France put on a thrilling show to win the World Cup final. But their victory (which I predicted) in the final against Croatia was not the only triumph.Here are some other winners from the tournament.The World Cup itselfThe ultimate rejoinder to anyone who tells you international football no longer matters, or that the sport itself is boring.The highest-scoring final since England's 4-2 victory in 1966 was the icing on a sumptuous cake of entertainment and unpredictability.Unlikely heroics from Iran, South Korea and Russia; early exits for Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Portugal; and wonderful football at various times from Mexico, Belgium and the runners-up Croatia.Kylian Mbappe An appropriate World Cup Final hero.A 19-year-old product of the wrong side of the Parisian tracks, with searing pace, an explosive shot and the world at his feet.Keeping those feet on the ground may be his only problem now. Already the subject of a £166m transfer from Monaco to Paris St Germain, … [Read more...] about World Cup 2018: Five other winners from the tournament in Russia
Referees world cup
Nestor Pitana of Argentina will referee the World Cup final between France and Croatia, FIFA announced on Thursday. Pitana, a former actor who has already refereed four games including the tournament opener between host nation Russia and Saudi Arabia and France's quarter-final win over Uruguay, will take charge of Sunday's showpiece at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. He will have two more Argentines, Hernan Maidana and Juan Pablo Belatti as assistant referees. Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers will be the fourth official backed up by another Dutchman, Erwin Zeinstra. In addition to handling a French victory, Pitana was also in charge when Croatia beat Denmark in the last 16 on penalties. The 43-year-old's other game in Russia was Sweden's 3-0 group-stage victory over Mexico. In Brazil in 2014, Pitana refereed four matches. The last was France's 1-0 loss to eventual champions Germany in the quarter-finals. For the third-place playoff between Belgium and England in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, … [Read more...] about Argentina’s Nestor Pitana to referee World Cup final
THE 2018 World Cup is the first ever to feature the Video Assistant Referee. All eyes will be on the officials this summer as the controversial system is set to be used at the world's premier competition. VAR has been trialled around the world for the past two seasons with varying degrees of success - and was present at last year's Confederations Cup in Russia. But despite teething problems Fifa have given in the green light for use this summer, hoping that it will help eradicate any refereeing mistakes that could potentially cost a side the trophy. Why are the World Cup VAR referees wearing full kit? THE OFFICIALS operating the technology are housed elsewhere and aren't in the stadium itself. Which is why there was plenty of surprise and amusement when it was revealed that they would all be decked out in full kit. Pierluigi Collina, the famous whistler and one of the main advocates of the technology, has bizarrely given the reason - and it's because the refs are worried about sweat. … [Read more...] about Why are the World Cup VAR referees wearing FULL kit, and where is the room they are based in during the tournament?
A referee selected by FIFA to go to the World Cup has been placed under investigation in Saudi Arabia and prevented from taking charge off a cup final. Fahad Al Mirdasi was due to referee the King's Cup final on Saturday before being referred to administrative investigators, the Saudi Football Federation said. The federation statement on Twitter did not specify the nature of the investigation into the 32-year-old Al Mirdasi. It said the decision was approved by the Saudi Olympic Committee, whose president, Turki al-Sheikh, also runs the General Sports Authority. Al Mirdasi is one of 36 referees chosen by FIFA to work the 64 games at the World Cup, which kicks off in Moscow on June 14. "The matter is with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation," world football's governing body told The Associated Press. "FIFA has no further comment." Al Mirdasi was selected for last year's Confederations Cup, which served as the World Cup warm-up tournament in Russia. He oversaw the third-place game … [Read more...] about World Cup referee under investigation in Saudi Arabia
Any Englishman will tell you Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" was the worst and most controversial refereeing decision of the 1986 World Cup - they would all be wrong. Quite simply the USSR were cheated out in the Round of 16 against Belgium. Twice, the officials missed clear offside decisions to help the Belgians progress in a nervy 4-3 extra time classic. It was a depressing exit in a depressing year for the Soviet Union, with the country suffering the devastating Chernobyl Nuclear disaster two months earlier. There was a glimmer of happiness for the Cold War communists at the World Cup - and it came from a 25-year-old bloke named Rats in the group stage. Vasyl Rats was an unassuming member of the all-conquering Dynamo Kiev - who had won the Vysshaya Liga the previous two seasons along with a second Cup Winners' Cup triumph in 11 years. In fact the club boasted 12 players in the Soviet's squad - including 1986 Ballon d'Or winner Igor Belanov. Rats was a true Dynamo man, having played … [Read more...] about Remembering Vasyl Rats’ long range blast against France at 1986 World Cup