FIFA World Cup 18: Misprized Moments-2

  1. Japan vs Senegal: the pass, the assist, the finish!

This is another very underrated goal that could have been one of the goals of the tournament. A precise pass from the halfway line to the box, finding Nagatomo as he sprints from the left-wing, takes it with a beautiful touch off his left foot, that goes through two defenders to cut in and give the ball to the scorer, Inui who curls it into the bottom corner to complete one of the finest team goals in the world cup. I have watched this over and over again, only to wonder how this goal can be so misprized!?

2. Iran vs Portugal: Quaresma-tic strike

Those who have watched Quaresma before would know that he is not just a footballer, but also an artist. And the art of Trivela is something that he would pull off even at 3am, with his eyes closed. Such is his history with Trivela, and this was another one to his long list of Trivela goals. Now, just imagine how frenzied we would have gone had it been Messi or Ronaldo (taking nothing away from these two. They are the best for a reason).

3. Nigeria vs Argentina: Rojo to the Rescue

I know that this moment is very highly and deservedly valued. But I couldn’t resist myself from mentioning it, because you just don’t mind reliving this moment, unless you are a Nigerian. It was all square at 1-1, with only four minutes of regulation time remaining and Argentina had to win the match to stay in the tournament. Needless to say, they had to score a goal. That was when the Manchester United centre-back popped up out of nowhere to meet the cross from Gabriel Mercado to volley it to the net in a way any striker would be proud of. Marcos Rojo did something the rest of the attackers had been struggling to do throughout the tournament, in one go.

4. France vs Argentina: Take a bow, Di Maria!

I thought this strike would have easily made it to the list of top 10 goals of the tournament. Shockingly, like the Nacho’s goal, it didn’t. I am not blaming FIFA, because there were lot of great goals.

Angel Di Maria gets lot of space in the center, has a glance at the goal and backs himself to strike it all the way to the goal, which he actually does with pin-point precision and sublime execution of a long-range strike, as the ball goes curling away from Hugo Lloris who had no chance. The goal had class written all over it. In my opinion, this should have made it to the top 5, let alone top 10.

5. Belgium vs Japan: Did he mean it?

This game, for me, was the game of the tournament. All the goals coming in the second half, first two goals by one team, the other three by another team, with the last goal coming in the last minute of the game. Also, this match had some great goals by both the teams.

The Vertonghen goal is something that you don’t see every day. Weather he meant it or not is a whole different topic, as it looked like a misplaced cross in real-time. But if he meant it, which only he knows, it would be one of the best world cup goals I have ever seen. A cushioned header from the Belgian, from a ridiculously tight angle, goes sailing over the Japanese goalkeeper, towards the far-post and eventually finds the net to halve the lead of Japan, making it 2-1.

It was the start of something glorious. The comeback was well and truly on.

6. Belgium vs Japan: Classic counter attack, team goal; comeback complete

Courtois catches the ball, rolls it to De Bruyne who goes flying past everybody in the centre from end to end, finds Mertens in the right, Lukaku in the box dummies the Mertens’ ball to Chadli, GOOAALLL!!!! In the very last kick of the game, Belgium played their best football, and completed the comeback from 0-2 to 3-2, with the winner coming from unlikeliest of sources. I don’t think there were many better goals in the tournament.

7.England vs Colombia: England win on penalties for the first time

England pen.png
Sky News

I know that this moment is anything but misprized. But couldn’t resist myself from putting this up in the list, since I was backing the Three Lions. And if I could go back in time, this is the moment I would go back to. I am sure every English fan out there, wouldn’t mind going back to this moment, a thousand times. I would treasure those moments, the Pickford’s decisive save and Dier’s winning penalty, for life.

And guess what? I am not even English. I am an Indian.

8. The shambolic Pique-Ramos combination

What hurts me is the way we have mercilessly criticized and mauled David De Gea after one bad tournament and scapegoated him for everything. This man has carried Manchester United all alone since Sir Alex’s departure from the club, by pulling off, what would look like the save of the tournament, week in and week out. Many have questioned his credentials and the status of ‘the best goal keeper in the world’. What is funny is that nobody notices the failed partnership of Pique and Ramos, which has constantly erred and miscalculated. But who do we blame? The best goalkeeper in the world!

In 2014 world cup, Spain conceded 7 goals in 3 games, and were knocked out without making it to the knock out stages. Needless to say, their defenders had a tournament to forget. Unfortunately, like this time, they did not have De Gea’s errors to cover them.

In 2018 world cup: In 4 games, goals conceded by Spain – 6

Let us analyse each of them.

  1. If there was anybody to be blamed, it was Nacho, the one who caused the penalty, or the referee, for awarding a soft penalty.
  2. It was a goalkeeping howler from De Gea. And there is nothing much, anybody else could have done about that. He deserves to be blamed here.
  3. It was an absolute peach of a free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo, as he places it out of everybody’s reach to perfection.
  4. Boutaib makes most of a mix up between Iniesta and Ramos, as he speeds away with the ball after miscommunication from the two Spaniards, from halfway line to face De Gea one-on-one, and finishes it calmly, through the legs of De Gea. On De gea’s good days, he would have saved that with his eyes closed. But, Boutaib shouldn’t have won the ball in the first place and the shot should have never come.
  5. A set-piece goal, an emphatic header, totally out of De Gea’s reach, there is nothing much he could have done about that.
  6. Pique concedes a penalty, as he blocks Dzyuba’s header with an outstretched arm, leaving referee with no choice but to give it a penalty. Whether the handball was intentional or not, I don’t know. But I do know that it is foolish to defend with your arms in unnatural positions, and it is even more foolish to blame the goalkeeper for it.

There is no denying that De Gea had a bad tournament, and he was not even half the player he usually is. But was he the only one who had a bad tournament? Was he the only one to be blamed? Was he the only failure in the Spanish team? You tell me.

FIFA World Cup 18: Misprized moments- 1

World cup 2018 had lots of great moments that reminded us of the beautiful game of football, as to why it is the most popular sport in the world. It had many moments that were worthy of mentioning as the highlight and discussing as the talking point, as they truly lived up to the standards of the beautiful game. Despite that, there were some moments that did not get the deserved attention or went unnoticed.

Here are some of those moments:

1.Double whammy in the opener


The hosts were off to a dream start in the opening match against Saudi Arabia, and it was the kind of performance that the nation wanted to see, as the Russians thumped the Saudi Arabians with a 5-0 victory. But what stood out in this game was the last two goals by Denis Cheryshev and Aleksandr Golovin. The technique, power and placement were just impeccable. Definitely, two of the underrated goals of the tournament.

2.Morocco vs Iran: Late winner..erm own goal

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It is always heart-breaking to see your opponent score in the final moments and steal the game away from you. But what’s worse? Morocco fans would know the answer. It was in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Aziz Bouhaddouz broke the deadlock, but by finding his own net, to give Iranians all three points. That one moment of misfortune will haunt the veteran for life.

3. Portugal vs Spain: Nacho’s thunderbolt

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The New Yorker

Goals? Screamers? Goalkeeping howlers? Late equaliser? Hat-trick heroes? This match had it all.

The match began with a controversial penalty decision that went in Portugal’s favour, which was converted by, you know who, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo’s second goal was of a goalkeeping howler, as arguably, the best goalkeeper in the world, David de Gea got his basics completely wrong as it seemed like he took his eyes of the ball at the last moment.

Diego Costa scored twice in the game to bring Spain back from one goal deficit on both occasions, but their third goal was a thing of beauty. Nacho Fernandez didn’t just put Spain ahead, but also scored one of the goals of the tournament. The full-back came charging in to the lose ball and blasted it to the inside of the far post, from 20 yards out. Rui Patricio could only watch the ball thud into the woodwork and find the net. It was a thing of beauty!

When it just looked like Spaniards were taking all three points, Portugal won a free kick at the edge of the box and it was all down to one man, Cristiano Ronaldo. With only two minutes of regulation time remaining, the Portuguese skipper produced one, straight of the top drawer, to the top corner, around the wall to find the net.

This was a match that was meant for the neutrals. It had a perfect script.

4.France vs Australia: A moment of brain fade

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Irish Mirror

This was quite an eventful match as VAR was consulted for the first time in the tournament and later on, even goal-line technology came into action.

But for me, a moment of madness from French defender, Samuel Umtiti, was what caught my eyes. Just few minutes after Antoine Griezmann scored from the spot to put France ahead in the 58th minute, Samuel Umtiti’s blatant handball in the box left referee with no doubts, but to award another penalty, but this time on the other side of the pitch.

Despite Australia scoring from the penalty, France had to sweat it out to score their second and take all three points. This incident would have been much more talked had France taken anything less than three points. Good save, Samuel.

5. Denmark vs Peru: Maldini? Nesta? Lahm? It’s Kjaer!

In this match, Peru would have considered themselves extremely unlucky to not just not have gotten a goal, but also to not have gotten a point. They had more shots, shots on target, possession and clear goal scoring opportunities, only to find themselves on the losing side. But what stood out for me was what happened in the 29th minute of the game, when the Danish skipper, Simon Kjaer came up with a heroic block and unleashed his inner Maldini to rescue his team from trailing 1-0. That is another very underrated moment of the tournament.

Getty Images

6. Costa Rica vs Serbia: Matic piqued



Nemanja Matic is known for his calmness and composure with or without the ball. Definitely not someone you would relate with when you hear the word ‘angry’. This was one such rare moment when he lost his cool. (Or maybe he was just running down the clock. They were winning anyway)

7. England vs Tunisia: A bit of football and a bit of wrestling


Daily Mail

This was the match where the Three Lions announced themselves to the world in the tournament. The young English team showed a lot of promise from the very first minute of the tournament. Clearly, they weren’t there to just fool around.

In the 51st minute of the match, Tunisia showed one of the ways to keep Harry Kane quiet, as he was wrestled and pinned down to the ground by the Tunisian defender, Yassine Meriah, in a corner. Apparently, that’s an effective way to keep the Englishman quiet, as that was the second time in the game he was at the receiving end of something similar. But in the referee’s eyes, they were just not penalties.

Strangely, the referee, earlier in the game, awarded one of the softest penalties to Tunisia, with an English player going into the books. In referee’s defence, it was just a yellow card and a penalty. Fair play ref!

8. Russia vs Egypt: El-Shenawy’s goalkeeping howler

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One of the first things that a goalkeeper should learn is to catch the ball. One of the most basic things that a goalkeeper should know is to judge when to parry or catch. If you don’t get that judgement right, it could prove disastrous to your team. The Egypt goalkeeper, Mohamed El-Shenawy had one such moment of indecision and lack of judgement, and it did prove extremely disastrous for the Egyptians as the ball went straight into the enemy’s hands (legs in this case) and led to a goal, after he parried what looked like a straight-forward ball from a misplaced cross, with no pressure from the opponents around him. From what looked like a deadlock till that point, Egyptians went on to concede two more goals after that defensive disaster, before Mohamed Salah scored a consolation goal to make it 3-1 for Russia. And it was curtains for Egypt, as the last game was a dead rubber.

Watch the goal here Fathy own goal

9. Portugal vs Morocco: Gordon Banks-esque from Rui Patricio


There were many great saves in the tournament. But this save by Rui Patricio against Morocco was a jaw-dropper. In the 57th minute, a bouncing header, directed towards the far post, the header that had everything a textbook would suggest, was going into the Portuguese goal. But the Portuguese shot-stopper didn’t only reach for it with super reflexes, also fisted it over the cross-bar with a strong bottom hand. Very Gordon Banks-like!

10. Nigeria vs Iceland: Musa all the way


Ahmed Musa’s performance against Iceland must be one of the best individual, yet one of the most underrated performances in the tournament, which is why it makes the list. Musa scored a memorable brace, as he scored two breathtakingly brilliant goals in a must-win match for Nigeria to keep them alive in the tournament. He just ran the show in the second half.


Cristiano Ronaldo: Rags to Riches

Daily Mail








If there is one person from football fraternity I would like to idolise, it would be, the man who has truly come from rags to riches, poor to popular, ordinary to elite, the man, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sporting CP:

101 Great Goals

Ronaldo, aged 7, started his journey playing for amateur team Andorinha from 1992 to 1995, followed by a two years spell at Nacional. Aged 12, he succeeded to break into Sporting CP after a three-day long trial. Ronaldo was only 17 when he crossed all the barriers to make it to the first team. But for a man of his abilities and work ethics, age was merely a number.

In 2003, in a preseason friendly fixture, Sporting CP played Manchester United which later turned out to be a life changing event for the teenager. What defines him are moments like these. He knew how and when to bring the best out of him, and playing an elite team like Manchester United, with world watching him, had to be one of those moments. Basically, the stage was set for this boy! And guess what? The boy made the stage his own with a jaw dropping performance, and it didn’t take long for Sir Alex and his men to see it. ( click here to watch the video )

The Independent

Of course, how could the boy go unnoticed when he was oozing with confidence and class. That performance didn’t just earn him a move to Manchester United, the transfer fee of £12.24 million made him the then most expensive teenager in English football.

Manchester United:

Adapting to an entirely different place, culture, teammates, language would have been a big ask for most teenagers. But not for Cristiano Ronaldo!


He was given the responsibility of wearing the prestigious number 7 shirt, which was previously worn by players such as George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham. All this hype and expectation could have easily retrogressed any teenager’s career. But for Ronaldo, it was extra source of motivation. At a very young age, he achieved from becoming one of the best players in the team to becoming one of the best players in the world. But what impresses me the most is that he is hardworking in every sense. Moving to Manchester from Lisbon, adapting to the culture, climate, food, etc. learning the language, and having so much already on the platter, having to play football under enormous expectations and scrutiny didn’t stop the boy from becoming the player he is, today.

I definitely don’t want to mention the long list of accolades that he and his team have won in his long career, so far. He achieved everything a footballer would have dreamt of in his six years spell at Manchester United. From being an exciting youngster to a catalyst to the team for achieving all the major trophies, to winning Ballon d’Or, he did it all at 23.


Major trophies and achievements for Manchester United(2003-09):

FIFA Ballon d’Or/Ballon d’Or: 2008

Premier League: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09

FA Cup: 2003–04

Football League Cup: 2005–06, 2008–09

FA Community Shield: 2007

UEFA Champions League: 2007–08

FIFA Club World Cup: 2008

FIFA World Player of the Year: 2008

FIFPro World Player of the Year: 2008

Real Madrid:

After achieving everything possible as a footballer, he could have easily lost his determination or hunger to be better, to train harder, to improve his game. He could have just ended his career right there, and still gone down as a great footballer. But as I said earlier, he is a hardworking player in every sense. It is his work ethic that makes him the player he is today.

In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid for a record transfer fee, at the time, of £80 million.


Guess what!?(no prizes for guessing here) He achieved everything he did at Manchester United with Real Madrid, again, except that he achieved it all multiple times. He didn’t only become the fan favourite and their best player, he also became a more prolific scorer. In his 9 years at Real Madrid, he was highly influential in bringing Real Madrid, their glory days back and regaining their success, in Spain and Europe. The list of accolades he achieved here only got longer.

Major trophies and achievements for Real Madrid(2009-18):

La Liga: 2011–12, 2016–17

Copa del Rey: 2010–11, 2013–14

Supercopa de España: 2012, 2017

UEFA Champions League: 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18

UEFA Super Cup: 2014, 2017

FIFA Club World Cup: 2014, 2016, 2017

FIFA Ballon d’Or/Ballon d’Or: 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

The Best FIFA Men’s Player: 2016, 2017

Sport Ranker


He is arguably, the best footballer in the history of Portuguese football. He succeeded in achieving Portugal’s lifelong dream of winning a major international trophy, when he led his team to glory, in UEFA Euro 2016.


As Cristiano Ronaldo rightly said, “Talent without working hard is nothing”… well, he didn’t just say it. He showed it.

Even at the age of 33, he earnt himself a move to a top class team like Juventus for a four year contract for a transfer fee of €100 million.

I remember him saying, “I am living a dream I never want to wake up from”. Well, his career is not over, by any means. And he has definitely not woken up. Not yet! It has been an absolute privilege watching him play all these years, and I hope he never wakes up. I hope he continues to inspire us and help us believe in ourselves. Never wake up, Cris.