World Cup 2018: looking back
There is no doubt that FIFA World Cup 2018 was amazing. It had it all: spectacular goals, unbearable tension, shock exits, colourful fans, plenty of penalties and drama in the last minutes of games. Perhaps, each one of us has a personal highlight. Nevertheless, we decided to compile the best moments of tournament we can all agree on.
We won’t even attempt to list all the memorable matches. After all, there were so many! Let’s, however, name a few and start with an opening match. 5-0 victory by the Russian team over Saudi Arabia has caused so much joy and pride for the host nation! And then Russia has also defeated Spain. Out of nowhere. That night the whole country was celebrating on the streets until the early morning. During the group stages, one of the most entertaining matches was Spain vs Portugal, and the highlights of the knockout stage were Belgium vs Japan (Japan nearly made it and then lost it all), England vs Colombia (those penalties!), Russia – Croatia (penalties again) and France-Argentina (whole 7 goals!).
There were winners and there were losers, there were shock exits and shock victories. The World Cup 2018 was among the most unpredictable ones. Amid the biggest shocks was when South Korea sent the defending champions Germany home. Japan defeated Colombia- Asia’s first win over South America in World Cup history! Then Russia sent Spain packing. England didn’t ‘bring it home’, and Messi didn’t save Argentina from an early exit.
With buzzing streets, filled with thousands of foreign fans and carnival-like atmosphere, Russia was the place to be between 15th of June and 15th of July this year! Long (ok, short and light – especially in St Petersburg) summer nights were full of endless celebrations, laughter and fun. Everyone was willing to interact with each other, make new friends, dance and sing. The largest number of fans came from Latin America: Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia… There were also lots of Peruvians who came to watch their team play in the first World Cup since 1982 while Panamanians flew in for their first one ever. They all flew half across the world to see their team playing the most important football tournament on the planet!
To conclude, World Cup 2018 broke down many myths and stereotypes about the largest country in the world. It was an immense opportunity for the foreign visitors to discover a rather closed country, its people and its heritage whilst enjoying the football. Ultimately, the highlight of the tournament is the happy memories that both the foreign fans and Russian people will cherish for a lifetime.