebreaker came down to the number of yellow cards issued to a certain squad as Japan advanced over Senegal as Senegal accumulated two more yellow cards than Japan did.