This has been a World Cup like no other, not least because it has been in the winter.
There have been some incredibly shocking, amazing and downright outrageous moments at Qatar 2022.
Every tournament throws up a few surprises, some shock wins, a loveable underdog story, and maybe even a few records broken, but this one really takes the cake.
In an almost impossible task, we are going to try to strip it back and look at the top five most memorable moments of the tournament so far.
5. Saudi Arabia beats Argentina
This was the first 10am game of the tournament, and everyone who had it on in the background while at work did not do a peep for those 90 minutes, so enthralling was the match.
Argentina has been on an incredible winning run, Lionel Messi was on fire, and this was to be his tournament with the perfect team built around him, so at age 35, he could finally bring the World Cup home.
It all went according to plan when the Argentina captain converted a penalty early in the game, and even though they had two goals ruled out by VAR in the first half, they looked very comfortable.
Then, in the second half, chaos was unleashed when Saleh Alshehri equalised, and Salem Aldawsari found the winner.
People all over the world were choking on their cornflakes, as one of the favourites for the whole tournament was defeated in emphatic fashion, and suddenly the tournament of the underdog was born.
Of course, Argentina have recovered to make the final with odds to win it at 5/6,
4. Brazil’s dance celebrations and Roy Keane’s reaction
Brazil blitzed South Korea in a hugely impressive display of attacking flair and mesmerising football, but what really stood out were the goal celebrations.
The Samba stars performed choreographed dance routines after each of their four goals, and even got their manager, Tite, involved in some of the performances.
However, this somehow caused a debate that spanned across the better part of a week as these celebrations enraged ITV pundit Roy Keane, who deemed them as disrespectful to their opponents.
Suddenly you had to pick a side – you were either okay with the dancing, or against it – there was no in-between, and it caused bigger rifts among the public than when Gareth Gates was up against Will Young in Pop Idol.
3. Netherlands late free against Argentina
Argentina were sailing 2-0 and had one foot in the semi-finals, until Louis van Gaal threw on every tall player he had at his disposal, stuck them up front, and played the sort of route one football that would have Sam Allardyce salivating at the mouth.
Burnley’s Wout Weghorst was the unlikely hero who scored to bring his country back into the game, and then right at the very death, the Dutch were awarded a free kick just outside the box.
The tension was indescribable and the pressure immeasurable, as Teun Koopmeiner towered over the ball, knowing that a nation’s hopes rested firmly on his shoulders.
It was the ideal distance and angle for a free, and if he could just get it on target then who knows what could happen, but what he did next was truly remarkable.
Everyone in the world was watching and anticipating the ball flying over the wall, but in a moment of choreographed genius, Koopmeiner instead rolled the ball along the ground, fooling literally every person on the globe, and as it reached the stretched out feet of Weghorst, he opened up his body and slotted it home, causing unprecedented scenes of euphoria to erupt.
Penalties soon ensued, which resulted in an Argentina win, on-field scuffles between the Dutch and South American players, and even a personal spat between Messi and Louis van Gaal – madness.
2. Kane’s missed penalty
This was it, the English had their chance, their way back, their opportunity, and it all rested on Mr Reliable – it was literally as good as a goal when Harry Kane stepped up to take his second penalty against France.
With the game sitting at 2-1 to the current champions, England had already scored from the penalty spot thanks to their captain, and when they got a second opportunity to do so, you would have put your house on Kane to bring it home.
However, the long painful history of England, penalties and World Cup defeats will now span for at least another four years as the Tottenham striker struck the ball over the bar and into Row Z.
No matter what is said about poor referring decisions and close calls, England got two penalties in this match; a sure-fire way to stay in the game, but one they just couldn’t capitalise on.
1. Morocco knocks out Portugal to make semi-final
If you had told me at the start of the competition that Morocco would beat Belgium, Spain and Portugal on their road to reach the World Cup semi-finals, I would have pointed you to the nearest hospital, because you’d clearly taken a knock to the head.
However, it turns out that Morocco are absolutely unbelievable at football – who knew?
Not only did they become the first African team to reach the semi-final stages ever, but the football they are playing is outstanding.
This is not case of parking the bus and snatching a goal to creep over the line, this team have went toe-to-toe with some of the biggest heavy hitters in the tournament, and have been convincingly the better side.
They are dynamic, expansive, organised and adventurous in their style, but above everything else, they have a team spirit and camaraderie that just makes them so likeable.
They have truly shocked the world, and in the best way possible – a true underdog story.
Antony and Bruno Fernandes clash as Crystal Palace dent Man United’s title notions
Antony was not happy with Fernandes
Manchester United duo Antony and Bruno Fernandes were seen clashing with each other in the first half of United’s draw against Crystal Palace.
Fernandes looked to have secured United the three points with a goal on the stroke of half time only for Michael Olise’s stunning free kick in second half stoppage time ensured a share of the spoils.
Wout Weghorst also made his debut for the club after they paid Beşiktaş to cancel his loan spell in Turkey and move to Old Trafford from Burnley until the end of the season, with United desperately in need of a striker
The majority of the first half saw Erik ten Hag’s side find it difficult to break down a resilient Palace defence with Antony in particular struggling to get the best of full back, Tyrick Mitchell.
It seemed as if tempers began to flare amongst the United ranks on the half hour mark as Antony and Fernandes were caught exchanging verbals with each other, leading to many speculating on social media.
Bruno fernandes and Antony arguing 🤔 pic.twitter.com/YaOagxqrBD
— YOUYOU_7 (@__YOUYOU___) January 18, 2023
One person wrote: “Bruno Fernandes beefing with Antony, all this bollocks about how they’re now a United team not individuals is hilarious.”
Another tweeted: “Bruno is right to be upset at Antony but it’s so funny seeing him get get taste of his own medicine.”
Bruno is right to be upset at Antony but it's so funny seeing him get get taste of his own medicine 😂😂pic.twitter.com/zzAcfw7gV0
— 🇨🇩🇸🇱 (@8Flavs) January 18, 2023
A third said: “The people saying Bruno & Antony shouldn’t be arguing with each other on the pitch have never played football.”
The people saying Bruno & Antony shouldn't be arguing with each other on the pitch have never played Football.
— Paul, Manc Bald and Bred (@MufcWonItAll) January 18, 2023
United now prepare to face Arsenal at the weekend, where they will be without Casemiro after he was booked, taking his total tally to five, meaning he will miss out through suspension.
He did get in for a selfie with a pitch invader, though…
Casemiro poses for a selfie with a fan 🤣🤳
— Barstool Football (@StoolFootball) January 18, 2023
Lionel Messi’s wife responds to Shakira ‘betrayal’ post after Gerard Pique break-up
Lionel Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo has come out in support of Shakira following her high-profile split from Gerard Pique – Messi’s former Barcelona team-mate.
Colombian popstar Shakira shared a candid message with her fans on Instagram as she welcomed in the new year, taking a thinly-veiled swipe at her former partner by referencing “betrayal” and “heartache”.
“Even if our wounds are still open in this new year, time has a surgeon’s hands,” the Hips Don’t Lie singer wrote. “Even if someone’s betrayed us, we must continue to trust others.”
In response, Antonela sent Shakira three heart emojis in the comments section, in the latest suggestion that she and her husband are taking the singer-songwriter’s side in the ugly saga.
Shortly after their split, it emerged that Pique was dating 23-year-old Barcelona-born Clara Chia.
Messi and Pique spent over a decade playing together at Barcelona, having emerged from the club’s famed La Masia academy at around the same time.
Messi moved to PSG in 2021, while Pique hung up his boots in November, bringing the curtain down on a trophy-laded 19-year career that saw him win the World Cup, the European Championship, the Champions League, La Liga and the Premier League.
Source: Daily Star
Alisha Lehmann told she ‘won’t be single for long’ after wowing fans in pink ʙικιɴι
Alisha Lehmann has kept her social media followers updated during a recent holiday in Miami – with many left asking how she is still single after her split from Douglas Luiz.
The 23-year-old Aston Villa forward and Switzerland international has been catching the eye both on and off the pitch in recent seasons – with her Instagram following growing to over 10 million.
Following a recent trip in which she posed on the beach for no less than nine separate ʙικιɴι snaps, many of her followers had one thing in mind.
One comment read: “She won’t stay single for long.”
A second said: “I was looking for the meaning of perfection and I found this.”
A fourth then concluded: “The most beautiful soccer player in the world.”
The WSL star was recently back in the headlines after splitting up with Villa midfielder Luiz and then removing their shared snaps from Instagram.
The couple are said to have split over a row regarding her 2023 calendar which reportedly led to a furious row between the pair.
The split came after countless displays of public affection between the loved up couple – as well as him defending her for a comment made by a TV presenter.
Lehmann has also shared several clips of her Soccer AM cameo, in which he bagged a top bins in some style.
One of those to react was fellow Villa professional and Brazil international Luiz, who wrote on her upload with heart and fire emojis: “The best.”
Source: Daily Star