What makes the FIFA 2018 the best ever World Cup
5) Video Assistant Referee
Not everything in this world is perfect and the same goes for Video Assist Referee which has been deployed for the first time in the World Cup. While controversy does spice up the game every now and then; however, on such grand stages, mistakes should not happen that often. One will always wonder what would have happened had Henry’s hand ball been caught by the VAR or Lampard’s free kick against Germany been allowed by the goal line technology. Not this time though because with the use of VAR, the defenders would certainly not get away with it as easily as they used to nor would the divers be benefitted. So much so that this edition has featured most penalties in a world cup tournament. In 48 group stage games, 335 decisions by reviewed by the VAR and has significantly improved referee’s calls from 95% to 99.3%.
4) Late goals and drama
The World Cup’s first big game between Spain and Portugal had everything. De Gea’s error, Ronaldo’s show and Diego Costa’s solo goal, the game had everything a football fan dreams of. Not only that, the trend has continued throughout the World Cup. Germany’s defeat shocked the football world while Kane’s late goal against Tunisia had fans jumping up and down. Mexico’s win against Germany reportedly caused a earthquake in Mexico. Moreover, late goals have been in the trend in Russia. Kroos’ final minute winner, Yerry Mina’s equalizer in the last minute and Chadli’s late winner against Japan, the World cup has featured some of the most enticing dramas. So have the group stages, with four groups going till the final minute to decide the qualifying teams. Germany’s group was full of drama where Sweden’s hammering of Mexico nearly ended El Tri’s campaign on a day where they had virtually qualified for the next round.
One of the key highlights of the world cup has been the rise of so called small teams. Right from the off, the big teams have found it difficult to break down the resolute defences of ‘smaller’ teams. Germany were shocked by Mexico and were later embarrassed by South Korea. Spain had a tough time against Iran while Morocco nearly got the better off Portugal. France too did not have an easy ride in the group stages and Argentina were thrashed away by Croatia. In the knockout rounds, trend has continued. Spain were unexpectedly knocked out by Russia on penalties while England barely survived on penalties against Colombia. Japan almost created history when they went 2-0 up against Belgium before Martinez’s side stepped up to win one of the most exciting matches of this world cup.
2)The route to the final
The run of unpredictable results has already developed this World Cup into one of the most invigorating tournaments. Following Brazil’s defeat to the hands of Belgium, this will be the first time when there’s no Germany, Brazil or Argentina in a world cup semifinal, which speaks volumes about the unpredictable nature of this world cup. Just about no nation can be discarded despite easily being low on quality on paper. Croatia, England and Sweden are already dreaming of the prospect of reaching the final. ‘It’s coming home’ signature line is already amongst the highest trending in England and given England’s relatively easy route, the World Cup could indeed be coming home. On the other hand, France, Croatia and Belgium’s golden generation too are seemingly ready to put their stamp.
This World Cup had to wait until 37 games to finally feature a 0-0 draw, which proves that goals are guaranteed in every game. Barring England and Belgium’s thrashing of Panama, this World Cup has not featured one sided games. In 26 games, the winning team has won by a single goal difference while the manner too has been enticing. France 4-3 win over Argentina, Belgium’s impressive comeback against Japan and Germany’s emotional win against Sweden have been some of the best games of this world cup and all of them have gone down the wire for the outcome.