2018 World Cup Takes Place in Russia

Every four years, fans around the world gather in a host nation to celebrate soccer’s most talented athletes and countries in a tournament filled with unexpected early exits and breakthrough nations all around. The Russia World Cup this year was no different. In fact, many would argue that the action had started long before the World Cup did, with international soccer powerhouses like Italy and the Netherlands failing to qualify.

As the round of 32 started, all eyes were on Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah to see if he could recapture the brilliance he brought to Liverpool the previous season. Chemistry troubles mixed with a Sergio-Ramos-induced injury a few months prior prevented Salah and the Egyptians from escaping darkness and breaking into the Round of 16. Another unexpected exit was from the previous World Cup champions Germany. After an unlucky loss against Korea and a devastating loss to Mexico in their first game, the Germans were on their way back home. The host nation Russia surprised many viewers by not only escaping the group stage but also making it through to the quarter-finals. Winning their first game against Saudi Arabia prompted Ananya Chetia ’20 (Saudi native) to call 2018’s cup “The worst World Cup I have ever seen.” When questioned further about the topic, she only let out that “[French forward] M’bappe is a cutie.” After sending the three lions home in the semi-finals, Croatia advanced to its first world cup final as a nation. France, with the help of Ananya’s favorite teenage-superstar, advanced to the finals with a win over Belgium.

With over 78,000 people in the stands and an estimated 650 million viewers around the world, the whistle blew, and the World Cup Final was underway. French forward Antoine Griezmann caught Croatian midfielder Mario Mandzukic off guard with a free kick own goal to give the French the lead. Soon after, Croatia equalized with a strong Ivan Perisic strike into the bottom right corner. Griezmann converted a penalty shortly before halftime to give France a 2-1 lead. After two more goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, the game was all but decided with the final score of 4-2.

However, not all is set for the French. If the pattern of the Spanish’s placement in 2014 and the Germans’ in 2018 continues, the 2022 World Cup may not bode well for the French.

– Noah Frato-Sweeney ’20

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