FIFA World Cup 2018 gets underway in Russia today. The quadrennial event will see some of the biggest names in football put their best foot forward in the battle of supremacy. Over the next month or so, we will see/read/hear a lot of footballing terms related to the World Cup. Here are the A-Z of this World Cup:
A Achilles the Cat: Earlier there was Paul the Octopus, this time it’s Achilles the Cat. This ‘psychic’ cat will be making predictions for all the World Cup matches.
B Brazil: The most successful team in the history of World Cup. They are always the favourites and are almost every neutral’s first or second choice team. At least in India, it has a huge fan following.
C Cliches: ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’; ‘Game of two halves’; ‘Penalties are a lottery’ – are some of the clichés that you will hear during the course of next month.
D Dark Horses: Belgium, Portugal and Uruguay do have the squad to upset the biggies at the World Cup. Could a dark horse finally win the World Cup?
E Essam Hadary: The Egyptian goalkeeper – Essam El-Hadary is the oldest player to be in Russia. At 45 years and four months, he will become the oldest player to play in a World Cup match, if he gets picked in the starting XI.
F Favourites: Brazil, Spain, France and Germany are the top favourites to win the trophy in Russia.
G Golden Boot and Golden Ball: These awards are given to the player who scores the most goals and the Most Valuable Player of the tournament respectively.
H #Hashtags: We live in an era where everything – well, almost everything – gets a hashtag. Expect a ton of them during the World Cup
I Iceland: The smallest nation – population of 334,000 – that will be at the 2018 World Cup.
J Joachim Low: Can the Germany coach become the first man to win two successive World Cups? He has all the tools at his disposal. Let’s wait and watch.
K Kalinic: Lovre Kalinic from Croatia is the tallest player at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He stands tall at 201cm or 6 foot 5 inches.
L Live it Up: The official song of the 2018 World Cup and arguably one of the worst of all-time. How Will Smith agreed to be a part of it and then came out with this is something we just can’t wrap our head arounds. Shakira’s Waka Waka deserves a Grammy compared to this one.
M Messi: The world’s best football (although Cristiano Ronaldo will vociferously disagree) player is Lionel Messi. However, the diminutive Argentine star has one thing missing from his impressive collection of medals: a World Cup trophy. With this being – in all probability – his last World Cup, Messi is in the last chance saloon.
N Nutmeg: A skill that you will see – hopefully a lot – at the World Cup. A nutmeg is when a player skillfully passes the ball through an opponent’s legs.
O Oranje: Unfortunately, Holland didn’t make it to Russia after a poor qualifying campaign. We will certainly miss the colour and fervor Dutch fans are known to add.
P Panenka: Remember the audacious penalty kick Zinedine Zidane scored in the 2006 World Cup final? Yes, that’s called the Panenka. In other words, a penalty kick that is deftly chipped straight down the goal.
Q Qatar: The host nation for the next World Cup. Do expect Qatar to pop up every now and then especially when a big team crashes out of Russia.
R Ravshan Irmatov: The referee from Uzbekistan who holds the record for officiating in the most matches (9) in the history of World Cup.
S Salah: Mo Salah has had a phenomenal year in football and will be one of the most closely watched players. The Egyptian was one of the main reasons behind his country making to the World Cup
T Telstar 18: Adidas’ official ball for the 2018 World Cup.
U Unqualified XI: Gigi Buffon, David Luiz, Leroy Sane, Alexis Sanchez, Giorgio Chiellini, Arjen Robben, Gareth Bale, Virgil Van Dijk, David Alaba, Anthony Martial, Mauro Icardi – players who won’t be at the World Cup
V VAR or Video Assistant Referee: For the first time in the history of World Cup, technology is being used to help referees make the right decision. There are bound to be glitches and controversy around it as it is an ‘experiment’ but could have a lasting impact on a team’s fortunes.
W WaGs: Or better known as Wives and Girlfriends. The glamorous partners of football players whose images will be splashed across the Web and newspapers over the next one month
X Xherdan Shaqiri: The Swiss maestro, also known as The Alpine Messi, is the shortest player at the World Cup, standing at 165 cm or 5 ft 4 inches
Y Youngest team: The youngest team in terms of average age at the 2018 World Cup is Russia.
Z Zabivaka: The official mascot for the 2018 World Cup is called Zabivaka is a wolf and his name means ‘the one who scores’ in Russian.
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