The 2018 World Cup has been described by many as the best and most competitive since the tournament began in 1930.
But even before this tournament kicked off, there were major talks about political unrest in Russia. However, everything seems to have been overblown out of proportion.
The 2018 World Cup gave us some wonderful moments - other times unforgettable games - if the quality of matches were anything to go.
YEN.com.gh, together with the World Cup section sponsors Accra Brewery Limited, recall the best moments from the most expected football event of the last four years. Below are the five matches of the 2018 World Cup that deserve to be watched over and over again:
1. France vs Argentina - June 30
This was one of the most entertaining last 16 games in Russia. The newly-crowned world champions, France, started their journey to the trophy with a 4-3 win over the Argentines.
Didier Deschamps’ side’s fierce attacking was not that visible during the group stages. However, it all changed when facing Messi and Co., with 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe scoring twice to send them packing.
It turned out to be one of the highest scoring games at the World Cup, and in terms of entertainment for the neutrals, this is a game that will be watched over and over.
2. Spain vs Russia - July 1
The hosts, Russia, made a first ever appearance in the knock-out stages of World Cup. The game itself was pretty passive, with lots of defending.
However, the penalty shootout was one of the most thrilling actions of the tournament, for sure. Igor Akinfeev, the Russian goalkeeper, made two sensational saves. One of the saves was in flight, with his foot!
In the end, the hosts knocked Spain out, making it one of the biggest upsets in the history of World Cups. Russia went into the tournament as the lowest ranked team, but managed to get to the quarter-finals thanks to that famous win over La Roja.
3. Belgium vs Japan - July 2
It’s the last 16 game, and the bronze-medalist-to-be, Belgium, are two goals down. Then they do the unbelievable, score three times and knock Japan out on the final minute of the game.
Forget the description above, this game was more entertaining than Belgium simply coming back from two goals down to win 3-2. It was end-to-end for the full 90 minutes and the attacking flair of both teams is what puts this game up there with the very best.
With Japan taking a 2-0 lead, they refused to sit back and continued to attack in search of more goals. However, by so doing, they opened up their defense to the lethal counter-attacking threats of Belgium, which they duly obliged.
In hindsight, the third goal from the Red Devils, which turned out to be the winner, is regarded by many as one of the most brilliant counter-attacking moves ever seen in football. We bet you’d love to watch it some many times without tiring.
4. Russia vs Croatia - July 7
The hosts vs the runners-up-to-be Croatia. It was a tense and emotional quarter-final. It’s 1-1 in the first 90 minutes. Then it got to 2-2 after 120 minutes with Russia’s Denis Cheryshev scoring an equalizer on 115th minute and giving hope to the hosts.
This was one game that was so unpredictable. Russia took an early lead, but Croatia equalized before also taking the lead, only to lose it with five minutes to full time.
But the real moment of spark came in the penalty shootout, where we witnessed some amazing and hilarious kicks in equal measure. Still, it goes down as one of the most dramatic games in the history of World Cups.
5. Croatia vs England - July 11
It’s semi-final, and England are on their “it’s coming home” mantra. Since 1966, it has never been that close. An early goal in the 5th minute inspires the Three Lions.
However, Croatia mounts an incredible pressure on one-time world champions, makes 22 shots (7 of them on target) against England’s 11 shots (2 on target) in 120 minutes.
At one point it looked like it was going England’s way. Then Ivan Perisic’s stunning goal changes the direction of the game and puts Croatia back in control.
But just as it looked like the game will go to extra-time, Mario Mandzukic popped up with a clinical finish to broke England hearts. The game itself lacked so many chances early on, but it turned out great in the end.
What were your favourite moments of the just-concluded tournament? Share your thought with us.
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