On Sunday, July 15, France beat Croatia to win the FIFA World Cup 2018. I noticed that Croatia played one match more than France did before the Final. How? I will explain that later. Before that, I will list down some of the interesting things I noticed and knew during this tournament.
1. All editions of FIFA World Cup, and its logos are registered Trade Marks of FIFA. While this may not be a new information to many, I was surprised while I saw the superscriped TM besides the names and the logos.
2. Two official ball were used in the tournament. In the group stage, Telstar 18 was used while in the knockout stages, an alternate version of Telstar 18, Telstar Mechta was used.
Telstar Mechta had red colour instead of black.
Telstar 18 and Telstar Mechta were tribute to this original iconic Telstar which was the official ball in 1970 World Cup.
Source for both football images: http://www.soccerballworld.com/HistoryWCBalls.htm
3. Three big contenders got knocked out from the same ground–Kazan Arena.
Germany lost to South Korea 2-0 on 27th June in the final match of group stage. They ended up at the bottom of their group, thus adding insult to injury.
On June 30, the ground witnessed one of the best matches of the tournament that saw Argentina lose 3-4 to France.
Six days later, Belgium beat Brazil 2-1 to reach to the semi-finals on the same ground.
Kazan Arena was also the historic ground which witnessed the first World Cup VAR (video assistance refree) decisions on June 16. Both France and Australia were awarded a penalty each during the match.
4. Crotia had a difficult road to the Final.
They had topped their group with wins in all three matches: 2-0 against Nigeria, 3-0 against Argentina and 2-1 against Iceland. In the knockout stage, they first faced Denmark, then Russia and in the semi-final, England. All the matches went to the Extra Time, the first two of which were decided by the Penalty Shootouts.
Adding 30 minutes each of the extended play, I saw that Croatia had played 90 minutes of additional time. 90 minutes make up a regular match. While they met France (who played no extra time) on Sunday, they had played a match equivalent time more than France had done. The fatigue clearly showed towards the end of the match.