Kaushal Shukla Jul 19, 2018 13:40:55 IST
Savoured the thrills, unpredictability, and constant drama of this World Cup? Good. Even FIFA accepts the football showpiece might never be so engrossing again.
Russia might have staged the last 32-team World Cup. Or at least the last one not shoehorned in a crammed format at the end of the calendar year, and what a show it was.
With just one scoreless draw in 64 games, Russia’s World Cup was far from dull. By the time France and Denmark delivered a boring 0-0 draw in the group stage, 35 games had been played with at least one goal scored in each, breaking a World Cup record that had stood for 64 years.
Young stars made a mark, none more than France’s 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who became the youngest player to score two goals in a World Cup game since Pele in 1958. He also became the first teenager since Pele to score in a World Cup final.
Aging players set records, too. Goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player ever start in a World Cup game when he lined up in Egypt’s last match against Saudi Arabia aged 45. Mexico veteran Rafael Marquez became the first player picked in a starting XI at five World Cups.
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