The Most Unpredictable World Cup Award Goes to…
It goes without saying that this World Cup has been one of the most enjoyable World Cups ever. From the unexpected wins to the hilarious memes, this World Cup has definitely kept us entertained. But when it comes to the element of surprise, this year takes the cup. Who would have imagined that Saudi Arabia would win over Argentina? Or Morocco over Portugal? No one, probably. Now that the World Cup has come to an end, we wanted to share our favorite most unexpected moments this year.
1- Argentina vs Saudi Arabia, 1-2
Everyone knows that Argentina is one of the world’s best national football teams of all time. They were World Cup Champions twice (in 1978 & 1986), and were runner-ups three times. They had 47 victories out of 87 matches in total. This year, their unbeaten streak was broken against none other than Saudi Arabia. Other than the fact that Saudi Arabia participated in the world cup six times, there’s nothing else worth mentioning from their World Cup credentials. History was made when Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-1 after AlDawsari’s goal. They didn’t get past the group stages but that’s okay. This match was enough to fill us all with joy and pride. And surprise, of course.
2- Germany vs Japan, 1-2
One of the best things this world cup gave was the drama. Japan against Germany was ironic considering their past, but that wasn’t enough. Japan managed to win against one of the world’s most successful teams in world cup history. Japan qualified for the world cup seven times, which doesn’t compare to Germany. The number of times that Germany reached the finals and semi-finals (4 times each) alone is greater than the number of times Japan qualified for the World Cup in general. Germany was also eliminated in the group stages while Japan reached the round of 16s then got eliminated. Japanese fans also kept up their tradition to clean the stadiums after their national team’s matches. They kept it classy and refined to the very end.
3- Cameroon vs Brazil, 1-0
Another one for the books is Cameroon becoming the first African country to defeat Brazil. Brazil, the football giant, is the no.1 national football team in the world. They have participated in every World Cup to date and were Champions 5 times. It’s an honor in itself to play against a country with such accomplishments, let alone defeat them. This is a huge feat for any football team, specially a team that’s ranked as the 43rd in the world. It’s also worthy to mention that the winning goal’s celebration resulted in a red card after the scoring player, Vincent Aboubakar removed his shirt. This moment went viral because the referee was all friendly and shaking hands with Aboubakar and giving him the red card all at the same time.
4- Everything Morocco
The biggest (and happiest) surprise this year was definitely Morocco. It was off to a strong start when they won against Belgium, 2018’s third place. Then they overcame Canada and then Spain. It is important to note that Spain is one of the most present national teams in the world cup, having won the World Cup in 2010 and participating in 16 tournaments out of 22. Then Morocco eliminated Portugal in the Knockout rounds. They won 4 out of 6 matches this cup, which landed them in the third place play-off against Croatia. They got the fourth place after losing 2-1. Alas, Morocco became the first African and Arab country to to reach a World Cup semi-final. They were truly this year’s underdogs.
5- The Final!
Arguably one of best final matches of the World Cup, the back and forth nature of this match kept us on our toes. Argentina was dominating the match at first by scoring two goals in the first half (Messi 23’ & Di Maria 36’), but France, more like Mbappe, put on a ferocious fight. In the last ten minutes of the match, France was granted a penalty and Mbappe scored. He then followed it with another goal a minute apart from the first one. They had to play extra time where Messi scored the third goal and then Mbappe countered back with his own third goal. This all resulted in a penalties round with Messi and Mbappe successfully scoring their penalties. Despite the fact that France lost, it was a huge achievement for Mbappe as he became the second player to score a hat-trick in the final of a World Cup. Messi also made the achievement of a lifetime by granting his country their first World Cup in 36 years in his last ever participation in the tournament. Needless to say, this final was a reminder of what football is all about.
6- Honorable Mentions
This World Cup was full of unique experiences that made even more special. Here’s our favorites:
- Qatar was the first Middle Eastern Country to host the World Cup.
- This was the first World Cup to have teams from all six continents play in the Knockout round.
- Qatar became the first host country to lose the Cup’s opening match and all three of its matches.
- People from all over the world were wearing Qatari traditional clothes in their countries colors. To see traditional Thobes decorated with all the participating countries’ flags was surely a sight to behold.
- Messi wearing a Qatari robe while lifting the World Cup as an honorable mark from Qatar.
All these moments and experiences added together gives us one of the most unpredictable World Cups ever. A beautiful aspect of the World Cup is that the whole world is brought together to enjoy football in union. Many countries achieved a lot this year and returned back to their countries in honor. This was truly a World Cup to celebrate. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.