The 2018 Football World Cup in Russia has recently finished, leaving a bittersweet after-taste for someone, and representing an unforgettable experience for others.

Indeed, this edition will stay in the heart of many, presenting a well-oiled organization, and producing a number of unexpected (at times, even shocking) results, giving the honors of one of the world’s sport grandest stage to some newcomers, some confirmation, and some well-received returns.

The memories of the fans will be still enlightened for a long time by well-thought playing schemes, physics-challenging goals, colorful fan outfits, artist-like dribblings and precise passes, funny, delusional, cheerful and emotional happenings.

But in our hearts, this was also an edition filled up with memorable moments imbibed with the values of tolerance, respect, solidarity, equality, fair-play and more.

Here are the 10 best sport values moment of the 2018 Football World Cup, according to our view.

10) Panama cheers its first World Cup goal in history

Even the celebrations after France’s final victory of the tournament fade if compared with the genuine joy and enthusiasm of Panama’s players and supporters for this goal.

The Central American team squares off against England in Nizhny Novgorod, in their second match in the group G.

The Three Lions are set to bring home an historic victory, the largest they ever had in a World Cup, thanks to the two goals scored by defender John Stones, the hat-trick of the Cup’s top scorer Harry Kane and the goal of Jesse Lingard.

6-0 like a set in a tennis match, the match seems to be not so interesting anymore.

Until at the minute 72’ the debuting captain Felipe Baloy, on the pitch for just a couple of minutes, finds the right sprint to direct into the Europeans’ net a free kick by his team-mate Ricardo Avila, scoring the first ever goal for their national team in a World Cup competition.

History made with the first appearance in the most important football tournament in the world becomes unstoppable joy. On the stadium bleachers the fans scream and cheer like if they won the match or even the Cup, and the players celebrate on the field. Some of the Panama supporters even cry, while even the coach Hernan Dario Gomez can’t hide his emotions.

The defeat has suddenly lost importance, as the possibility for Panama to participate and even score in the World Cup become the main reason to be in Nizhny Novgorod on this day that will be carved forever in the heart of all Panama fans.




9) Subasic paying honor to his friend who passed away 10 years ago

Although Danijel Subasic, Croatia’s goalkeeper, has been wearing the shirt with the image of his former teammate Hrvoje Custic since he tragically lost his life 10 years ago, this particular show of love and respect gained visibility just after the breathtaking victory of his team against Denmark in the penalties.

Custic, 24 years old at the time, tragically died a decade ago, after hitting his head into a concrete wall near the sideline of the pitch, following a collision during a game for NK Zadar.

The tragedy struck Subasic so deeply that he promised to continue wearing the shirt to remember his friend who passed away, usually showing his picture with the word “forever”, in every match he plays, just under his goalkeeper jersey.

FIFA already issued a warning to the Croatian goalkeeper, but he already announced that will not stop him from keeping his promise.

A deep show of respect, love, and friendship.



8) The “Fair Play Tiebreaker”

In previous editions of the World Cup we were used to see the team with a better FIFA ranking advancing, in case of a tie between two teams of a group having matching points, difference and head-to-head.

This year it was different, as FIFA introduced the so called Fair Play tiebreaker as a last system to calculate who’s advancing in the group.

Decided on “Fair Play Conduct Points,” the system rewards teams that don’t collect yellow and red cards. Each team starts the tournament with zero points. It is given one point for each player’s initial yellow card; three points for each secondary yellow that leads to a red card, or for a straight red card given to a player who doesn’t have a yellow; and four points for a straight red card given to a player who does have a yellow.

The first victim of this system has been Senegal, eliminated in favor of Japan, who advanced thanks to a fairer conduct.

Although there has been many talks about this system, FIFA already announced that it will be reviewed but does not plan on changing it in the near future. And we believe that fair play indeed should play an important role when deciding who’s advancing in sports competitions, and leading ultimately to a fairer conduct by players and teams.

Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse himself had a very fair comment when he said his team did not “deserve” to advance to the knockout stage as they became the first team to be eliminated via their fair play ranking.

“We haven’t qualified because of fair play. We have fewer points in fair play and Senegal doesn’t qualify because we don’t deserve it,” Cisse said. “This is one of the rules. We have to respect it.”



7) Coutinho and his young fan from the favela

It was when Brazil was playing against Costa Rica in a fundamental match to pass the first round (after drawing 1-1 with Switzerland) that photographer Bruno Itan snapped a picture that was destined to become viral in a short time.

The photo depicted a young Brazil fan watching the match and cheering for his team in Vila Cruzeiro’s favela, wearing a homemade version of the green and gold jersey: simply a yellow shirt, with the number “11” and the name “Coutinho” written with a green marker.

The young boy, 12-year-old Wallace Rocha, could not afford buying the original one, but could not renounce to show his support his idol in the way he could.

The photo was then seen by Coutinho himself, who was deeply touched by the image: he sent to Wallace an official Brazil shirt, plus a backpack, sports shoes, football boots, and some other gifts, showing off his good heart and humility.

Photographer Itan also reported the moment in which the Barcelona player got in touch through phone with Wallace, that talked with him with indescribable shining eyes.



6) Japan team cleans the locker room and leaves a thankful message

It’s never easy for a national team to be eliminated from the World Cup, whatever were the expectations at the beginning of the competition, as it somehow means to leave your own dreams behind.

And when this dreams had become so vivid to almost be able to touch them, it indeed becomes even harder to feel them suddenly crashing.

It’s the case of the Japanese national team, as the “Samurai” played the eight-finals in Rostov against Belgium and conducted the game for a large portion of the match, being up 2-0 when 25 minutes were missing to the final whistle.

But a rapid counter-attack of the Red Devils sent the Asians to their knees, ending up the match in the last minutes with a shocking 3-2 for the team of Hazard.

Emotions coming out from a loss like this are undoubtedly countless, regret and sadness being on top. But the reaction of the losing team gave a lesson in humility, honor and respect to the whole world, when the Japanese team simply cleaned up the whole locker room, leaving it shining like if they never used it, and leaving a message reading “Spasibo”, or “Thank You” in Russian.

After seeing all the Japanese fans cleaning up the stadiums, the team kept up the tradition and left in style, reminding us all that at the end of the day, regardless the result, football is just a beautiful game.



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