African football reflects on the 2018 World Cup

2018 World Cup

14 June to 15 July


Russia 2018 wrapped up on Sunday with France defeating Croatia in the final in Moscow to claim their second world title and see manager Didier Deschamps become just the third man (after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer) to win the tournament as both a player and a coach.

While the 2018 World Cup will surely be remembered as a great footballing event, the game on the African continent may feel that it was a missed opportunity. For all your football betting needs, Betway looks back on the just-concluded tournament.

Africa will celebrate a France triumph given that so many of their players have roots in the continent (Paul Pogba, for example, has familial roots in Guinea and his older brother Florentin even represents the West African country in international football), though the fact that all five CAF teams at Russia 2018 failed to advance beyond the group stage was a bitter pill to swallow.

African football reflects on the 2018 World Cup

Nigeria, for example, entered the competition with genuine hope of advancing from the ‘group of death’ and while their opening 2-0 loss to Croatia can now be viewed in a kinder light thanks to the excellence of the Eastern Europeans, it was still the beginning of the end for Gernot Rohr’s team.

They may have revived their hopes with an excellent win over Iceland, but a heartbreaking defeat to Argentina signalled the end of their participation – and they were hardly the only African team to feel the sting of disappointment, as their exit followed those of Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia.

African football reflects on the 2018 World Cup.
Even Senegal, who entered the final round of group games with a great chance of advancing, suffered an agonising exit: they finished with the same record as Japan, but the Asian side progressed alongside group winners Colombia on fair play points.

The 2018 World Cup is sadly over, but you can still bet on 1000s of fixtures with the best odds at Betway Naija

Still, the 2018 World Cup will go down as a classic tournament in football history, featuring thrills, spills, controversies and some fantastic football from the final four of France, Belgium, England and Croatia, while the likes of Luka Modric, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe wrote their names into history.

The FIFA World Cup in Numbers

64 – the number of matches played at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

5910 – the total number of minutes played (excluding stoppage time) at the tournament with five knockout round matches going to extra-time

169 – the number of goals scored in Russia, just two short of the all-time high

2.64 – average number of goals per game, less than the 2.67 registered in Brazil

20 – Croatia’s world ranking (the lowest-ranked side ever to reach the final)

16 – goals scored by Belgium, the competitions top scorers

12 – the number of own-goals scored (a World Cup record)

9 – the number of goals scored in stoppage time

6 – goals scored by Golden Boot winner Harry Kane (three of which came from the penalty spot)

69 – the record number of goals which came from set-pieces

2 – World Cup titles now achieved by France

1 – goalless games at this year’s World Cup. Astonishing.

0 – African teams in the knockout rounds – a unwanted first since 1982

29 – the number of penalties awarded (another World Cup record – 10 of which were a result of a VAR review)

22 – of those spot-kicks were converted

72 – distance in km’s covered by Croatia’s Ivan Perisic

219 – number of yellow cards dished out

49,651 – total passes completed in the entire tournament

19.64 million – people in Britain who tuned in to watch England’s quarter-final against Sweden

19 years 6 months and 25 days – Kylian Mbappe’s age. The youngest player to appear and score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958.

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Published: 07/17/2018