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World Cup 2018 - The Real Winners

Monday, 23 July 2018
Two football fans smiling World Cup 2018 - The Real Winner This image by pexels.com from Pixabay.com is licensed under the CC0 license

World cup 2018:  France wins the FIFA World Cup Trophy but who are the real winners of this year's dramatic competition? Discover the truth in our pre-intermediate reading comprehension exercise with questions and answers.

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Reading comprehension - Pre-intermediate level

Whichever team you support, it seems everyone agrees that the World Cup of 2018 was a magnificent event which gave us drama and excitement as well as great examples of true sportsmanship and team spirit.

In the early stages of the tournament we saw a number of surprises which made a refreshing change. Sweden won their group, South Korea and Mexico both beat Germany and the Russian hosts had a win over Spain. Suddenly, anything was possible! Japan sadly went out of the competition but their fans made a huge effort to clean and tidy the stadium afterwards. The team also left a special thank you note to the Russian people in the changing rooms. The hosts were rightly proud of their beautiful stadia and the organisation of the whole tournament made an impressive showcase for Russia.

Across the teams, 2018 quickly became a celebration of youth. The 25 year old England team captain Harry Kane of Tottenham had his first ever visit to the World Cup and won the Golden Boot for the most goals scored. 19 year old Kylian Mbappé of France was not even born when France last won the World Cup in 1998 but won the FIFA Young Player Award. He also became the youngest player to score in a World Cup Final since the great Pele of Brazil in 1958. Croatian midfielder Luka Modric led his team to the final and earned the Player of the Tournament Award called the Golden Ball. French manager Didier Deschamps actually played on France's winning team in 1998 and then returned as manager in 2018, this time to lead the French team to victory once more. 26 year old Thibaut Courtois made a dramatic last-minute save against Brazil and took home the Golden Glove for his role as Belgium's goalkeeper.

Another winner was the new VAR system (Video Assistant Referee) which helped the human referee to review and amend difficult decisions. This was used countless times, adding to the excitement of both the crowds and the spectators at home. It was the first real trial of the technology at world level and it proved effective.

It is also important not to forget the wonderful examples of great leadership which this World Cup gave us. There are numerous examples from across the teams. First, there was the 'Gareth Southgate effect' which showed this young England manager giving 100% to support all the members of the England squad and creating great team spirit. Then we saw Romelu Lukaku inspiring his Belgian team-mates with his motivational post-match team talks. Belgium won almost all their matches, only losing to France in the semi-finals. Later, we saw the incredible camaraderie shared by President Emmanuel Macron of France and the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović despite the tensions of a sensational final. We felt the warmth of their congratulations and consolations as they hugged their teams at the end of the match. Add to this the good natured acceptance of the delayed medal ceremony held under umbrellas in the pouring rain!

Meanwhile, back home in many cities of the world, fans were gathering in houses, pubs, clubs and temporary fan zones to watch and celebrate together. In Britain, encouraged by the unusually hot summer and England's unexpected success, British fans even helped the national economy by contributing to a 0.7 % rise in spending during June 2018! In France, there was a crowd of 90,000 happy fans at the Eiffel Tower watching the final on the big screens together.

So overall, the 2018 World Cup has proved to be a celebration of youth, good management and cooperation as well as an exhibition of the best footballing skills on the planet. As a consequence, the world looks forward to the novelty of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will be held for the first time in the month of November to make the most of the cooler season in the Middle East.

Internet Sources
BBC: World Cup 2018: Why the tournament in Russia was statistically the best. Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44849930 {20/7/18}
Le Monde: Equipe de France: le sacre de la jeunesse conquérante. Available from: https://www.lemonde.fr/mondial-2018/article/2018/07/16/mondial-2018-le-sacre-de-la-jeunesse-de-la-discipline-et-de-la-hargne_5331867_5193650.html {20/7/18}
Wikipedia: 2018 FIFA World Cup. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_FIFA_World_Cup {22/7/2018}

World cup 2018 - Comprehension questions

1. Who left behind a thank you letter for the Russians in their dressing rooms when they went out of the World Cup competition?

2. Who gained the FIFA Young Player Award in the 2018 World Cup?
(a) Courtois
(b) Modric
(c) Pele
(d) Mbappé

3. What do the letters VAR stand for?

4. How many French supporters watched France win the 2018 final on the giant screen at the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

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published in Graded Reading 2018
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Last modified on Monday, 27 August 2018 07:31

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