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From Diego Maradona’s antics to Neymar’s theatrics: 5 crazy FIFA World Cup 2018 moments

The FIFA World Cup 2018 provided moments of craziness. A look at the five top moments ranging from Diego Maradona showing middle fingers to fans to Neymar’s rolling theatrics

football Updated: Jul 16, 2018 11:22 IST
Agence France-Presse
FIFA World Cup 2018,Diego Maradona,Neymar
Diego Maradona’s antics in the stands during Argentina’s FIFA World Cup 2018 grabbed eyeballs.(Reuters)

A thrilling World Cup came to its conclusion as France beat Croatia in Sunday’s final in Moscow, but there have been plenty of unusual incidents on the pitch and on the sidelines in Russia.

A look at five of the best offbeat stories from the 2018 World Cup:

Maradona’s two-fingered salute

Diego Maradona will always be remembered as one of the greatest players of all-time for his exploits in 1986, but he became an increasing attraction for ridicule in Russia.

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The 57-year-old made an obscene gesture from the VIP box to celebrate Argentina’s dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria which sent them into the last 16, drawing plenty of criticism.

He still managed to keep himself in the limelight even after his country’s exit at the hands of France, claiming that he would turn the team’s fortunes around if named coach, and then being rebuked by FIFA after ranting about the officials following Colombia’s loss to England.

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates scoring celebrating a goal by making a pro-Kosovan ‘double eagle’ gesture which represents the Albanian flag (REUTERS)

Swiss double eagles

A politically-charged group match between Switzerland and Serbia saw Swiss pair Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka fined by FIFA for celebrating their goals by making a pro-Kosovan ‘double eagle’ gesture which represents the Albanian flag.

READ | Pussy Riot upstages Vladimir Putin with protest that halted World Cup final

Arsenal midfielder Xhaka and Liverpool’s Shaqiri trace their roots to Kosovo, a former province of Serbia where thousands were killed and tens of thousands more chased from their homes during a 1998-1999 conflict between Serbian forces and ethnic Albanian guerillas.

Anything Diego can do, Robbie Williams can too

The tournament kicked off with Russia’s 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia, but it was former Take That star Robbie Williams who grabbed headlines for showing his middle finger to a TV camera during his opening-ceremony performance.

READ | They didn’t play football: Dejan Lovren blasts France after World Cup loss

No one is quite sure why the Englishman was so irate, especially considering he was invited to perform despite previously causing outrage in Russia with his song “Party Like a Russian”.

Neymar (L) holds his leg in pain during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Brazil and Belgium at the Kazan Arena in Kazan. (AFP)

Neymar theatrics

Neymar dominated plenty of the World Cup build-up with his fight to overcome a foot injury, but it was his feigning of injury that saw him become the butt of many jokes.

READ | Argentina win was the trigger: Didier Deschamps after France’s Cup triumph

The Brazilian star showed plenty of his talent, scoring twice as the five-time champions reached the quarter-finals, but consistently play-acted in apparent attempts to have opponents booked or sent off, even having a dive to win a penalty overturned by VAR.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio labelled the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s antics in his team’s last-16 loss to Brazil a “shame for football”.

Photographer’s professionalism

AFP photographer Yuri Cortez found himself literally at the centre of Croatia’s celebrations after their winning goal in the semi-final against England, but kept his cool to snap away.

Croatian goalscoring hero Mario Mandzukic helped Cortez to his feet after he became engulfed by the players, while centre-back Domagoj Vida even gave him a kiss on the cheek.

First Published: Jul 16, 2018 11:06 IST