How India can be part of the FIFA World Cup 2026?

How India can be part of the FIFA World Cup 2026?

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most prestigious events in the world of sports. It brings together nations from across the globe to compete in the game of football, and the event is watched by billions of fans worldwide. With the FIFA World Cup 2026 scheduled to take place in North America, there is a growing interest in India’s participation in the tournament. 

Football fans in India are eagerly anticipating the possibility of their national team, the Blue Tigers, qualifying for the next World Cup hosted in North America. The tournament will be expanded to include 48 teams instead of the previous 32, which has piqued the interest of Indian fans even further. With the growth of the Indian Super League, the Indian football team has been showing signs of improvement in recent years, raising hopes for potential qualification. While it remains a slim chance, the idea of India competing at the World Cup is an exciting prospect for football enthusiasts across the country. This article will explore how India can be part of the FIFA World Cup 2026. 

Cosco Swiss football on the green football ground

How India can be part of the FIFA World Cup 2026? 

The recent expansion of the World Cup format to include 48 teams has resulted in a significant increase in the number of slots for Asian teams, with 8.5 spots up for grabs as compared to the previous 4.5. Given their current FIFA ranking of 19th amongst Asian nations, India would not be required to participate in the first round of the Asian qualification process and can begin their journey from Preliminary Round 2. This presents an exciting opportunity for the Indian football team to showcase their skills on a global stage and potentially secure a spot at the World Cup. 

The Preliminary Round 2 of the Asian qualification process for the World Cup is set to begin in November 2023 and will feature 36 teams divided into 9 groups. The matches will take place over several months, with six matchdays scheduled until June 24, 2024. It is during this stage that the Indian football team will need to make significant strides and strive to finish in one of the top two spots in their group to progress to the next round of the qualifiers. It will be a challenging task, as they will be competing against other strong teams in their group, but with determination and hard work, India may be able to secure a spot in the next round. 

While the opportunity for India to qualify for the World Cup is exciting, the task at hand remains daunting for the Blue Tigers. Currently ranked 106th in the world, India is a long way off from being among the top 8 nations in Asia. Even when India had achieved their best ranking of 94, they were still well outside of the continent’s top 10. Furthermore, India’s record against Asia’s top nations has been less than promising, which may pose a significant challenge in their bid for World Cup qualification. Nonetheless, the Indian football team needs to remain focused and committed to improving their game, as there is still a chance for them to make history and qualify for the World Cup. 

The Indian football team’s recent record against Asia’s top teams has been mixed, with the best results being draws against teams like Oman, Syria, and China. However, the team has struggled against lower-ranked teams like the Maldives, Tajikistan, and North Korea.

Additionally, India has drawn against teams like Nepal, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, which suggests that there is still much work to be done to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. Achieving this feat would require a tremendous amount of effort, focus, and improvement on the part of the Indian football team. While the task at hand may seem daunting, the team must remain optimistic and dedicated to their goal of qualifying for the World Cup. With the right approach and hard work, anything is possible. 

Challenges team India will have in front of them: 

India understands that qualifying for the FIFA World Cup is no easy feat, regardless of the teams they are grouped with the qualifiers. There are no restrictions on which AFC teams can face each other during the qualification process. This means that India may find themselves up against some of the strongest teams in Asia, making their path to qualification all the more challenging. However, this should not deter the Indian football team from pursuing their goal of making it to the World Cup. With a focused and determined approach, they can work towards improving their game and competing at the highest level. 

Although there are different pots consisting of teams based on rankings, this does not necessarily mean that Asian nations cannot be grouped with their neighboring countries. India can be drawn against fellow South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) teams in the World Cup qualifiers. This could potentially make the road to qualification even more challenging for India, as they will be facing teams that are familiar with their playing style and tactics. Nonetheless, the Indian football team needs to remain focused and committed to improving their game, regardless of which teams they are drawn against. By continuing to work hard and persevere, they can increase their chances of making it to the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

India could potentially be paired against neighboring South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) teams like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal in the World Cup qualifiers. This is not a new scenario for the Indian football team, as they were grouped with Bangladesh in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers as well. However, regardless of the opponents they face, India must focus on improving their game and working towards their ultimate goal of qualifying for the World Cup. The team must approach every match with determination and a winning mindset to increase their chances of success. 

Red football shoes of cosco brand

What are the aspects India should concentrate on? 

The first and most important factor for India’s participation in the FIFA World Cup is the team’s performance. India’s national football team has not been able to qualify for the World Cup since its inception in 1930. India’s highest ranking in the FIFA rankings has been 97th, which was achieved in 1996. To be part of the FIFA World Cup 2026, India needs to improve its performance in the game of football. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) needs to create a plan to develop the sport at the grassroots level and to invest in the development of young talent. This will require a long-term commitment and sustained efforts, but it is necessary for India’s participation in the World Cup.

Another important factor for India’s participation in the World Cup is the infrastructure assuming that India will host FIFA World Cup in the coming future and hence get a chance to feature in it. The FIFA World Cup is a massive event, and it requires state-of-the-art infrastructure for the players, spectators, and media. The AIFF needs to work closely with the government and private sector to build the necessary infrastructure. This includes building world-class stadiums, training facilities, hotels, and transportation. The AIFF can also learn from the experiences of other countries like Qatar that have hosted the World Cup in the past. This will help India to avoid the mistakes made by other countries and to create a successful and memorable event. 

In addition to infrastructure, the AIFF also needs to focus on promoting the sport of football in India. The FIFA World Cup is not just a sporting event; it is also an opportunity to promote the country’s culture, heritage, and tourism. The AIFF can work with the government and tourism industry to showcase India’s rich cultural heritage to the world. This can be done through events and activities that promote the country’s food, music, art, and history. Such events will attract more tourists to India and create a positive image of the country in the world. 

The AIFF can also work with the media to create awareness about the sport of football in India. Football is the most popular sport in the world, and it is watched by billions of people worldwide. The AIFF can use this popularity to create interest in the sport in India. This can be done through television, radio, and print media. The AIFF can also use social media to reach out to a younger audience and create a buzz around the sport. 

One of the biggest challenges that India faces in its quest to be part of the FIFA World Cup is the lack of funding. Football is not as popular in India as cricket, and this has resulted in a lack of funding for the sport. The AIFF needs to work with the government and private sector to secure funding for the development of the sport. The government can provide tax incentives and subsidies to private investors who invest in the sport. The private sector can also be encouraged to invest in the sport through sponsorships, advertising, and other promotional activities. 

Another important factor for India’s participation in the FIFA World Cup is the development of the players. Football is a team sport, and the success of a team depends on the quality of its players. The AIFF needs to create a development program for young players that focuses on their technical, tactical, and physical abilities. The program should also focus on the mental and psychological development of the players. This will create a pool of talented players who can represent India at the international level.

Footballers who surprised everyone at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The biggest sporting event in the world had everything to offer its fans. From controversies to legendary goals, football was the ultimate winner in the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup. One of the greatest players of all time, Lionel Messi, finally won the World Cup and completed football. The finals were set up between France and Argentina as both parties left their everything on the pitch to clinch the auspicious trophy. Kylian Mbappe bagged an iconic hat trick to take the game to the penalties, but Emi Martinez rose up to the occasion to win it for the Argentines. 

While the world celebrated Messi’s glory, some fans also felt bad for Kylian Mbappe. The PSG youngster was arguably the best player on the pitch that night, as he seemed to be unstoppable. However, Argentina proved to be a better side throughout the exciting finale as the South Americans didn’t allow France to take the lead even once in the game. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Luka Modric, and Robert Lewandowski, alongside Lionel Messi, featured in their last World Cup. 

One of the most taking points of the World Cup will be the rise of the underdogs in the tournament. Qatar World Cup 2022 has already handed us plenty of new names who have the potential to become big names in the coming future. Apart from the usual big names, many players played exceptionally well in the tournament. Players like Yassine Bounou and Josko Gvardiol made a name for themselves with back-to-back world-class performances. Let’s have a look at the players who surprised everyone in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

5 Players who surprised everyone in the 2022 FIFA World Cup 

1) Yassine Bounou: Goalkeeper (Morocco) 

Yassine Bounou cible de Manchester United

Creator: Alex Pantling | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2022 Getty Images

Sevilla’s goalkeeper was one of the biggest surprise packages of this year’s World Cup. Yassine Bounou, also known as ‘Bono’, emerged as the leader from the back for the Moroccans in the Qatar World Cup 2022. Apart from his back-to-back solid performances, Bono was also a motivating factor for his team. Bono carried his side to the round of 16 after a heroic performance against Spain in the penalty shoot-out. Bono was also one of the best players for Morocco during their iconic win against Portugal in the quarter-finals. 

2) Josko Gvardiol: Centre-back (Croatia) 

Josko Gvardiol hands transfer boost to Real Madrid

Creator: Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2022 Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto

Croatia has created history in their two consecutive World Cup campaigns. The 2018 World Cup finalists managed to beat Brazil in the quarter-finals of this year’s tournament. Josko Gvardiol was Croatia’s wall in the back. The masked knight made sure that his goal was safe in his watch. Josko Gvardiol also scored a goal against Morocco to win it for Croatia in their fight for 3rd place in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. 

3) Sofyan Amrabat: Central midfield (Morocco) 

Surprise source now claims Sofyan Amrabat to Liverpool is a done deal

Creator: Francois Nel | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2022 Getty Images

Sofyan Amrabat took the World Cup 2022 by storm. He was arguably one of the best midfielders in the high-end competition. He single-handedly dominated the Spanish trio of

Gavi, Pedri, and Busquets in the Round of 16 clash. Amrabat is now being tipped to be joining a big club in the coming summer window. He was surely a surprise package of the 2022 World Cup. 

4) Cody Gakpo: Winger (Netherlands) 

Liverpool confirm signing of World Cup star Cody Gakpo | Arab News

Creator: ALBERT GEA | Credit: REUTERS

Cody Gakpo has made all the headlines recently as he joined the English giants Liverpool for a transfer fee of around £37 million. Liverpool didn’t waste any time signing the Dutch sensation after his spectacular stint in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Gakpo created history after becoming the first Dutch player to score in all three of the group stage matches at a World Cup. The 23-year-old also became only the fourth Dutch player to score in three consecutive World Cup games — joining the likes of Johan Neeskens, Dennis Bergkamp, and Wesley Sneijder. 

5) Emi Martinez: Goalkeeper (Argentina) 

Emiliano Martinez:मार्टिनेज को 11 साल तक नहीं मिला मौका, 2021 में किया डेब्यू, दो साल में बदली मेसी की तकदीर - Who Is Emiliano Martinez Know About Argentina's Goal Keeper Life Story,

Creator: Buda Mendes | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: Buda Mendes

Emi Martinez has been in top form for a couple of years now, but he outdid himself in the 2022 World Cup. The Argentine was ruthless while defending his goal. He saved his country in back-to-back penalty shootouts against Netherlands and France in the semi-finals and the finals of the 2022 World Cup, respectively. He also won the Golden Gloves for his outstanding performance in the tournament.

What do you think about this list? Do you think any other football player deserved a mention? Comment your answers.

Interesting Facts about FIFA World Cup

Qatar World Cup voted as the best of the 21st Century

The 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup has been voted the best FIFA World Cup of the 21st Century. With a humongous 78% vote share, the Qatar World Cup has carved an unforgettable experience among sports fans.

As per a BBC Sports Poll, the 2002 World Cup (Japan/South Korea) came in second place with only 6% of the vote, followed by 2014 (Brazil) with 5%, 2006 (Germany) and 2018 (Russia), which tied for fourth place with 4% each and 2010 (South Africa), which received 3%.

BBC Sport Poll

BBC Poll results on the best world cup of 21st century

The 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup saw a lot of memorable moments on the ground. From Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup for the first time to Olivier Giroud surpassing Michel Platini to become France’s all-time greatest scorer to Germany and Belgium’s shock exit in the World Cup group stages.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino was very happy with the successful conduct of the tournament. At the start of the tournament, there was a lot of negative talk surrounding the World Cup. But with this “people’s award,” Mr. Infantino must be very proud.

The historic tournament- the first to be held in the Middle East- was marked with goals galore and comeback chaos, with Morocco and Japan among the teams that stood out. With this award, the future will definitely see a lot of big tournaments being held in the Asian region.

When football fans wreaked havoc in stadiums

5 times football fans wreaked havoc in the stadium

Football is nothing without its fans. It is safe to say that footballing enthusiasts are one of the most passionate devotees in the world. They support their respective clubs and countries with every inch of their soul. A loyal fan will never leave his side, even during its worst. A football fan will religiously enjoy a 0-0 draw while watching the match wholeheartedly. That’s what makes this beautiful game more special. 

Having said that, the same passion turns out to be dangerous once in a while. The love for the team makes the fans go wild and violent. We have seen the fans storming the field when their team goes a goal down. There have been many incidents where the match had to be stopped due to such behaviour. The fights between two rival clubs have accounted for countless injuries and hundreds of deaths on many occasions. Let’s have a look at some of the worst scenarios caused by the fans in football. 

5 times football fans wreaked havoc in the stadium 

1) Arema FC vs Persebaya Surabaya: 126 dead, 300 hospitalized 

Arema FC fans went berserk when their side lost their first home game in 23 years. Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya, and the loss was too much for the home supporters to take. Arema FC fans stormed into the Kanjuruhan Stadium, intending to injure the match officials and the players. Arema FC fans started throwing bottles and other objects at the referees and the players. The riot caused by the fans spread out of the stadium, with Arema FC fans setting more than 5 police vehicles on fire. 

When fans wreaked havoc in stadiums

Image Courtesy: Outlook India

The police were forced to use firing tear gas, which is banned by FIFA, to get the crowd under control. However, it only got worse as it led to a stampede as the fans were trying to exit the stadium. Some fans got injured due to the suffocation, and others were found dead in the stampede. Many people were reported dead in the panic caused, including two police officers and many children. The Indonesian police reported a total of 125 deaths, and more than 300 people were admitted to the hospital, many of whom died before reaching the hospital and also during the treatment. It is undoubtedly one of the worst moments in the history of any sport. 

2) Nice vs Cologne: 1 fan was heavily injured 

A dispute between the Nice and Cologne fans resulted in the delay in the kick-off time during their Europa Conference League match at the Allianz Riviera on September 2022. The UEFA Governing body released an official statement stating that the reason behind the delay was crowd disturbance. The footage on social media showed the Ultras throwing flares into the ground while fighting with other fans. French media publication RMC Sport later reported that one fan was heavily injured after falling from the stands. 

Cologne released an official statement quoting: ‘Unfortunately, the start of the game is delayed due to violent clashes between fans in the stadium and the stands. We are looking into the background,’ the German club quoted. Cologne captain Jonas Hector even had to come out and address the away fans through the PA system. ‘We want to play the game with you. We also want that game to take place. But we have to say that we do not like to see this,’ he said. ‘We worked damn hard last year and in the playoff. And we would very much like to do this with you and ask you to keep calm and support us as much as possible.’ 

3) Argentina fans vs Brazil Fans 

Now, this incident sums up the football fans for you. It is one of those incidents that will make you angry and surprised simultaneously. Now we have heard fans of Arsenal and Liverpool fighting with each other in India, but here we got fans of Brazil and Argentina getting into a tussle with each other. The FIFA World Cup fever got high in India, especially in the states like Kerala and Kolkata. While team India is yet to qualify for the World Cup, the footballing fans of India have already picked their favourite countries to support apart India. 

When football fans wreaked havoc in stadiums

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 03: Players shake hands prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Argentina and Australia at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are highly influential, and they have their fans everywhere. Similarly, they have got Indian fans rooting for Portugal, Argentina, and Brazil in the absence of India in the FIFA World Cup. In the recent video, which was taken in Kollam, Kerala, we can witness Argentina and Brazil fans getting into a fight with each other during a rally passing through the Sakthikulangara area. A case was registered at the Sakthikulangara PS in Kollam for the same matter. 

4) Cruzeiro vs Atletico Mineiro: 1 shot to dead, 1 injured 

Brazilians love their football, and sometimes this passion for the game gets the better of them. A fan was killed before the match between Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro in March of 2022. The report adds that the 25-year-old man got shot in the stomach and was later announced dead in the hospital in Belo Horizonte. Another fan was shot in the shoulder during the incident. However, he survived the shot as he was declared stable. Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro, the defending Brazilian champions, were set to face each in a regional championship game. 

5) Gillingham FC vs Rotherham United 

Fans of Gillingham FC and Rotherham United invaded the pitch during their match in April 2022. The fan invasion later turned out to be a huge fight between the supporters of the two teams at Priestfield Stadium. The police arrested 20 or more people, and they were sentenced to unpaid work and jail time. Some of the fans were also banned from entering the stadium for at least 10 years. 

Superintendent Ray Quiller of Kent Police said: “There is no place in football or elsewhere in society for the type of violence and behaviour that occurred following this match. In the presence of genuine football supporters, including children, the actions of these individuals were unacceptable. Football Banning Orders were introduced in the late 1980s to help improve safety at matches. They remain an essential power at our disposal despite there being far fewer incidents today than there were back then. I am pleased to see them given in the circumstances of this case, and we will continue to seek these against offenders who act in this manner at football matches.”

Gillingham’s co-chairman, and chief executive, Paul Fisher, said: “The football club is pleased to see that the police have dealt with the unsavoury incident which occurred following the final whistle against Rotherham United. “Such behaviour will not be tolerated at a family club such as Gillingham.” 

Court prosecutor Pietro Matarazzo said: “It was the league one season’s last day, and Gills would go down if they lost, and Rotherham would go up if they won, and there was a large-scale pitch invasion.”

The best XI of 2022 FIFA World Cup

The best XI of the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Four weeks, 64 games, and in the end, it came down to a set of penalties to cement the new World Champions. Yes, the dreams of millions have turned into a reality. Lionel Messi, the greatest of all time, won his first World Cup with his set of Argentine soldiers. And what a game of football it was, as English commentator Peter Drury quoted, “In the end, all I can say is thank you”. It was a night of two no.10s dominating from both ends. However, the world celebrated Messi lifting the only trophy missing from his cabinet in his last World Cup match.

While the world celebrated Messi completing the football, some lovers of the game felt bad for the 23-year-old Mbappe. The PSG starlet left his soul on the pitch as he grabbed a hat trick to keep France in the game till the end. The winner was decided via a penalty shootout in which Emi Martinez emerged as a hero. Argentina added their 3rd World Cup to their trophy cabinet while paying all their respect to the late Maradonna during celebrations.
World Cup 2022, which was surrounded by controversies before it began, turned out to be one of the best footballing tournaments ever. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Luka Modric, and Robert Lewandowski, alongside Lionel Messi, featured in their last World Cup.

World Cup 2022 was dominated by the underdogs who made the tournament better. Teams like Morocco, Japan, and even Saudi Arabia gave us one of the tournament’s best matches. Players like Yassine Bounou and Josko Gvardiol made a name for themselves with back-to-back world-class performances. Let’s have a look at the best XI of FIFA World Cup 2022.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Best XI

Goalkeeper – Yassine Bounou (Morocco)

Sevilla’s goalkeeper was the leader from the back for Morocco. Yassine Bounou, also known as ‘Bono’ dominated his area as he emerged as one of the favourites in World Cup 2022. Besides his exceptional performance, Bono was also a motivating factor for his team. Bono carried his side to the quarter-finals as he came big against Spain in the penalty shoot-out and later denied every opportunity created by Portugal in the quarter-final to reach the semi-finals against France. Morocco didn’t conceive a single goal from the opponent in World Cup 2022 till they faced France in the semi-finals.

Right-back – Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

Achraf Hakimi penned one of the best stories in this year’s World Cup. Born and bought up in Spain, Hakimi rejected the opportunity to represent the 2010 World Cup winners and opted to play for Morocco. The former Real Madrid full-back then eliminated Spain and Portugal with a series of brilliant performances for his side in the world’s biggest sporting event. Remember the winning penalty in the Round of 16 penalty shoot-out against Spain and the celebration after that.

Centre-back – John Stones (England)

England looked like a solid team in the World Cup until they came across France in the competition’s quarter-finals. However, Gareth Southgate’s side put on a tough fight in which John Stones played a huge part. Stones is one of the top defenders in the business, and he displayed his quality at the back for the Three Lions in World Cup 2022 as well. Stones has a knack for playing progressive passes during attacks as well, which makes him more crucial for his teams.

Centre-back – Josko Gvardiol (Croatia)

The Croatia national football team has already gained everyone’s respect with their historic runs in the back-to-back FIFA World Cups. The 2018 finalists made it to the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup after getting the better of Brazil in the quarter-final stage. Josko Gvardiol was their main man in the back. The masked centre-back stood tall for the Croatians and made it to the best XI of World Cup 2022. Gvardiol also scored a goal against Morocco to seal the 3rd place for Morocco.

Left-back – Ivan Perisic (Croatia)

Ivan Perisic continued to shine in any given position for Croatia as he does it so well for Tottenham. Perisic can prosper anywhere on the pitch; he is as brilliant of an all-rounder as it gets. Perisic had a total of three assists and a goal in the 2022 World Cup. Adding to that, Perisic has directly been involved in a total of 11 FIFA World Cup goals in the last three tournaments, which include six goals and five assists.

Right midfield – Antoine Griezmann (France)

Antoine Griezmann was arguably the second-best player for France in the 2022 World Cup, only behind Kylian Mbappe. Griezmann took the new role handed to him by Didier Deschamps with both hands and fulfilled it perfectly. The Atletico Madrid star, who has spent most of his career as a striker, adapted to the mid-field role quite easily. Griezmann surely had a good campaign.

Central midfield – Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)

Sofyan Amrabat is one of the most talked about midfielders after the World Cup 2022. His performance against Spain, in which he was all over the Barcelona midfield trio Gavi, Pedri, and Busquets, gave him the limelight of his life. Amrabat is now being linked with Liverpool as he has a very good possibility of joining the Merseyside club in the winter transfer window.

Left midfield – Luka Modric (Croatia)

37 years old and still the best midfielder of World Cup 2022. Luka Modric can never get old, and this year’s World Cup was an example of it. The Croatian skipper wore his heart on his sleeves as he carried his side to the 3rd spot in his last and final World Cup. Football will miss the magician from Madrid at the highest level of the game.

Right-wing – Lionel Messi (Argentina)

One of the best stories ever written in the history of any sport is Lionel Messi winning the World Cup. The little master scored in each of the knock-out games, including two goals in the finals against France to lift the auspicious World Cup trophy. Lionel Messi won the golden ball award as he scored a total of 7 goals and had 3 assists under his belt in this year’s edition of the FIFA World Cup.

Centre-forward – Richarlison (Brazil)

Brazil was the favourite to win the 2022 Qatar World Cup before their shocking exit against Croatia in the quarter-finals. Tottenham’s Richarlison was selected and played ahead of the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino, and it turned out to be the right decision by Brazil’s manager Tite. Richarlison displayed some outstanding skills during the entire campaign, as he scored a total of 3 goals.

Left wing – Kylian Mbappe (France)

Kylian Mbappe is the highest goal-scorer of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with a total of 8 goals under his belt, which included a hat trick in the finals. Even most of his doubters have turned into a fan after seeing Mbappe’s class in the 2022 World Cup. Mbappe won the Golden Boot of the 2022 World Cup and was arguably the tournament’s best player alongside Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi

Messi’s World Cup winning post becomes the 2nd most-liked on Instagram

Lionel Messi’s Argentina broke the Internet after winning the thrilling World Cup final against France. The team won 4-2 in penalties after the game was tied 3-3 in normal time. Messi, who scored a brace, made a heartfelt post on Instagram after lifting the World Cup trophy.



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A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

The post saw Messi thanking his teammates, family and Argentina fans along with photos of him celebrating with the trophy. The Instagram post read, “CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!!!!! 🌎🏆 So many times I dreamed it, so much I wanted it that I still don’t fall, I can’t believe it…… Thank you so much to my family, to all who support me and also to all who believed in us. We prove once again that Argentinians when we fight together and united we are able to achieve what we aim. The merit is of this group, which is above individuals, is the strength of all fighting for the same dream that was also the one of all Argentinians… We did it!!! LET’S GO ARGENTINA DAMN!!!!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻 We’re seeing each other very soon.”

Lionel Messi’s post has got over 53.6 million likes and 1.5 million comments making it the second most-liked post on Instagram. The Instagram post is only a few million likes behind Chris Godfrey’s post of “The Egg“, which has 55.8 million likes.

Earlier this year, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s post for a Louis Vuitton ad campaign became the second-most liked post on Instagram. With this post, Messi has gone one step ahead and currently holds the second rank. Will it become the numero uno most-liked Instagram post? Only time will tell.

Fernando Santos has quit as Portugal's coach

Fernando Santos quits as Portugal coach; Jose Mourinho to succeed

Fernando Santos has quit as Portugal’s coach after his team’s dismal performance in the World Cup, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) confirmed. The 68-year-old departs in the wake of a World Cup quarter-final defeat to Morocco, a frustrating end to a terrific spell in charge that saw him lead Portugal to multiple titles.

The FPF said, “After one of the best participations ever by the national team in the final stages of the World Cup…FPF and Fernando Santos understand this is the right moment to start a new cycle.” The move comes in wake of huge criticism surrounding the coach’s controversial move to bench Cristiano Ronaldo in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinal clash against Morocco.

Santos, who was heavily criticised for his defensive tactics, became one of the most successful coaches in Portugal’s history, winning the UEFA Euro 2016 and UEFA Nations League in 2019.

The FPF further added, “In addition to the titles won, Fernando Santos became the coach with the most games and most victories. It was an honour to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos as the head of the national team.”

Additionally, Jose Mourinho, the current coach of AS Roma, is rumoured to be approached for the high-profile job. Will the “Special One” be able to break the jinx and finally help Portugal lift the World Cup trophy?

Lionel Messi In blue and white verticle line jersey

Argentina reach record 6th World Cup final; beat Croatia 3-0

In what seems to be his last World Cup, Argentina’s talismanic skipper Lionel Messi has led his team to yet another World Cup final. The runners-up of the 2014 World Cup beat Croatia 3-0 in the first semifinal that happened at Qatar’s Lusail Iconic Stadium.

The game started with both teams evenly poised. But soon after the 30-minute mark, Argentina started to make a move. And their tactics worked when the Croatians crumbled under pressure and gave away a penalty due to Croatia’s goalkeeper’s fault. Lionel Messi didn’t disappoint his nation and converted the penalty into a comfortable goal.

With the Argentines leading, Croatia tried to make the game even. However, they didn’t succeed. Julian Alvarez, the latest acquisition of Manchester City, capitalized with a stunning solo goal. The Croatians didn’t have an answer to the Argentine offence. The Argentines went into the half-time break with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Messi’s Argentina didn’t stop their counter-attacking gameplay as the second half started. The No. 3 ranked team in FIFA scored another wonderful goal, thanks to Julian Alvarez. The strike crushed the game and spirit of the Croatians.

This is Argentina’s sixth World Cup appearance. They have won in 1978 and 1986 and been runners-up thrice: in 1930, 1990 and 2014.

Argentina will now face the winner of the second semifinal happening between France and Morocco. Will the South American champs be able to win the trophy for their skipper Lionel Messi? Only time will tell.

Ronaldo denies signing Al Nassr deal

Cristiano Ronaldo has put all the speculations to rest. The former Manchester United striker has denied signing Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr’s massive two-and-a-half-year deal for £173million-a-year.

Speaking after coming off the bench in Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland at the World Cup, a rare substitute appearance for his country, Ronaldo was asked about the move.

“No, it’s not true,” he told reporters.

The Portugal superstar is currently without a club after he mutually decided to part ways with his former club, Manchester United. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner may struggle to find a top-tier club in Europe, given his relative decline in form in recent times, compared to his peak years at Real Madrid and the huge salary he is expected to be seeking.

The Portugal superstar denied saying anything else, as he wants to focus on the World Cup. After hammering Switzerland in the Round of 16, Portugal will face Morocco in the quarterfinals.

South Korea’s manager Paulo Bento resigns following Brazil loss

Following a massive 4-1 loss in the Round of 16 match against Brazil, South Korea’s manager Paulo Bento has confirmed that he has resigned from the high-profile position.

The Selecao killed the game for the South Koreans with an unassailable 4-goal lead before the first-half whistle. However, the South Koreans got one back with a stunning strike from Seung-Ho Paik in the 76th minute.

Bento has confirmed his decision in the post-match announcement. “I have just announced to the players and the president of the federation that this is a decision I took in September. It is set in stone, and I have confirmed it. I have to thank everyone for everything they have done,” he said.

He further added, “From now onwards, we have to think about the future. I’m going to rest, and we have to see what will happen after I rest.”

South Korea blew hot and cold at the FIFA World Cup. Starting their campaign, the Asians played a goalless draw against Uruguay and a dramatic 3-2 loss to Ghana, which saw their manager Bento being sent off. The South Koreans then beat title contenders Portugal 2-1 in their final group stage game to qualify for the Round of 16.

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