The 1994 World Cup quarterfinal between Netherlands and Brazil saw one of the most memorable goal celebrations in history. It was the Little Canary who took the 1-0 lead with striker Bebeto getting the ball past the sleeping Dutch defence. But history remembers the goal for the celebrations that came afterwards. Bebeto, joined by Romario and Mazinho, rocked his arms to dedicate the goal to his son who was born two days before the match. The celebration which is now often repeated in football, was performed at the World Cup stage for the first time.
The biggest football tournament in the world has seen some of the most memorable goal celebrations. Remember Nigeria’s Finidi George walking on his four legs and peeing like a dog after scoring against Greece in 1994 World Cup? Or Miroslav Klose’s flip every time he scored a World Cup goal (which happened 16 times, by the way)? World Cup celebrations become as memorable as the goal sometimes, and in Russia, things were not so different.
Cristiano Ronaldo ‘goat-ee’ celebration vs Spain
— Varun S Gowda (@ImVarun_Gowda) 16 June 2018
With Argentina’s Lionel Messi doing a photo shoot with a goat before the start of a World Cup in Russia, the Argentine forward was being discussed in media circles as the ‘G.O.A.T.’, an acronym for ‘Greatest Of All Time’. How would that make ‘arch-nemesis’ Cristiano Ronaldo feel? He scored from the spot in Portugal’s first match against Spain, and pointed towards his small goatee while celebrating with the teammates. Was he calling himself the ‘GOAT’? At least that’s what the media and fans believed at first. Later, Ronaldo described the celebration as a joke. “It was a joke I made with [his Portugal teammate Ricardo] Quaresma. We were in the sauna, and I started to shave. I left my beard and said if I score tomorrow, which was against Spain, I’d leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck, I scored in that game, I scored today and I’m going to keep it,” he said in the post-match interview against Morocco.
Switzerland ‘political celebration’ vs Serbia
The FIFA guidelines state that a player will be punished for making political statements while celebrating goals. This might put Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xerdian Shaqiri in danger of being fined after their goal celebrations against Serbia, in which the duo scored a goal each to take their side to 2-1 win. After scoring the goals, both the players, who are of ethnic Albanian heritage, locked their thumbs and put their open hands stretched wide to display what looked-like the symbolic eagle figure on Albania’s flag. Shaqiri, was born in Kosovo, a former Serbian province which declared itself as an independent state in 2008. But since Serbia, does not recognise Kosovo’s independence, the tension between the two nations are still high. Xhaka’s parents are also originally from Kosovo.
Brazil coach Tite ‘falling down’ celebration vs Costa Rica
Just when it looked like Costa Rica will be able to held on Brazil to a goalless draw, Philippe Coutinho provided a moment of inspiration when he scored a goal in the stoppage time to give his side a 1-0 lead. In a moment of insanity, the coach started running on the field to celebrate the goal with his players, but goalkeeper Eder ran all over him and tripped him down to the ground. Tite picked up an injury as he pulled a muscle as a result of the ‘take-down’ by Eder. Luckily for Brazil, it was not the only goal of the night, as Neymar chipped in another six minutes later, and this time Tite’s celebrations were slightly calmer than the earlier one. Brazil won their first match in Russia 2-0 and picked up all three points.
Mexico ‘earthquake’ celebration vs Germany
Ever heard of a goal celebration causing an earthquake? It did this year. It might not have been due to the celebration of the goal on the field, but the fans celebrating back in Mexico ‘literally’ caused an earthquake. When Hirving Lozano scored against Germany to give his side the 1-0 lead, the roaring celebration in the country caused tremors due to “massive jumping”. Mexico’s Institute of Geological and Atmospheric Research reported a sharp tremor at 11.32 am local time due to increase in seismic activity. “The sismo detected in Mexico City originated artificially. Possibly by massive jumps during the Goal of the selection of Mexico in the world. At least two sensors inside the City detected it at 11:32,” the agency said in a tweet. Wonder what would have happened if Mexico reach the final in Russia and scored the winning goal? PHEW!
Michy Batshuayi’s ‘Oops’ moment
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) 28 June 2018
Borussia Dortmund forward Michy Batshuayi had a massive “blooper-reel” moment, during Belgium’s group stage match against England. In a match that was caught up in a deadlock, substitute Adnan Januzaj found a way to put the ball behind the back of the net to score the match-winning goal late in the second half. The celebrations from Batshuayi went one step too far as he chased after the ball and tried to put it in the back of the net again. But this time, the ball struck the sidebar and came back to hit him right on his head. Later, the Belgian forward addressed the moment on Twitter and joked at his own expense. “Ahahha I knew I would be f*cked the minute I come to my mentions. Why am I so stupid bro. shit hurts,” he wrote.
Croatia take down the cameraman
How would you celebrate if you take your country to their first ever World Cup final? Well, Croatia took down a cameraman! After Mario Mandzukic extended Croatia’s lead to 2-1 in the 109th minute of the semifinal against England, the players entered the cameraman’s area while celebrating the goal. The result? The players, wile celebrating, took down Chief Photographer at AFP Mexico, Yuri Cortez. The players went on top of each other with Cortez being buried under them. Upon realising their mistake, Croatia players apologised to the cameraman, made him stand up and defender Domagoj Vida planted a kiss on his forehead. No harm done!
After Croatia booked their first ever World Cup final, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was seen celebrating with the entire squad inside the dressing room in a video that went viral. The Croatian President was seen hugging players and dancing and jumping along with them. The celebrations though could not continue in the final, as France defeated Croatia 4-2. But this time, it was France President Emmanuel Macron who let himself loose as Les Bleus won the trophy. An image of Macron celebrating inside the VIP stands went viral soon after the final whistle blew in Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.