2018 Russia. 32 of the world’s best footballing teams & fans are mixing it up, in a great celebration of the brotherhood of football. It is a celebration of nations, great fun, great drama and great fun.
Belgian Refuses Penalty Against Tunisia
Fans respect Lukaku after ‘admirable’ act of sportsmanship when the honest Belgian forward showed great integrity when he convinced the referee not give Belgium a penalty kick during the match against Tunisia. This reminds us of the famous English club, The Corinthians, who refused penalties, toured the world, whose club name was adopted by Brazilian club, Corinthians. Both clubs still survive today. More on ths later. Meanwhile…
South Korean Fans Carried On Shoulders by Mexican Fans
Mexican Fans Carry South Korean Ambassador On Their Shoulders
Mexican fans paraded around the streets carrying the South Korean Ambassador on their shoulders (after South Korea put world champions, Germany out of the cup with a 2-0 win & allowing Mexico into the last 16.)
Germans Crash Out But Exit with Honourable Tweet
Although the World Champions never even made it out of the group stages (last time that happened was 1938), they did exit with dignity with the tweet below. They congratulated both Sweden and Mexico and then wished ‘good luck’ in the knockout stages. Nice touch.
One of the All-Time Great Games
France v Argentina (4-3)
Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messe, one of the, if not, ‘the’, greatest player in the world today, smiles and looks at every French player in the eye, as he shakes hands with each member of the opposition, moments before kick-off. When Messi meets France’s Matuidi, they hug each other. The next French player in the line is the 19-year-old French revelation, Kylian Mbappe. Messi gives a warm smile to the new kid on the block and gives him a two handed shake/pat on the arm. Then Messi turns and hugs France’s last player Antoine Griezmann. Game on! And what a game. It reminded me of the famous Brazil v France semi-final many years ago. Football at its finest.
Kante Hacked But Wouldn’t Fall
42 minutes into a fantastic game of football, France’s Kante was hacked by Mascherano, but Kante refused to fall. ITV commentator, Danny Murphy spotted it and said ‘let me tell you this: Kante has probably stopped him (Mascherano) getting a red (card) because, his honesty, which I love, by the way.” No diving nor rolling around on the ground, just a brave, brilliant & honest French hero doing his thing.
A Star Is Born
As the great Messi Lionel bows out of the World Cup, a new Pele is born, France’s youngest ever goal scorer in a major competition, Kylian Mbeppe. And now the humble 19-year-old Mbeppe is giving all his World Cup earnings to charity as he doesn’t think you should be paid to play for your country. Mbappe & Pele are the only two teenagers to score two goals in a World Cup Finals match (Pele saved his for the 1958 final against Sweden). It wasMbeppe’s run in the first half that ripped open the Argentinian defense and ripped up the record books.
Argentinian Fans Sing Forever
92 mins on the clock & 4-2 down, Argentinian fans were still singing. “These are songs of resistance from the Argentinian fans now. They’re still waiving their flags. They’ve been one of the highlights of the tour, for me, their supporters” said TV commentator, Guy Mowby. “They’ve been absolutely phenomenal today” said his co-commentator, Dannny Murphy.
Another Sensational Game – Belgian Coach Congratulates Japan
Belgium v Japan (3-2)
Moments after one of the most dramatic finishes in the history of the World Cup (Belgium came back from 2-0 down to score the winner 4 minutes into injury time), Belgian coach, Roberto Martínez, congratulated Japan: “They were (played) the perfect game. They were so solid. They frustrated us. They were clinical on the counter (attack).” Both sides’ players embraced each other at the end of this epic match. Japan, the underdogs played wonderful attacking football and played without fear against the experienced and much fancied, Belgians. Japan went 2-0 up and somehow Belgium did a ‘Lazarus’ (came back from the dead!) and went on to win a truly intriguing match.
After one of the most exciting games in the World Cup, defeated Japan displayed their humility, their respect and their friendship when their fans cleaned up any litter in the area where they sat.
Then their heroes, the national team, who played wonderful football, and narrowly lost 3-2 with a goal in the 90th minute, cleaned up their own dressing room. They even left a note saying ‘Thank You’ in Russian.
There is another team that shows this kind of respect by cleaning their dressing room. And they are the best in the world in another sport: rugby. The All Blacks clean their own dressing rooms after each match. Well done to the Japanese football team. We will miss you.
French King Tells Brazilian Prince To Stop Crying
‘Le Roi’ as the thousands of Manchester United Fans called their former highly successful captain and genius, Frenchman, Eric Cantona, has spoken to Neymar the prince of football, Brazil’s wayward genius who sadly, whinges & whines and upsets many football fans across the world. So, Neymar, pay attention and listen to the wise king’s words……
‘Le Roi’, Eric Cantona advises Brazil’s Neymar to stop acting
Croatian & English Football Honour
Croatian & English Friendship Despite High Stakes
16 minutes into extra time in an intense World Cup semi-final, with the score 1-1, English wing-back revelation, Kieran Trippier chased and blocked Croatia’s attacking midfielder Ivan Rakatic’s attempted cross. Trippier smiles and says something to Rakitic who smiles back and chats and then he warmly embraces Trippier’s head, acknowledging the accuracy of his defending in the heat of battle of extra time in a World Cup Semi-finals. Great, intense game of football. Congrats to both sides and good luck to the tiny new nation of Croatia who now play the three times finalists, France, in the final.
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If you like these stories, you might like some other World Cup Stories: Rio 2014 Sportsmanship Stories
Or you might like the Argentinian, Martin Palermo’s story (he missed 3 penalties in one match for Argentina but never gave up. Next game he scored for his beloved Argentina!