Joy, anger, anguish, frustration, relief and sore throats from shouting instructions, coaches and managers at FIFA World Cup are riding a wave of emotions in Qatar.
Here is the story in pictures of the men living the moments from the sidelines of football’s greatest tournament.
South Korea head coach Paulo Bento given the marching orders
South Korea suffered a heartbreak in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in a Group H match against Ghana. Paulo Bento’s side is on the brink of elimination after the 3-2 loss. With Korea trailing, 10 minutes were added to the regulation 90 minutes. In the final minute of the electrifying tie, the South Korean team thought it had another shot at equalising as the ball went out for a supposed corner. But Anthony Taylor, the match official, decided otherwise and blew the whistle. An agitated Bento went straight to Taylor and had a heated argument which resulted in the Portuguese being shown a red card.
Hajime Moriyasu after Japan stunned Germany
With the odds stacked against it, Japan came into the Group E clash against Germany. Hansi Flick’s side absolutely dominated the first 45 minutes. It took the lead via an Ilkay Gundogan penalty in the 33rd minute. Germany, high on momentum, came into the second half with just one mission in mind - not let the opposition score. But Die Mannschaft lost the plot halfway into the second half and complacency crept within the players. Moriyasu’s men were quick to exploit this and had a late flourish as Ritsu Doan restored parity in the 75th minute just before an individual brilliance from Takuma Asano sealed the deal for the Japanese.
Other side of the coin
While Moriyasu and his men were celebrating what was their most memorable win, Hansi Flick and Co. stood devastated as their side’s qualification chances for the knockouts were jeopardised. From having 71 per cent possession in the opening 45 minutes to losing the match in the final quarter is surely a hard pill to swallow.
Felix Sanchez after Qatar created an unwanted record
Host Qatar became the first nation to be knocked out of the ongoing World Cup with two consecutive losses. In its final group stage match, it had the daunting task of taking on the high-flying Netherlands. Like rubbing salt onto the wound, Qatar was absolutely outplayed against the Dutch and created a record of being the first ever host nation to not get a point in the group stages of a World Cup. Time to go back to the drawing board...
Mexico’s elimination and Gerardo Martino’s fate
“My contract ended as soon as the referee blew the whistle,” said Mexico’s head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino after his side failed to cross the group stage for the first time since 1978. Mexico won 2-1 against Saudi Arabia in its final group stage match but suffered an early exit as Poland held a better goal difference than El Tri.
The reason? Salem Al Dawsari, the Argentinian heartbreaker’s injury-time goal. The World Cup oust, coupled with a string of below-average performances in the Nations League and the 2021 Gold Cup resulted in Martino deciding to not renew his contract with the Mexico national team.
Carlos Queiroz after THE Wales win of Iran
Iran’s Group B match against Wales was equally poised for the majority of the 90 minutes. Carlos Queiroz, the Iran head coach, wouldn’t have expected the match to end the way it did. To put things in perspective, Wales’ loss became Iran’s gain. Wayne Hennessey became the first player to receive a red card in the ongoing World Cup - in the 89th minute - and with that began the downfall of Wales. Fans witnessed arguably the most dramatic of the final 10 minutes of a match in this edition of the tournament. Two goals in the final two minutes of injury time from super-sub Roozbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian gave Iran a win for ages.
Herve Renard after the loss against Poland
Coming on the back of a spectacular win against Messi’s Argentina, Saudi Arabia was all set to face Poland in the second round. But Herve Renard’s side did not look like the team that beat La Albieceleste on the night it got hammered by two goals from Piotr Zielenski and Robert Lewandowski- who broke his World Cup duck.
Roberto Martinez after the loss against Morocco
There has been quite a bit of chatter around Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ being over. And that was evident as an ageing Belgium lost against Morocco. The Manchester City magician Kevin de Bruyne was far from his best while Eden Hazard was a shadow of his old self. Thibaut Courtois meanwhile, was missing sitters that he would’ve stopped on any other day. All these setbacks clubbed with Roberto Martinez’s hesitation in bringing Romelu Lukaku and Leandro Trossard came back to bite Belgium. Eventually, the Red Devils suffered a humiliating loss to Morocco which dented their qualification possibility.
Aliou Cisse after Ghana’s win against South Korea
After the win against Ecuador, Senegal became the first African nation to progress to the World Cup Round of 16 since 2014. On the sidelines, there was one man who was having the time of his life - Aliou Cisse. Senegal suffered a heartbreak in the 2018 World Cup after it became the first nation to get knocked out of the quadrennial showpiece based on disciplinary record. From there to reach the knockouts this time, life has come full circle for the former Senegal skipper. Cisse has seen it all with Senegal, since his appointment in 2015. He oversaw the Lions of Teranga in their title-winning run at the African Cup of Nations earlier this year.
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