The 7 greatest FIFA World Cup individual performances

It is difficult to forget certain things in your life. Your first kiss, your first heartbreak, and an exceptional performance from a top athlete. Whether you are a Real Madrid or a Barcelona fan, Ronaldo’s bicycle kick in the 2018 Champions League semi-finals against Juventus will be eternally etched in your memory. A great performance never ends on the field; it is written and talked about for years to come. We are still talking about Virat Kohli’s match-winning knock against Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2022.¬†

The biggest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, is just around the corner. Almost every legend has been featured in this grand event representing their respective country over the years. But somehow, only some of them have given us the performances to remember. Let’s have a look at seven such memorable renditions in the history of the FIFA World Cup.¬†

Zinedine Zidane vs Brazil, 1998 Final 

Zinedine Zidane became a benchmark for midfielders with his blistering performance against Brazil in the finals of the 1998 World Cup. The legendary midfielder took the Stade Velodrome stadium by storm with his two clutch goals within the first 45 minutes of the match. 

Zidane defined the meaning of grace every time he touched the ball that night. Each of his passes pierced through Brazil’s defence. France won the World Cup 3-0 against Brazil, with Emmanuel Petit scoring the final goal for the hosts. Zidane was named the “Man of the Match” and the rest is history.¬†

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Spain 2018 Group Stage

Cristiano Ronaldo has carried his side a lot of times in his glorious career. But to do it in a World Cup match against a team like Spain makes it more special. The Portuguese skipper scored a mesmerizing hattrick against Spain to steal a point against them in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo also became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive international tournaments. 

Ronaldo grabbed his maiden World Cup hat trick when his side needed him the most. What makes this performance more special is Ronaldo’s 88th-minute free-kick to equalize the score against Spain. A once-in-a-generation show by the greatest of all time. 

James Rodriguez vs Uruguay, 2014 Round of 16 

The 2014 World Cup was a life-changing campaign for James Rodrigues. 22-year-old James Rodriguez won it for his side against Uruguay with a spectacular brace in the Round of 16 stage. The former Real Madrid player became an overnight success as Colombia went on to

win the match 2-0 against Uruguay. Rodriguez created history with his performance as he carried Colombia to their first-ever World Cup quarter-finals. 

Rodriguez’s first goal against Uruguay, which was an exceptional volley, was described as ‚Äúone of the greatest goals the World Cup has ever seen‚ÄĚ by none other than Uruguay’s manager of the time, Oscar Tabarez. James won the Golden boot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was soon signed by Real Madrid after the World Cup for a historic sum of 90m euros (¬£71m), making him the 4th costliest player of the time.¬†

Diego Maradona vs England, 1986 Quater-final 

“A little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” this might be the most iconic line said by any footballer in the history of the sport. We don’t actually need to say who said it and when. Diego Maradona is coined as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, footballers to ever grace this beautiful sport. He was passionate, a genius, and a serial winner. He was loved by all, except, umm, some of the English fans for obvious reasons.¬†

Maradona scored the infamous “hand of God” goal against England to knock them out of the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup. However, the “hand of God” wasn’t the only talking point about Argentina’s win over England. Maradona also scored arguably the best goal of his career just 4 minutes after his first goal. Maradona’s second goal against England in 1986 was also named the ‘Goal of the century‚Äô. Gary Linekar scored a consolation goal for England in the 81st minute.¬†

Pele vs France, 1958 Semi-final 

“So you think you are Pele? a very common line used in the 70s and 80s, even by someone who has never watched a game of football. Pele was the first real superstar of the game and was globally known for his majestic aura in the world of sports. Pele was born to play football, and he has the stats to prove it. There are many songs written about his greatness, and his performance against France in the 1958 semi-final is just one of them.¬†

France was leading Brazil in that particular semi-final of the 1958 World Cup until Pele stepped in. A 17-year-old Pele, the youngest player in that World Cup, scored a hattrick to carry Brazil to the finals. Pele also scored a brace during Brazil’s 5-2 win against Sweden in the 1958 FIFA World Cup finals. Pele scored a total of six goals in just four appearances in the World Cup of 1958 and never looked back.¬†

Ronaldo vs Germany, 2002 Final 

The 2002 World Cup is fairly remembered for “that” haircut by the Brazilian Ronaldo. The legendary striker inspired almost an entire generation of teenagers to pick that haircut unintentionally. The real reason why Ronaldo adopted that look was to distract the media from writing about his ever-lasting knee injury. Against all odds, Ronaldo made it to Brazil’s squad in the 2002 World Cup after recovering from a severe knee injury.

Ronaldo was the star performer for Brazil in the finals against Germany, where he scored both goals to win for his team. Ronaldo comeback from a career-ending injury and became the highest scorer of the 2002 FIFA World Cup with a total of 12 goals. Ronaldo found the net against every opponent except England in the 2002 World Cup. But his performance in the finals against Germany was the best version of the Brazilian ace. 

Kylian Mbappe vs Argentina, 2018 Round of 16 

Kylian Mbappe’s worth is now in gold, and it is not a metaphor. No offer is good enough that will convince PSG to let him go; ask Florentino Perez. Very few players can match Mbappe’s stature in modern-day football, one of them being Manchester City’s Erling Haaland. Kylian Mbappe is touted to be the next legend of this game. Kylian Mbappe is a generational talent, and he has shown glimpses of his greatness since he was a boy.¬†

Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager after Pele to score a brace in a FIFA World Cup match, a record which stood since 1958. Kylian Mbappe achieved this feat against Argentina in the 2018 Round of 16 clash. Kylian Mbappe’s brace helped France to edge past Argentina in a thrilling 4-3 encounter. Kylian Mbappe was the best player on the pitch that night despite the presence of Lionel Messi.

Interesting Facts about FIFA World Cup

11 interesting facts about the 2022 FIFA World Cup

This winter, Christmas is going to arrive early for football aficionados. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is knocking just around the corner. The hosts Qatar, will contest Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament on 20th November. The stage is set for the biggest sporting event in the world, as millions of fans will be glued to their television screens for a month straight. 

Controversies, protests, and contentions, the hype built around the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are mainly due to the tension surrounding it. Having said that, the 2022 World Cup is also going to get emotional for the fans as two of the greatest footballers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, might be featuring in their last one. There is a lot to discuss about the upcoming sporting jamboree. Let’s have a look.¬†

11 interesting facts about the 2022 FIFA World Cup 

  1. First World Cup to take place in the Middle East 

Amidst all the controversies, Qatar has done something unimaginable. Qatar will become the first Middle-Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup. Qatar will be only the second Asian country to organize this grand footballing event. Against all the odds, Qatar is ready to set an example for the world. 

  1. Highest visitors count to date 

The streets of Qatar are expected to be packed throughout the FIFA World Cup. It is reported that over 1 million tourists and fans from around the world are expected to visit Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Over 1,300+ flights are expected to land in Qatar every day over two months. Qatar is already famous for being a tourist spot, and it’s just going to get bigger.¬†

  1. The most expensive World Cup to date 

Qatar has reportedly spent over £138 billion (17.60 Lakh Crore INR) to build the infrastructure to conduct the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The infrastructure includes stadiums, hotels, highways, and other facilities. Russia hosted the second costliest World Cup after Qatar, and they spent only £14.2 billion, followed by Brazil (£11.6 billion). 

Qatar’s insane World Cup cost is due to the money spent on building seven brand-new stadiums. To get a wider perspective, South Africa invested a total of $3.5 billion while hosting the World Cup in 2010.¬†

  1. The lowest number of stadiums

FIFA World Cup 2022 will only be played in 8 stadiums. This is the lowest number of stadiums recorded in the history of the World Cup. However, 7 of the 8 stadiums are newly built just to hold the Qatar World Cup. 8 or more matches will be played in each of the eight stadiums. 

Lusail Stadium is the largest stadium among the eight, which will be hosting over 80,000 fans. Al Bayt Stadium will be hosting over 60,000 fans, while the rest of the stadiums have the capacity of holding 40,000 people or so.

 

The eight stadiums are: 

  1. Lusail Stadium | Capacity: 80,000 seats 
  2. Al Bayt Stadium | Capacity: 60,000 seats 
  3. Al Janoub Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats 
  4. Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats 
  5. Khalifa International Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats 
  6. Education City Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats 
  7. Stadium 974 | Capacity: 40,000 seats 
  8. Al Thumama Stadium | Capacity: 40,000 seats 
  9. Smallest Country to host the FIFA World Cup 

Qatar will become the smallest country to host the FIFA World Cup by land and also by population of the country. Qatar measures only 11,571 km². Qatar is smaller than most of the states in the USA. The population of Qatar was around 29.3 lakhs in 2021. All eight stadiums are interconnected via the Doha Metro line. 

Uruguay is the next smallest country after Qatar to ever host a FIFA World Cup. Uruguay has a population of around 34.9 lakhs (2021) and is spread across 176,215 km². Uruguay hosted and clinched the first-ever FIFA World Cup in 1930. Qatar this time? No? Ok!. 

  1. First ever FIFA World Cup to be played in the Winter 

FIFA World Cups are mostly played during the summer between June and July. However, Qatar World Cup will be taken place during the winter. The reason is pretty obvious, Qatar’s scathing summer. The temperature in Qatar reaches up to 50‚ĄÉ. The FIFA authorities showed some mercy over the players and shifted the entire tournament to winter. The winter temperature in Qatar loiters between 4‚ĄÉ to 29‚ĄÉ.¬†

  1. Alcohol-friendly fan zones 

Access to alcohol is certainly not easy in Qatar, as it is a Muslim-dominated country. However, the hosts have considered the feelings of their beerologist travelling fans, especially the English, and have decided to put up multiple alcohol-friendly “fan zones”.¬†

Alcohol won’t be available in any of the stadiums. However, fans can consume their drink in the said spots. The prices of the alcohol sold in the “fan zone” will be comparatively lesser than the usual price of alcohol in Qatar.¬†

  1. Air-conditioned Stadiums 

Qatar will keep no stone unturned to make the 2022 FIFA World Cup a memorable one. Despite the tournament being set in the winter, Qatar has made its stadiums fully air-conditioned. The sub-tropical climate can make a switch anytime, and Qatar has no

intentions of taking any risk. The cooling of a single stadium will require the strength of around 44,000 air conditioners per game. 

Magnificent!. Certain environmentalists will say otherwise, though! 

  1. Costliest Match Tickets in World Cup history 

Watching a FIFA World Cup match in Qatar is not going to come cheap. Qatar has a simple way of recovering its gargantuan investment: how? by increasing the price of match tickets. The best tickets for the 2022 World Cup finals are going to cost around £1,179 (1,09,368 INR). The same ticket was priced at around £807 (74,797 INR) in the finals of the 2018 Russia World Cup. 

The cheapest tickets for the 2022 World Cup finals will be around £513.34 (47,592 INR). The tickets for the group matches will cost around £58.64 (5,436 INR) for the travelling fans. However, the citizens of Qatar can buy the group stage tickets for £8 (741 INR). The opening match of the Qatar World Cup between Qatar and Ecuador will cost around £302 (27,985 INR). 

  1. The Protest 

Countries around the world are protesting against Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup. There are many claims that Qatar has broken most of the human rights norms in the process of getting ready for the 2022 World Cup. A recent report claimed that more than 6,500 migrant workers from countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal had died in Qatar since 2010, the year when Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Many recognized players have also protested against Qatar on and off the field. 

  1. The Last Dance 

The end for which not a single fan of the sport can ever be prepared. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi: the pioneers of modern-day football, might be featuring in their last-ever football World Cup. While the 35-year-old Argentine has already made it public, Ronaldo is yet to comment on his future. 

FIFA World Cup remains the only thing neither of these two demi-gods has won in their prosperous careers. It’s their last dance, their last shot to conquer the dream. Will they? Can they? Destiny awaits.

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