Daily Maverick

In Pictures: The most poignant reactions that sum up the World Cup

Kylian Mbappe of France (C) reacts next to French president Emmanuel Macron (L) and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic after the FIFA World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia in Moscow, Russia, 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

It's been a wild World Cup.

There were many magical moments at the 2018 World Cup. Agony and ecstasy summed up by the fans’ faces. But the players, too, have been on a rollercoaster journey.

We know there will be moments we’ve missed (don’t write in), but these are some of the most memorable pictures from one heck of a tournament.

Iran sneaked three points against Morocco before rescuing a point against Portugal and, were it not for the agonisingly late goal they conceded against Spain, who knows what might have happened.

Karim Ansarifard of Iran reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Iran and Portugal in Saransk, Russia, 25 June 2018. EPA-EFE/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

Senegal departed after the group stage, but the dance routine that got them all warmed up for training made headlines.

Senegal’s players dance during a training session in the Spartak stadium Moscow, Russia, 18 June 2018. Senegal will face Poland in their FIFA World Cup 2018 Group H preliminary round soccer match on 19 June 2018. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Mexico’s win over Germany was the start of the defending champions’ undoing.

Edson Alvarez of Mexico reacts after winning the FIFA World Cup 2018 group F preliminary round soccer match between Germany and Mexico in Moscow, Russia, 17 June 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

That culminated in a loss to South Korea, who celebrated like they had won the whole thing, even though they were on the plane home the next day.

Players of South Korea celebrate after the FIFA World Cup 2018 group F preliminary round soccer match between South Korea and Germany in Kazan, Russia, 27 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT

Granit Xhaka’s “Albanian eagle” celebration gave the world a lesson in geopolitics.

Switzerland’s midfielder Granit Xhaka celebrates after scoring the 1-1 equalizer during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group E preliminary round soccer match between Switzerland and Serbia in Kaliningrad, Russia, 22 June 2018. EPA-EFE/LAURENT GILLIERON

Kasper Schmeichel saw the funny side of repeatedly being asked about dad Peter. He Tweeted a picture of himself at a press conference, saying: “This is the face you make when you’re asked about your father again.”

Denmark’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel attends a press conference held in Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russian Federation, 25 June 2018. Denmark will face France in the FIFA World Cup 2018 Group C preliminary round soccer match on 26 June 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

Cristiano Ronaldo might not always be palatable, but walking Edinson Cavani off the pitch after the Uruguayan picked up an injury in the last 16 was touching. Unless he was rushing him off to avoid being caught in the race for the Golden Boot.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (L) helps Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani during the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between Uruguay and Portugal in Sochi, Russia, 30 June 2018. EPA-EFE/JUAN HERRERO

Japan wormed their way into the last 16 on the “fair play” rule and very nearly dumped Belgium out of the competition. Lots of players needed peeling off the turf afterwards, but they still made time to tidy up the changerooms and leave a ‘thank you’ note.

Genki Haraguchi of Japan celebrates scoring the 1-0 with teammates during the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and Japan in Rostov-On-Don, Russia, 02 July 2018. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Lionel Messi, oh poor Messi. Why must he be so nice?

Lionel Messi of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between France and Argentina in Kazan, Russia, 30 June 2018. EPA-EFE/MAHMOUD KHALED

And why can’t Diego Maradona be that nice instead of just being a nuisance?

Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona pictured before the FIFA World Cup 2018 Group D preliminary round soccer match between Nigeria and Argentina in St.Petersburg, Russia, 26 June 2018. EPA-EFE/GEORGI LICOVSKI

Gareth Southgate, who once missed a penalty in a knockout game himself, consoled a devastated Mateus Uribe. Southgate, though, probably wasn’t fearing for his life after his miss at Wembley in Euro ‘96.

Colombia’s coach Jose Pekerman (L) and England’s manager Gareth Southgate (R) comfort Mateus Uribe (C) of Colombia after the penalty shootout of the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between Colombia and England in Moscow, Russia, 03 July 2018. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL

Speaking of exits, Jose Gimenez was in tears in the Uruguayan wall before the final whistle even blew. Absolutely gutting.

Jose Gimenez of Uruguay reacts after the FIFA World Cup 2018 quarterfinal soccer match between Uruguay and France in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 06 July 2018. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Catch up with what you might have missed in Russia over on Daily Maverick’s dedicated World Cup 2018 section. DM

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