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. 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.
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. 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 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. 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 Yuri Cortez found himself literally at the centre of Croatia's celebrations after their winning goal in the semifinal against England, but kept his cool to snap away. Croatian goal-scoring 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.
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