Top five matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Written by: Waseem Zaidi
This World Cup had many mouth-watering clashes and close matches that kept the fans on the edge of their seats.
The recently-concluded FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia produced some of the best matches that had memorable, heart-wrenching and iconic moments for the fans to enjoy. This World Cup was anything but dull and what made the tournament a grand success were the close encounters that brought out top-level performances from the participating countries.
So, we take a look back at the top five matches from the World Cup.
5. France 4-2 Croatia
The final. The match to decide the world champions. This showpiece had more goals than the last three finals combined. The two most convincing sides, France and Croatia, gave it their all in a game that was a perfect end to a magnificent tournament.
Watch: France Vs Croatia highlights
The match saw Les Bleus emerge as the victorious with a dominant display. Where France won the ultimate glory, Croatia won the hearts of fans all over the world, owing to their gritty performances throughout the tournament. From an own-goal, a VAR-assisted penalty, a howler by Hugo Lloris to a Kylian Mbappe masterclass, this match had it all. This final was perfectly symbolic of an eventful World Cup that saw fans jumping up and down with emotions.
4. Belgium 3-2 Japan
Japan were the only Asian team that had qualified for the knockout rounds and almost eliminated the tournament favorites Belgium in the Round of 16 clash. A close encounter was a match of two halves, where all the five goals came in the second 45. The Belgians got an early scare going down to two early second half goals from Japan. This, in turn, brought out a true masterclass from the Red Devils, which saw them claw their way back into the game and snatch the victory with the winner coming deep in injury-time.
Watch: Belgium Vs Japan highlights
This epic clash ended the Asian challenge, but Japan bowed out of the competition with their heads held high, winning praise from fans all over the world for their attractive style of play, commitment and a hunger to win.
3. Spain 1(3)-(4) 1 Russia
Coming into the World Cup as the host nation, the Russian squad was under immense pressure. Being the lowest ranked team at the tournament, they managed to upset Spain after a grueling Round of 16 clash that saw the Russians eliminating the 2010 champions on penalties.
Watch: Spain vs Russia highlights
The victory resulted in an outbreak of joy and euphoria in Russia and all the players suddenly became national heroes. Hence, the fans were introduced to one of the most emotionally-charged matches of the World cup.
2. South Korea 2-0 Germany
After their initial defeat to Mexico, Germany met South Korea in a do-or-die clash. However, the Germans could not shake away the curse of the champions and cfell to an embarrassing defeat to bow out of the tournament. The South Korean players showed immense resolve and played with unwavering desire to salvage some pride since they had already been eliminated from the tournament coming into this fixture.
Watch: South Korea Vs Germany highlights
This clash resulted in one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
1. Portugal 3-3 Spain
The first match that had everyone on the edge of their seats, this epic European Derby of sorts played between neighboring countries Portugal and Spain had it all, most notably a hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo and the sublime free-kick to attain the feat.
Watch: Portugal Vs Spain highlights
A roller coaster of emotions for fans, this match saw both teams leading and trailing at some point of the game and a draw was the most fitting result, since both teams performed equally well. Both however, ended up having disappointing campaigns, getting knocked out in the Round of 16.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be remembered for it's memorable matches. Many more fixtures deserve special mentions. France and Argentina playing out a seven-goal thriller, Croatia humbling Argentina in the group stages, Germany edging out Sweden thanks to last minute free-kick goal by Toni Kroos and England winning a penalty shootout for the first time ever in the World Cup. This tournament was everything that the fans had hoped for, memorable.
Published: Tue Jul 17, 2018 04:50 PM IST