Benjamin Pavard: from obscurity to world champion

In what was admittedly not the most exciting match of the World Cup, France’s opening tie against Australia will perhaps be best remembered for the constant stream of abuse that Mark Lawrenson handed out all match to France’s right back Benjamin Pavard. Although he didn’t have the most stellar performance, one suspects that his main…

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Ante Rebić: Croatia’s all-action gem

In a team that possesses the considerable talents of Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, and Mario Mandžukić, avoiding being overshadowed is a difficult job. However, the talent and work rate demonstrated by Ante Rebić during Croatia’s outstanding World Cup campaign this year made him just as important as those three to the Vatreni’s system. After a successful campaign with…

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The five best goals of World Cup 2018

Over the course of the summer, we have been treated to arguably the best World Cup in history. There’s been highs, lows, drama and tears, but above all else, there has been goals. More dead ball goals than any tournament since 1966, and only one goalless draw — which caused everybody to exercise doubts over…

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Manuel Akanji: Switzerland’s star in the making

While breakout attacking stars grab the headlines, defensive breakout stars are just as important for ensuring there’s a balance in the soccer force for future years. On this count, the World Cup delivered a breakout defender: Swiss centre-back Manuel Akanji. The 22 year old, 6’1” centre-back debuted for the Swiss national team only a year…

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World Cup 2018: A victory for Russia and her people

Swathes of drugged-up muscle-bound thugs crushing skulls and raining death and violence on England fans. Racist, homophobic louts prowling the streets hunting victims. Cold, closed, unfriendly people fiercely rejecting outsiders. That was how Russia was supposed to be, right? Covering Russia and its football as a foreigner resident in the country has been, to quote…

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Aleksandr Golovin: the boy who’s made Russia proud

Russia made it to the quarter-finals at the 2018 FIFA World Cup thanks to some excellent football and great goals. In the face of fears of political instability, Russia proved to be proud hosts of this great tournament, and gave their fans something to cheer. Amongst the players who were key to their displays, CSKA…

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Hirving Lozano: El Tri’s Wing Wizard

Mexico were unable to shatter their quinto partido curse at the World Cup, but that did not stop them from producing one of the brightest stars of Russia 2018. Hirving Lozano had been tipped by many to be the breakout player of the tournament following a successful debut season with PSV Eindhoven, and it is…

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World Cup ICYMI: Third-place Playoff – Belgium vs. England

It was a contest no one had relished: the penultimate fixture of the World Cup; the second meeting between Belgium and England in Russia (possibly sending out their second-string sides); the not-very-highly-anticipated sequel to their final group stage encounter. More often than not seen as an unwanted affair, this one did prove to be competitive at times. There…

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