Goalkeeper—Thibaut Courtois (Belgium); Defenders—Raphael Varane (France), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Diego Godin (Uruguay), and Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia); Midfielders—Luka Modric (Croatia), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), N’Golo Kante (France) and Phillipe Coutinho (Brazil); Forwards—Kylian Mbappe (France) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).
Spain 3—3 Portugal, France 4—3 Argentina, Croatia 3—0 Argentina, South Korea 2—0 Germany, Mexico 1—0 Germany, and Colombia 3—0 Poland.
Angel Di Maria against France, Toni Kroos against Sweden, Luka Modric against Argentina, Phillipe Coutinho against Switzerland, Ivan Perisic against France, Benjamin Pavard against Argentina, Nacho against Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo’s third against Spain, Kevin De Bruyne against Brazil, Denis Cheryshev against Croatia, Paul Pogba against Croatia, and the best, Lionel Messi against Nigeria—try this: a double trap (thigh, foot), off a forty-yard lofted pass, on the run, while being marked, and then, use your weaker leg, for an across goal shot on the run with a man on you. Only Messi.
In a cup with a multitude of spectacular saves—Mexico’s Ochoa and Belgium’s Courtois on Brazil’s Neymar, penalty shootout saves galore, Jo Hyeon-woo’s heroic performance against Germany, Hugo Lloris and Rui Patricio in many instances—it is difficult to chose a single save or series of saves. So enjoy these replays.
Roberto Martinez (Belgium) against Brazil, Juan Carlos Osorio (Mexico) against Germany, Janne Anderson (Sweden) against Mexico, and Shin Tae-yong (South Korea) against Germany.
Worst Refereeing and VAR calls
Most Biased Coverage
Layun’s stomp on Neymar or conversely turning that violent act on its head and focusing instead on the injured player’s over-dramatic response, particularly given that no attention was paid to the act itself by FIFA, the You Tube, Twitter, and other social media hordes, the global mainstream media, the opponent’s coach and team, the officials at the match, and the Fox (USA) broadcasters, to name a few.
Worst Reactions to being eliminated
Tie: Germany, who tried to blame everyone individually while attempting to exonerate everyone collectively; Mexico, who attempted to blame the ref, Neymar, and the cosmos, before settling on coach Osorio, giving him little credit for a good campaign in a horribly difficult group; Spain, who simply could not accept the fact that hand-man Gerard Pique, money-grabber Julien Lopetegui, God-wannabe Florentino Perez, and the pouting Luis Rubiales provided all the self-wounding necessary to sabotage their campaign; and Argentina, who again had no answer for why such a succession of stellar rosters, over such a long period of time, could not coalesce around the best player on the planet to produce a better result.
Best comment on covering fans at the cup
“We are the frame, the accompaniment, without us there would be no joy. So yes, cover our parties, our celebrations, our cheering in and out of the stadium, our friends—good looking men and women—who all sacrificed and saved to pay for this once in a lifetime experience.”
–Brazilian female fan interviewed (in Portuguese), on a simulcast of Portuguese radio and television after the Brazil-Croatia match, when asked about FIFA’s concern with how broadcasters were covering the cup outside the confines of the pitch.