1 | Gonçalo Ramos Hattrick
To paint the picture, World Cup round of 16, your first start for your country, coming at the expense of your countries GOAT being dropped.
This was the scenario Gonçalo Ramos found himself in as Portugal met Switzerland in the last 16, he replaced Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting XI.
However Fernando Santos got it right, as Ramos opened the scoring after just 17′ minutes.
The Benfica striker went on to grab two more as the Portuguese ran out 6-1 winners, with ‘O Feiticeiro’ the star of the show, ushering in a new era with a hat-trick.
Simply an iconic and inspirational performance, however the less said about the quarter finals the better.
2 | Japan surprise everyone
Going into the tournament Japan were considered by many to just be making up the numbers in Group E.
This narrative was quickly shut down as they beat Germany on the opening day to mark their intentions as serious threats.
This win was coupled with a final group stage game win against Spain which saw The Samurai Blue top the group which had two former world champions in it.
This was an incredible moment for not only Japan but for football as a whole.
The Japanese run came to an end in the knockouts however when they bumped into eventual semi-finalists Croatia.
3 | Brazil vs South Korea. that first half
‘Joga Bonito’ was truly alive at this World Cup, at no point more than when Brazil met South Korea in the last 16.
Seleção Canarinho found themselves 4-0 up after just 36′ minutes thanks to a combination of silky skills, slick passing and clinical finishing.
Watching that Brazil side at times had glimpses of watching Brazil sides of old.
If you want someone to fall in love with football, just show them this first half from the South American side and no doubt they will be addicted.
It is a shame how the remainder of the competition went for this extremely talented yet inconsistent Brazilian side.
4 | Saudi Arabia beat Argentina
Opening week of World Cup 2022, gave one of the biggest shocks in the tournaments history.
Saudi Arabia took on the now finalists Argentina, and amazingly won in what will be remembered by all, especially if Argentina go on to win the trophy.
Having only three shots, 30% possession and fouling the Argentines 21 times, The Falcons didn’t let that deter them, as they scored two great goals which will be immortalised in Jeddah.
The Falcons may not have followed up on this impressive win, however it is a moment which will inspire young footballers across Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as a whole.
5 | Ronaldo in tears
Cristiano Ronaldo is no stranger to crying publicly, famously left in tears after Portugal lost the Euro 2004 final to Greece.
However that was a young Ronaldo with plenty of life left.
This Ronaldo who we saw depart the pitch after Morocco threw Portugal out of the tournament in the Quarter final, is on his last legs.
The tears of a great who won’t get another chance to claim the prize he covets most.
What will hurt even more, is his arch nemesis Lionel Messi has reached the final.
A departure from the world’s eyes for one of the all time greats.
That being said, rumours seem to suggest he fancies himself to continue playing until the 2026 World Cup, so you would be crazy to write him off.
Jonathan Maze | GWFN