Stories about football

Best World Cup ever: VAR controversies, major mishaps, outstanding goals and a fitting finale

According to a vast majority of people, this might just have been the best FIFA World Cup ever. And probably for one of the really rare moments in my life, I wouldn’t be a total cynic and would align myself with the popular opinion. Football’s showpiece event in Russia had it all. It had video assistant referee (VAR) controversies, major upsets, memorable contests, and bucket loads of goals; more per game than in three of the last four tournaments. In fact, if you were trying to create a perfect month-long sporting spectacle in a lab somewhere, an outcome like ...

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FIFA World Cup Final: The mind says France, but the heart wants Croatia

FIFA World Cup in France, way back in 1998, might not be my first recollection of football’s biggest event, but it surely is the most vivid one. Les Bleus came out victorious in the final against Brazil on their home soil, winning their first FIFA World Cup trophy. Majority of the people would remember this particular final because of Zinedine Zidane’s brace in the final against the Canaries at the Stade de France. There is also a small chance that they might remember it for (original) Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima’s bizarre omission and then his subsequent re-instatement 45 minutes before ...

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#GraciasCristiano: Two heartbreaks, one cruel summer

I remember holding my phone, staring at the screen, reading my friend’s message:  “Zinedine Zidane has left us.” It’s 15th Ramazan, I’m about to break my fast, I felt like a lump of tears had tied a knot in my throat. Even after keeping a fast of 16 hours, suddenly, I didn’t feel like eating anything at all. Shock, anguish or grief, I don’t remember. A wave of mixed emotions had swept across my body. I don’t remember crying but I do remember my mom asking, “What happened to her?” And the usual reply by my sister, “Oh, probably something related to football.” I don’t remember isolating ...

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Why Belgium and England will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-finals

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has reached a fascinating stage. After a dramatic Round of 16, which saw two of this generation’s greatest players, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, exiting the tournament on the same day, the quarter finals treated us to some memorable encounters, with England and France – both one-time champions – breezing past their opponents Sweden and Uruguay respectively. Belgium beat heavy tournament-favourites Brazil, courtesy of a classic display of quick counterattacking football, while Croatia defeated a spirited Russian side on penalties. Neither Belgium nor Croatia have ever won the World Cup. The semi-final line-up ...

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Did Real Madrid just cost Spain the World Cup?

Spain, a country of more than 46.3 million people, is located in Europe’s lberian Peninsula and is known for rich historical background. The country remained a cultural centre of the continent for a long time, and is being famously known for things like Pablo Picasso – one of the most influential artists in the history – Flamenco music and dance, bullfights and fantastic beaches. On the global stage, one of the most prominent things Spain is known for is football – more precisely because of La Liga, the premier football league in the country. The league arguably has the two best ...

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Munch on these easy, lip-smacking snacks instead of your nails while rooting for your World Cup team!

The stage has been set. Stadium lights are ablaze. Billions around the world are worshipping the black and white ball. Even those who don’t really follow football are simply tailgating and gathering in groups to cheer on their favourite teams. The FIFA World Cup is already shaping up to be more exciting than many had hoped. Hosts Russia kicked off the 2018 World Cup against Saudi Arabia in Moscow. There have already been some shocks: Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the competition, was the first to qualify for the Round-of-16; defending champions Germany have been knocked out of the ...

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Beware, champions! It is the year of the underdogs!

Whether it is fiction or real life, generally people find it easier to get behind the underdogs because of the more appealing nature. Harvard Business Review (HBR) once stated its viewpoint on underdog brands which is quite similar to what happens in football. “The biographies of underdog brands share two important narrative components: a disadvantaged position (they highlight a company’s humble beginnings and portray it as being ‘outgunned’ by bigger, better-resourced competitors) and a passion and determination to triumph against the odds,” an extract from the HBR report said. FIFA World Cup comes every four years but it gives the game ...

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With #SpainvsPortugal, we get to have dessert before finishing the starters

Imagine getting the chance to have your dessert before you are even properly done with the starters. Now that is precisely how the Friday night derby at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi feels like. The FIFA World Cup in Russia would barely be a day-old, when Portugal and Spain lock their horns to determine which one of the two Iberian rivals would proceed to the next round as the likely winner from Group B. With the reigning European champions set to go against the winners of the 2010 edition, group stage encounters cannot get any bigger than this. Historically ...

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For these 10 players, the 2018 FIFA World Cup could be their last shot at redemption

There are superstars and there are rising stars. There are seasoned veterans and there are hidden gems. Then there are those looking for a final chance at reviving their stagnating careers. The World Cup is a showcase for everyone and anyone but for some players, it is more about one last shot at salvaging their careers than aiming for the World Cup glory. But then again, things can go either way and players can find their careers sinking, if they exhibit poor performance in this tournament. In this list, let’s look at 10 players for whom this World Cup could ...

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FIFA World Cup 2018: These 4 formidable teams do not need Ronaldo or Messi to go the distance

FIFA World Cup is football’s showpiece event which breathes life into the sport every four years. The mega event has a distinctive swagger attached to it, promoting national unity and radiating positivity.  You will find passionate Barcelona and Real Madrid fans coexisting in harmony, derby rivals sharing a drink at a pub in Manchester, and a multicultural French team with the backing of the entire nation, for the sole reason of winning the elusive trophy. Let’s take a dip in the dynamics of international football, and ascertain the teams which have a realistic chance of going the distance in the World Cup ...

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