10 things you've probably already forgotten about the 2018 World Cup


It’s over for another four years – yet while we’ll all remember France winning and Southgate roaring – all of this seems a lifetime ago already

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England squad announcement video

Remember a lifetime ago, when England’s social media cool cats convinced a load of annoyingly over-energetic kids to yell the names of the players as part of the official 2018 England squad announcement? We could barely contain our smirks as these young bozos, who know nothing about the pain of supporting England, blared out the names of our deeply unexciting squad.

“Harry Maguire!” yelled some idiots. Calm down, we tutted. “Jordan Pickford, reppin’ for the Mackems!” bellowed a Wearsider. He’s hardly Gianluigi Buffon, you teenage ignoramus, we bellowed back.

And it wasn’t just us – it was you, admit it. The reaction was pointing and mocking and scoffing. But now these men are our beloved heroes, it almost came home and we have delicious, runny egg all over our face. Mmm, face egg.

The odd thing? We were almost right in our condemnation. The difference between knighthood and turniphood is razor thin: if Colombia had scored that last-minute sitter, this mob would have skulked back to Blighty as villains, and the inquiry into their haircuts, tattoos and overwhelming stupidity would be ongoing.

Gareth Southgate would have been written off as a pleasant failure. Waistcoats would have fallen from fashion once more. But we were wrong. So, so wrong. Shout it, kids.

Robbie Williams flicks bird at opening ceremony

Opening ceremonies are an odd idea at World Cups anyway, but Russia’s decision to book Stoke-on-Trent’s top turn, who peaked about 10 years ago, made this one odder still. What was wrong with a bit of Rachmaninoff? Where were Pussy Riot? (What’s that? In a Gulag after their pitch invasion?! Let’s move on.)

Anyway, Bob got the gig, and did a pretty fine job of it – a traditional, end-of-the-wedding romp through Let Me Entertain You and Angels – before bafflingly spoiling the clean family fun by raising his middle finger to the cameras at the end.

“At these things, it’s really important not to cause an international incident,” he later told a judgey Pip Schofield. “And do you know what? I managed it. I can’t trust me. I don’t know what I’m going to do at any time. There was no sort of plan. The plan was to sing in key.” Wally.

Batshuayi hits himself in the face

Trying his damnedest to not beat England in the group stage, Roberto Martinez popped hulking goal machine Romelu Lukaku on the bench, and gave Michy Batshuayi a runout. The plan didn’t work - Belgium won - but the likeable Chelsea chap’s biggest impression on the World Cup was spooning the ball off the post and back into his own face in celebration, and later tweeting: “Ahahha I knew I would be f*cked the minute I come to my mentions, why am I so stupid bro – s*** hurts.”

The was accompanied with 12 of those crying laughing emojis, so it was officially hilarious.

Germany were going to win the World Cup

There were a bunch of last-minute set-pieces scored in this World Cup (England vs Tunisia, Morocco vs Iran, Uruguay vs Egypt, Portugal vs Spain) – but none looked more ominous than Germany’s against Sweden.

After looking likely to go out after just two games, Toni Kroos pumped in a ruthless free-kick – and everybody in the entire world outside Germany turned to their friends and said: “I bet they win the whole bloody thing now…”. Alas, nobody had counted on South Korea.

Sergio Ramos crying

An evergreen comedy sight, always worth recalling.