Things You May Have Missed At The Weirdest World Cup Ever
We're just three games away from the end of the 2018 World Cup, so we take a look at some of the highlights.
It's been a strange World Cup. Champions dumped out early, hoodoos broken and hilarious fan moments have made this one of the most memorable tournaments in a long time.
So we took a look back at some at the best moments.
History Making Moment
The words 'England' and 'penalties' have never gone well together. The Three Lions had only ever won one of the seven shoot outs they had faced in major competitions -- and never in their three attempts at a World Cup.
When their round of 16 match against Colombia went to penalties, history was against the English. But a magical left-hand save by goal keeper Jordan Pickford and an off-target shot from Colombia saw the penalty-hoodoo broken.
And England won on penalties for the first time at a World Cup.
Russia's penalty shoot-out win over Spain.
The hosts weren't given much hope against powerhouse La Roja, but Russia's game plan worked to perfection. Spain's style of play is 'tika-taka' -- small passes and dominating possession to the EXTREME.
Spain passed over 1100 TIMES during the match (compared to Russia's 300) and had 80 percent of the ball, but this was their downfall. Russia sat back while Spain passed in vain to get near the goal. It was boring but it was effective.
Russia had one chance in the first half -- a penalty -- and that was all they needed to keep scores even and into extra time, and then force a penalty shoot out.
Germany's Toni Kroos' 90th minute winner against Sweden sent the world into meltdown for a few reasons. After a shock loss against Mexico, Die Mannschaft needed a win to stay a live in the tournament, but all hope seemed lost as the game entered its final minutes and the scores were locked at 1-all.
Enter Toni Kroos. The goal itself is a masterpiece. A short free kick to Marco Reus set it up for Kroos, before a shot into the goal with a bend that Beckham would be proud of. But it is the circumstances it was scored in that make it memorable.
Germany's goal keeper Manuel Neuer took the term 'sweeper keeper' to the extreme in their match against Korea, when he abandoned his goal in the dying minutes of the match to give Germany an extra man on the attack.
The reigning World Champs were 1-0 down, and needed a draw to keep their tournament hopes alive. But Neuer's plan backfired, when Korea stole the ball on the counter and scored a completely open goal -- pretty much summing up Germany's entire campaign.
Best Goal Celebration
Colombia is known for their dance moves on the field, and they didn't disappoint on the last day of the group stages. A team effort in front of their screaming fans was the perfect way to celebrate qualifying for the knock out stages.
Belgium's Michy Batshuayi didn't have as much fun celebrating his team's goal over England, booting the ball away only to have it ricochet into his face. The poor guy quickly became the laughing stock of the internet, but at least he could joke about it.
Best (Or Worst?) Diver
And the Oscar goes to... Neymar Jr. The Brazilian superstar is like Bambi on ice -- a slight breeze would knock him over. Neymar is copping a lot of criticism for his melodramatic reactions and has been accused of play-acting for fouls (so far he's spent 14 minutes lying on the ground). You can make up your own mind.
BEst Sideline Moment
The excitement became too much for Brazil coach Tite after a late winner against Costa Rica. The 57-year-old took off to celebrate with his team only to fall flat on his face. Maybe Neymar could take some notes -- Tite was straight back on his feet (with the help of his players).
Best Fair Play moment
This one goes to the Japanese team and their fans. Despite a disappointing campaign, fans cleaned the stands after their matches and the team left their changing room spotless -- complete with a thank you note written in Russian. We could all learn a lesson or two on respect from these guys.
Best Fan Celebration
Group F was pandemonium on the last day of group stages. Mexican fans thought their team had blown their chances of making the knock out stages after a loss to Sweden in their last group game.
But a surprise win by Korea dumped the Germans out of the competition and Mexico was given a second chance -- and the Mexicans showed their appreciation to their new Korean friends. South Korean ambassador to Mexico, Byoung-Jin Han, was hunted down in Mexico City, before chugging tequila and partying with hundreds in the streets.
International relations at its best -- who says sport doesn't matter?