You’ve seen the Golden Boot, you’ve seen the Golden Ball, but here are 8 unusual awards that deserve to be handed out at the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Best Assist – Winner: Ever Banega
In a do or die match for Argentina, the Albiceleste faced Nigeria in their final group game. Much was expected of Messi, and he delivered with a strike in the 14th minute of the encounter. While the finish was brilliant, the assist was even better as Ever Banega played a pinpoint pass into the lap of Messi, from the dot of the halfway line, going past several Nigerian players. An honourable mention goes out to Willian, for his assist to Neymar vs Mexico.
Free Kick of the Tournament - Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo
We were treated to many brilliant freekicks in the tournament, whether it be Colombia’s Quintero’s cheeky attempt vs Japan, or Trippier’s scintillating shot vs Croatia. However, the winner has to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning strike vs Spain that levelled the game and sealed his hat-trick.
A classic Ronaldo moment, CR7 left his fans in disbelief as the ball curved into the top corner and Cristiano left his impact on the World Cup for years to come.
Best Penalty - Winner: Harry Kane
This year, VAR left its stamp on the tournament as there were a record number of penalties and there are bound to be many that leave you impressed. It is no surprise that Harry Kane, who scored half of his goals at the tournament from penalties, wins this award.
His first penalty vs Panama is his winner as it rocketed into the top left corner, leaving goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with no chance. Andreas Granqvist of Sweden deserves a shout for his cool and collected spot kicks.
The Goal that Would Have Been – Winner: Julian Brandt
This award goes to that player, who took a magnificent strike, but was unlucky not to see his shot go in. My winner is German youngster Julian Brandt’s dashing volley vs Sweden that curved just a little too much as it hit the post. The left-footed half-volley was taken from the left hand of the box and sprung a surprise on the Swedish defence. Neymar’s dying minute strike vs Belgium too was brilliant.
Blooper of the Tournament – Winner: Willy Caballero
In a tournament marred by mistakes, whether from the goalkeeper or otherwise, it was hard to pick a winner. However, taking home the prize is Willy Caballero of Argentina who made an error so grave vs Croatia, that he was was dropped for the remaining matches of the World Cup.
In what should have been a routine clearance, the Chelsea stopper tried to dink the ball over Ante Rebic, but instead set him up for the perfect volley, letting the croat smash a semi-scissor kick into the goal. Hugo Lloris tried hard to win this award with his antics in the final, but he’ll have to settle for the next one.
Save of the World Cup – Winner: Hugo Lloris
While we were privy to many horrific goalkeeping displays in this World Cup, we also saw some breathtaking saves this tournament. Whether it’s Kasper Schmeichel’s extra time heroics or Jordan Pickford’s man of the match performance vs Sweden.
However, the winner has got to be Hugo Lloris’ save vs Uruguay. The Les Blues Captain kept out a brilliant header from Martin Cacres that came from an Uruguay freekick. The Spurs man was at full stretch to his right and was monumental in ensuring the victory of the French.
Heart-Warming Moment of the Tournament – Winner: Mexican and Colombian Fans
Japan was eliminated from the World Cup today in a game where they were leading 2-0. Despite their heartbreak they took the time to clean their bench and locker room leaving it perfectly clean. Thank you for being an example of pure class and I hope more take your lead. pic.twitter.com/NoDKascNie— Walsh U. Soccer (@WalshU_Soccer) July 3, 2018
We were blessed with many beautiful and heartwarming moments throughout this world cup. Whether it be Senegalese fans cleaning up after themselves, or the Japan team cleaning their dressing room and leaving a note saying thank you in Russian, it was hard to choose.
However, what touched hearts and made for one of the best pictures, was Egyptian fan Hassan Sedky being lifted up in a wheelchair by a group of fans from Mexico and Colombia that he had just met so that he could see the big screen at a fan park.
The abolition of barriers of countries, ethnicity and language and the show of empathy is truly, what football symbolises.
Celebration of the Tournament – Winner: Antoine Griezman
At every major tournament, Griezzman seems to have a signature dance. In 2016, it was his version of Hotline Bling, and in 2018, he borrowed Fortnite’s emote “Take The L”, symbolising his victory over the opponent as they are dealt an L(loss). So it’s no wonder he takes this award home.
Samuel Umtiti also tried, doing what can only be perceived as a flamboyant way of fast walking, but loses out to his French teammate. Argentina, Australia and Croatia all faced the wrath of the dance loving footballer.
(The author is a school student who follows football, when he’s not finishing his homework. On a side note, he also answers to the name ‘Pele’ after his mother nicknamed him that for troubling her a bit much from the womb.)
(For complete FIFA World Cup 2018 coverage, click here to visit our special WC page)
. Read more on FIFA World Cup 2018 by The Quint.Best Assist, Penalty: 8 Unusual Awards for FIFA World Cup 2018How India’s Digital Revolution is Generating Deep Social Impact . Read more on FIFA World Cup 2018 by The Quint.