The confetti has been cleaned up, the rain subsided, but the party has not stopped across the French countryside as France continues to celebrate its second World Cup title. Still, we’re not ready to go back to normal life, so let’s take a look back at those moments during the last month that moved us, got us out of our seats, and had us pinching our friends so they knew it was real.
Pavard’s goal against Argentina
Benjamin Pavard had a hummingbird of a goal when they took on Argentina in the Round of 16. Just look at this beautiful ball. It’s floats in space for what seems like an hour, when it starts to turn ever so slightly as it curves right into the side netting. Everything from how the ball rotates to the player in the background who knew it was going in the millisecond the ball started to curve and about a second before everyone else is sheer awesome. It’s probably the goal of the tournament.
We're here to help you watch this Pavard goal over and over and over again. pic.twitter.com/gvV57Xh7G6— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 1, 2018
Subašić’s toe save against Kane
England is up 1-0 on Croatia in the semifinals, and England is pressing for another one. Harry Kane receives the ball right by the goal, puts the ball on his right foot...and somehow hits the post! It’s a defining moment in the World Cup for the English, as that miss could have put them up 2-0 and the game possibly out of reach.
But wait...was it a miss? It wasn’t...IT WAS A SAVE. Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subašić made one of the greatest saves in World Cup history with the last strand of thread on his left cleat. It was a save so great, it took most of the world (myself included) a few days before they realized it was actually a miraculous save. Because of this save, Croatia went on to equalize and then eventually beat England in extra time to advance to the final.
The save. The distribution. The counter attack. The pass. The incredible dummy. The goal. It all came together in the last second for Belgium against Japan in the Round of 16 in the most dramatic ending to a match in this tournament. Thibaut Courtois takes the ball and outlets it to Kevin De Bruyne, who has acres of space. He runs down the middle of the field, reaching the attacking half of the field and sending the ball out to Thomas Meunier, who’s head on the right wing. Meunier first touches it into the box towards Romelu Lukaku in the middle, who lets the ball dummy through his legs to an open Nacer Chadli in front of the left side of the goal, who buries it home. A remarkable sequence for the Red Devils and a heartbreaking end to the World Cup for Samurai Blue.
We dare you to find a better counterattack!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2018
Chadli finishes off a beautiful team play to give Belgium the win late in stoppage time. pic.twitter.com/lbUxZDzG0E
Senegal’s dance practice
Who had more fun during this World Cup than Senegal? The answer is no one. Senegal was out in Russia living their best lives, and this dance they did during a practice in the group stages summed up the joy these players had in representing their nation on the world’s greatest stage. They eventually missed out on the knockout stage due to having two more yellow cards than Japan (the 7th of 8 tiebreakers). They should have advanced on fun alone.
Senegal took time out of their practice to have a dance party pic.twitter.com/f9OjOVIGLH— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 24, 2018
Panama announcers become emotional during first national anthem
Ready to choke up a bit? Panama was set to compete in its first World Cup match ever, and it was a moment the entire nation had been waiting to see. Hearing your national anthem play at a World Cup is as emotional a moment as there is, and Panamaians were about to hear it for the first time. As the national anthem began, two of Panama’s most famous announcers, David Samudio Garay and Miguel Remón, couldn’t contain that emotion. This is what the World Cup is all about: so much pride for your national team’s appearance in a World Cup that you can’t even hold it in. It was a moment they have been waiting for a lifetime to witness, so you can’t help but live it with them.
These are the Panama announcers listening to their national anthem for the first time at the World Cup. Sports are AMAZING!! pic.twitter.com/eWGgMtIsra— Rick C (@SportsByRick) June 26, 2018
Ronaldo’s free kick vs. Spain
Cristiano Ronaldo was hoping to lead Portugal to glory in its first match against Spain. He had traded goals with Diego Costa, but a Nacho bullet is what made the match 3-2 for the Spanish. Late in the match, Portugal wins a free kick, and Ronaldo steps up to take up. You all know what happened...brilliance. Cristiano Ronaldo curves it into the top right corner of the net, completing a hat trick and tying the match at 3-3, which turns out to be the final score. If this was Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup, he gave us another moment to add to the mountains of moments he’s provided over the years.
Mbappé’s coming out party vs. Argentina
Kylian Mbappé was a player that many people had heard of before the World Cup started. After this tournament, the entire world knows his name. His coming out party came against Argentina, where he set up the first goal by drawing a penalty and then scoring two more. His speed, his flair, and his brilliance on the ball was mesmerizing, and the world saw a bonafide star born that day. He also did incredible things like this stupidly sick back heel against Belgium in the semifinals. But, Kylian Mbappé is a player the world will see take this game to new heights...and he’s only 19.
Messi was hoping to carry his team to the quarterfinals, but it was Mbappé who stole the show.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 30, 2018
Watch the highlights of France vs Argentina in our 90' in 90" ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/R1QfhrTu3Q
Yuri Cortez gets the shot
Mario Mandžukić scores in extra time for Croatia, a goal that proves to be the game winner against England in the semifinals. As he runs into the corner to celebrate, his teammates tackle him into a photographer, Yuri Cortez, who was positioning himself to take pictures of the dogpile. Well, he became a part of the dogpile, but that didn’t stop him from capturing the photos of the tournament. Simply incredible for him, and the best part: no one was hurt in the taking of these photos.
Some images of the dramatic celebration of Croatia's second goal against England during the semi final of the world cup #FifaWorldCup2018 #EnglandvsCroatia #CRO #CROvENG #CROENG #RussiaWorldCup2018 #Russia2018 #Rusia2018 #Nikon #CroaciaInglaterra pic.twitter.com/4wTwObDT8t— Yuri Cortez (@YuriYurisky) July 12, 2018
Kroos’s goal against Sweden
Germany bombed out of this World Cup in the group stage, an amazing fall from grace for the 2014 World Cup champions. If they had one moment, it was this one, a Toni Kroos goal against Sweden at the death in a must-win match for them. Germany earns a foul just outside the box on the left side at an impossible angle. Well, impossible was nothing for Kroos on this day, as he takes a tiny kick to Marco Reus, who stops the ball so Kroos can sending it bending around the wall and passed the outstretched hand of the Sweden goalkeeper into the top right corner of the net for the win.
Egyptian in wheelchair gets the best view
It’s the 2nd day of the World Cup, and Egypt is about to play in its first World Cup match in 28 years, an opening match against Uruguay. In the Moscow Fan Zone, an iconic photo is taken that stands out amongst most others in this tournament, capturing the beauty that is the World Cup. An Egyptian fan in a wheelchair can’t see the screen to watch his team play, so fans of Mexico and Colombia pick him up—wheelchair and all—and hold him up so he can see his nation perform in the world’s biggest tournament for the first time in his life. There’s nothing like the World Cup to provide memories like this, where fans come together to lift up those who need lifting so they can proudly represent their nation.
Mexicans and Colombians join forces to help an Egyptian fan in a wheelchair to watch Egypt-Uruguay in a fan zone. What the World Cup is all about. pic.twitter.com/8S9hB35C2O— Oh My Goal (@OhMyGoal_US) June 17, 2018
As we leave this World Cup in the rearview mirror resume our daily lives, one last look at some of the many great moments that this tournament provided us. Do we really have to wait 4.5 more years for this feeling to come back? Nope. We’ll do it all again next year in France for the Women’s World Cup. The United States have a title to defend.