Russia 2018 was FIFA’s 21st global tournament. Contested by 32 teams, France won the Cup in Moscow courtesy of a 4-2 pain over Croatia.
Although the World Cup was a major win for the game of football, there is no denying the fact that the tournament was more kind to some than others.
The infographic below courtesy of bettingsites.me.uk clearly suggests that some players and teams walked away from Russia having enhanced their reputations within the game.
Here are the biggest winners at Russia 2018.
England manager Southgate has successfully repaired the disconnection between the Three Lions and the fans. Not many expected much from England heading into the tournament, but Harry Kane and company truly inspired in Russia, making thousands of indifferent fans believe in the team again after a series of tournament disappointments.
Most of the credit has to go to manager Gareth Southgate for his shrewd tactics and game management. He’s a truly brilliant manager.
Just like England, not many fancied the Balkans to make a mark in Russia. Despite boasting two of the best midfielders in the game, nothing special or significant was expected from this team at the event.
Fast forward to the final and Croatia was fighting for the game’s biggest prize, having made light work of Nigeria, Iceland, and Argentina in the group stages, as well as narrow victories over Denmark, Russia, and England.
The team won the hearts of many fans along the way, scoring plenty of goals, racking up the best stats, and showing character. It may not have won the prize, but it left Russia with the heads held high.
The Russian People
There was a lot of controversy and disagreement aimed at FIFA when it decided to award the hosting rights of the world cup solely to Russia. The truth is, before the World Cup, Russia didn’t have the best global reputation. Once the Cup kicked off, however, the Russians went about repairing their damaged image.
They opened homes to foreign supporters, offered help with directions, and made matches as comfortable for foreigners as possible. There were also cases of returned phones, wallets, and other valuables.
Mbappe’s exploits with Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain ensured he was already well-known before the World Cup started. But it was in Russia that the teenager really announced himself to the world.
He was a real shining light all tournament long, and his brace against Argentina in the quarter-finals was one of the highlights of the entire competition. With finishing and control well beyond his years, he is set to be the next global superstar once Ronaldo and Messi hang up their boots.
The Game of Football
Without any doubt, the biggest winners from the World Cup were the fans. Russia 2018 provided millions of fans all over the world with four weeks of non-stop action. From Ronaldo’s hat-trick to Di Maria’s wonder goal and Pogba’s strike in the final, the entire tournament was breathless. It acted as an advert for the sport, and we’re already looking forward to Qatar 2022.