Five firsts at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
We have finally entered the business end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In the first quarter-final of the tournament, a dominant French squad thrashed Uruguay 2-0. Whoever wins the tournament, from here, this edition will always be remembered for several firsts. Here we bring to you five special events which occurred for the first time in the history of the coveted tournament.
What is common between the World Cups of 1990, 1998 and 2006? Well, England were defeated on penalties in all those tournaments. However, in this edition, England broke the jinx of penalties in the round of 16. The cool composure of Jordan Pickford helped the Englishmen win against Colombia in a penalty shootout with the score of 4-3.
Japan scripted history, this term, as they became the first Asian side to defeat a South American nation at the FIFA World Cup. It took a 73rd minute winner, by Yuya Osaka, for Japan to register a 2-1 win against Colombia. Unfortunately, Japan's World Cup campaign was short lived as they faced a loss against Belgium in the round of 16.
For the first time, 'Fair Play' is being used as a parameter to differentiate between teams. If two teams level in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored, then 'Fair Play' points come into picture. 'Fair Play' takes into account the number of red and yellow cards received by a team. Japan became the first team to qualify for round-of-16 via this rule.
In the 2018 edition of the tournament, we saw the entry of two debutants- Iceland and Panama. With a population of 0.3 million, Iceland became the smallest nation to get a World Cup berth. Iceland surpassed Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean nation had qualified for the 2006 version of the tournament. Notably, they both suffered early exits in the tournament.
VAR or Video Assistant Referee technology is being used for the first time in 2018 World Cup. This assisting technology can only be used in four scenarios: goals, direct red cards, penalty calls and mistaken identity. After the group games, FIFA said that VAR has been highly successful and claimed its success rate to be 99.3% in match changing situations.