Well, after four years of build up the Qatar World Cup is over. 

Argentina added their name to the trophy, defeating France in the final, but this was a tournament about far more than Sunday’s final at the Lusail Stadium. 

This was a tournament for Louis van Gaal‘s kissing, England’s players adopting a cat called Dave and Saudi Arabia stunning Argentina thanks in no small part to a rousing speech from their manager Herve Renard.  

This was a tournament for Japan’s players showing off their origami skills, for Bukayo Saka to expose his team-mates’ troubles at spelling, and for the poor Mexican fan who was so frustrated at going out in the group stages he smashed up his TV with a knife. 

There were moments of sadness too, not least the infamous pre-tournament press conference from FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the sour scenes between Argentina and Holland at the end of their feisty quarter-final clash.  

Sportsmail looks back on all that and more in 20 hand-picked moments that made us laugh, made us wince and everything in between from the Qatar World Cup. 

Souness v Keane was box-office

‘You’ll learn a lot more if you listen rather than talk all the time!’ 

Those were the words of Souness after an epic verbal spar with fellow ITV pundit Keane during Argentina’s first group stage match against Saudi Arabia.

All presenter Laura Woods had to do was tee the debate up at half-time after the South Americans were awarded a contentious penalty when Leandro Paredes went down. 

Keane claimed no penalty. Souness claimed penalty. Rather than leave it at a difference of opinion, things escalated – fast.

Roy Keane and Graeme Souness sensationally clashed on ITV after Argentina got a penalty

Roy Keane and Graeme Souness sensationally clashed on ITV after Argentina got a penalty

‘Roy you’re not listening to what Laura (Woods – ITV presenter) said,’ Souness fumed.

‘This is a directive from referees this is not about opinion this is is a fact – the guy wasn’t looking.’

A back-and-forth ensued about opinion over fact and Keane wasn’t having any of it. 

‘I’m here to give my opinion that’s not my pen I’ll say it again – that’s my opinion,’ he said. ‘That’s my opinion. I’m here to give my opinion that’s not a penalty’, before he repeated: ‘I’m here to give my opinion that’s not a penalty.’

Souness responded: ‘I’ve heard you say it 10 times, let someone else speak

The pair were as box office together as we all imagined. TV gold.  

Croatian Instagram model Ivana Knoll caught the eye for her outfits during the tournament

Croatian Instagram model Ivana Knoll caught the eye for her outfits during the tournament

Croatia’s Latex Lady

Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed plenty of headlines; Lionel Messi garnered plenty of attention; there was lots of focus on Kylian Mbappe. 

Few gained as much notoriety as Croatian Instagram model Ivana Knoll, though.

Knoll, who was previously crowned Miss Croatia, has had other fans with jaws on the floor at her racy Latex outfits – so much so that she revealed stadium security in Qatar prevented her from taking photos with fans ahead of Croatia’s quarter-final against Brazil.

Locals have been seen snapping photos of her, with some claiming that it is down to disapproval of her outfit choices. 

Security asked her not to take photos at the Education City Stadium in Croatia's quarter-final

Security asked her not to take photos at the Education City Stadium in Croatia’s quarter-final

Knoll has amassed 2.4 million followers on Instagram over the past fortnight after catching the eyes of fans across the world during the World Cup.

Her racy outfits are somewhat at odds with Qatar’s usual modesty laws, which urges women to cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts.

Nonetheless, she’s become as much a talking point as many of the players! Cue those Instagram endorsements in three, two… 

England fans go partying with a sheikh (and his lion!)

It was a tournament that provided plenty of thrills on the pitch but few fans return home with a better story than this pair of England fans. 

Alex Sullivan, and a friend who identified as John, claimed they partied with the son of a Qatari sheikh on their ‘hunt for beers’ early on after arriving in Qatar. 

Everton fan Alex recounted to talkSPORT: ‘We were on a hunt for some beers and they said “We’ll sort beers”, so we jumped into the back of his Toyota Land Cruiser, ended up in a big palace. 

‘We were in the back and he showed us monkeys, his exotic birds, it was nuts.’

People doubted it, as you would given the outlandish nature of the tale, only for Alex to pull up videos of him playing with one of the lions he spoke about. Crazy.  

Alex Sullivan posted a video of himself playing with a lion cub, claiming it was at the palace of a Qatari sheikh

Alex Sullivan posted a video of himself playing with a lion cub, claiming it was at the palace of a Qatari sheikh

Saka’s spelling school

First up was James Maddison, who failed in his attempt to spell ‘aesthetic’. Then came Jack Grealish, who fluffed his lines with the word ‘rhythm’.

Declan Rice followed, but he too was wide of the mark when asked to spell ‘pronunciation’. Marcus Rashford couldn’t hit the target with ’embarrassed’ and even a confident Trent Alexander-Arnold lost his nerve trying to spell ‘entrepreneur’. 

Declan Rice was asked to spell the word 'pronunciation'

While Jack Grealish was asked to spell the word 'rthym'

Bukayo Saka entertained on and off the pitch, as he challenged team-mates with their spelling 

For as dazzling as Bukayo Saka was on the pitch for England with his goals and his all-around flair, he became a TikTok sensation off the pitch with his spelling school

Saka was a flawless student at Greenford High School and left with four A*s and three As in his GCSE’s. 

His team-mates can definitely learn a thing or two with him around. 

Three Lions – and a cat called Dave!

Football may not have come home from Qatar but at least Dave the cat is.

Dave, a stray tabby in Qatar, captured the hearts of Man City pair John Stones and Kyle Walker during evening down time and now he will embark on a new life in a much cooler England.  

He was given his vaccinations and shots on Monday last week before his voyage to England began. 

‘He had a little scrap with another cat the other night,’ Walker said prior to the France game. ‘I think they are fighting over territory and the food. But he’s doing well.

Dave the cat (pictured) has been adopted by England's players and brought back to the UK

Dave the cat (pictured) has been adopted by England’s players and brought back to the UK

‘Hopefully I can stick to my promise that he will come home with us if we were to win the World Cup. Dave’s fine, thank you for asking.’

Walker has stuck to that vow and the Qatar Animal Welfare Society said it had been paid around £2,000 by players to microchip and vaccinate Dave against viruses, including rabies.

Enjoy rainy Manchester, Dave! 

Keane’s goal in the ITV/BBC match

Just days after he became Public Enemy No 1 in Brazil, Keane was spotted with his own wild celebration after netting in a friendly between ITV staff and BBC staff during a day off. 

Former Manchester United supremo Keane showed he has still got it by scoring the ‘golden goal’ in the clash, finishing past the BBC’s Micah Richards, who was in goal for his employers in Qatar.

Scoring on the half-volley, Keane raced off in celebration, whipping his shirt off before jumping over a nearby wheelie bin. 

It wasn’t quite ‘Strictly’ like Brazil – as he put it – but it didn’t stop Brazilian Twitter gunning for him all the same. 

Keane – the gift that keeps on giving.  

Roy Keane scored the winning goal in a friendly match between ITV and the BBC in Qatar

Roy Keane scored the winning goal in a friendly match between ITV and the BBC in Qatar

The former Manchester United midfielder scored the 'Golden Goal' past Micah Richards in goal

The former Manchester United midfielder scored the ‘Golden Goal’ past Micah Richards in goal

Keane (pictured, middle) celebrated by running off before jumping over a nearby wheelie-bin

Keane (pictured, middle) celebrated by running off before jumping over a nearby wheelie-bin 

Van Gaal spreads the love

On the face of it Louis van Gaal looks like a stoic man that doesn’t have ‘fun’ in his vocabulary. 

The reality is totally different, one where Van Gaal produces some of the most side-splitting moments of the tournament. 

In order to show his appreciation to Denzel Dumfries following the last-16 win over the USA, Van Gaal planted a ‘big, fat kiss’ on the defender.

‘Yesterday I gave him a big fat kiss. I’m going to give him another big fat kiss so everyone can see.’ Van Gaal told reporters. 

Then, days later, Van Gaal was with Memphis Depay when he spoke of kissing the ex-Man United attacked ‘on the mouth’. Cue hysterics from Depay and the media. 

Often without a filter, Van Gaal came out with some zingers in Qatar – and even had the lovely moment where he hugged a young Senegalese reporter who revealed his admiration for him.  

Louis van Gaal embraced a young journalist who expressed his admiration for Holland boss

Louis van Gaal embraced a young journalist who expressed his admiration for Holland boss

Row of the tournament: Argentina v Holland 

This. Was. Spicy. 

There were 17 yellow cards shown, Argentina players cupped their ears in celebration to taunt Holland’s wounded stars and Lionel Messi told Wout Weghorst to ‘shut up’ in the mixed zone. 

Leandro Paredes caused a scuffle by walloping the ball towards Holland’s bench, Emi Martinez tore into the referee’s display and even Sergio Aguero, now retired, found time for his own tunnel row. 

Oh, and Holland’s Denzel Dumfries was sent off after all was said and done following a dust-up after the penalty shoot-out. 

It later emerged that Argentina’s antics were triggered by the Netherlands’ attempts at mind games when Lautaro Martinez stepped up for his penalty. No fewer than four Dutch stars approached the striker before his spot kick, which he converted. 

FIFA swiftly opened an investigation into the two teams in what became the feistiest game of the tournament. 

If it is all squared off and it’s no more than a paltry fine, the following picture will at least go down in World Cup history… 

Argentina players mocked their Holland counterparts after their penalty shoot-out victory

Argentina players mocked their Holland counterparts after their penalty shoot-out victory

Leandro Paredes also booted the ball at the Holland bench after a tackle on Nathan Ake

Leandro Paredes also booted the ball at the Holland bench after a tackle on Nathan Ake

Renard’s half-time rallying cry

Down 1-0 to Argentina, courtesy of a goal from Messi, it will have been easy for Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard to walk into the dressing room and adopt a softly-softly approach. 

Clearly, he thought otherwise

‘Messi, he has the ball in the middle of the pitch and you stand [hands up] in front of the defence… you have to go and mark him in the middle,’ Renard fumed, all while one of his staff contemporaneously translated into Arabic. 

‘Take your phone, you can make a picture with him!’ 

But in what was a rousing speech that saw him bouncing around the dressing room at the Lusail Stadium, Renard’s main message was simply to believe. 

‘You don’t feel we are able to come back? You don’t feel it?’ he added. ‘You play relaxed. Come on guys, this is the World Cup. Give everything!’ 

And boy did they give everything. Goals from Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari secured a famous 2-1 win.  Historic. 

Herve Renard delivered an passionate half-time speech before Saudi Arabia beat Argentina

Herve Renard delivered an passionate half-time speech before Saudi Arabia beat Argentina

Salt Bae begging for attention on the pitch

Celebrity chef Nusret Gokce – better know as Salt Bae – somehow managed to gain access to the pitch at the Lusail Stadium and seized his chance to beg players for attention and pictures in a cringe-worthy display.

In a series of videos posted on his own Instagram, the famous steak chef interrupts the likes of Angel di Maria, Cristian Romero and Lisandro Martinez as they pose with the World Cup, leaving the trio looking rather awkward as a result.

He was also seen continuously grabbing Lionel Messi in an attempt to draw his attention, although he was repeatedly rebuffed by the world’s best player. 

TikTok user @stevensaysstuff shared brief snippets of the embarrassing clips, in which he even attempted to recreate his trademark sprinkling technique over the trophy, which is described in the video as ‘the little salt thing that we’re all tired of’.

Although a friend of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Gokce does not hold either status – making his actions on the pitch after the penalty shootout even more laughable.

Video has shown Lionel Messi (second left) avoiding Salt Bae (grey suit) after the World Cup

Video has shown Lionel Messi (second left) avoiding Salt Bae (grey suit) after the World Cup

Salt Bae, a celebrity chef, made a surprise cameo on the pitch after Argentina defeated France

Salt Bae does a quick performance alongside the trophy

Salt Bae, a celebrity chef, made a surprise cameo on the pitch after Argentina defeated France

Masters of Origami and the kings of tidying up! 

This was just a really nice touch that deserves to make the cut.

Japan’s players made a huge impression on the pitch at the World Cup – but they also struck a chord off it. 

After stunning Germany in their opening game, coming from behind to win 2-1, Japan’s players tidied their dressing room, leaving it spotless at the Khalifa International Stadium.

They then went on to leave Origami swans and thank you notes in Japanese and Arabic for stadium staff.

A little gesture can go a long way – and Origami is tricky too, so props, guys.  

The team left Origami swans and thank you notes in both Japanese and Arabic for their hosts

The team left Origami swans and thank you notes in both Japanese and Arabic for their hosts

Can I help you, Weston?

There USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was, drying his hands on the bib of a pitchside photographer

In a scarcely believable few seconds as he lined up a throw-in against England, the Juventus midfielder chose to take matters into his own hands – literally. 

Some liked it, others didn’t.

The elderly photographer seemed to be stunned with surprise while one of his colleagues looked on in bemusement. 

Next time, bring your own bib, Weston! 

Weston McKennie chose to wipe his hands on a stunned photographer when playing England

Weston McKennie chose to wipe his hands on a stunned photographer when playing England

There goes the TV!

Getting knocked out of a World Cup isn’t fun for anyone: players, managers, and particularly fans. 

But this Mexico fan appeared to take their group stage elimination worse than most as he smashed his TV with a knife, following their final game against Saudi Arabia.

Mexico beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 but – agonisingly – ended up eliminated on goal difference after finishing level on points with Poland after three games in Qatar. 

Moments after their exit the rage took over for one fan.

Footage showed him smashing his TV with a flurry of punches before taking things to the extreme by bizarrely stabbing his now battered and broken TV with a knife.

That’s one expensive elimination, hombre.  

A livid Mexico fan bizarrely stabs his TV after his nation were knocked out of the World Cup

A livid Mexico fan bizarrely stabs his TV after his nation were knocked out of the World Cup

Don’t f*** with the cats

If Netflix has taught us anything it’s never to f*** with cats.

While Walker and Stones were sorting paperwork to adopt their own stray moggy, Brazil’s press officer bizarrely picked one up at a press conference like it was a heavy suitcase being put onto some airport scales. 

Two-handed grip, top of the fur, absolutely no need for it. 

The cat had wandered across the table to an unnamed official, who was sat next to 22-year-old Vinicius Jnr.

The team official appeared to scratch the cat’s head before grabbing it and throwing it off the table, leaving the reporters in attendance gasping in shock.

People on social media were furious and some even suggested karma came back around after Brazil went out to Croatia. As we said, don’t f*** with the cats.  

Brazil press officer left journalists shocked as he manhandled a cat during a press conference

Brazil press officer left journalists shocked as he manhandled a cat during a press conference

The team official appeared to scratch the cat's head before grabbing it and throwing it off

The team official appeared to scratch the cat’s head before grabbing it and throwing it off 

Aboubakar scores… and is immediately sent off!

It’s difficult to say how I’d react to scoring a winning goal against Brazil at a World Cup. 

The initial thought is an elaborate and choregraphed celebration that would have Keane apoplectic with rage. Regardless, scoring, taking my shirt off and immediately getting sent off wouldn’t be high on my list.

Granted, Vincent Aboubakar didn’t have this much time to deliberate his options before he was wheeling away in celebration having headed Cameroon to a famous victory over Brazil. 

Aboubakar was on a booking for a cynical pull-back earlier in the game – not that he remembered. Or maybe he did and he wanted to bow out in a blaze of glory in Qatar.

Off his shirt came – probably to flex his ripped physique – and he was then shown a second yellow by referee Ismail Elfath.

At least Elfath, who smiled and congratulated the striker before showing him the red card, saw the funny side. 

Vincent Aboubakar was shown a second yellow for taking his shirt off during his celebrations

Vincent Aboubakar was shown a second yellow for taking his shirt off during his celebrations

Aboubakar and referee Ismail Elfath shared a few words before the striker was sent off

The pair then shook hands before the referee showed him the red card

Aboubakar and Ismail Elfath shared a few words and shook hands before striker was sent off

Senegal’s adopted son

This was one of the most wholesome moments of the tournament, one in which captured the power of how football can bring people together. 

In the 82nd minute one of the TV cameras panned to the crowd and captured a Morocco fan dancing with a large group of Senegalese supporters

The clip quickly went viral as he danced his way through the closing stages of Senegal’s win over Ecuador. 

A party where everyone was welcome at the Khalifa International Stadium.

A Morocco fan went viral on social media after dancing with Senegal supporters at a game

A Morocco fan went viral on social media after dancing with Senegal supporters at a game

Tournament to FORGET for Budweiser

What an absolute nightmare for FIFA’s official beer sponsor. 

Players were hiding their branding from the Player of the Match trophies, FIFA even looked to stop beer being available in the company’s own hotel, as revealed by Sportsmail, and by the end you could only get your hands on a bottle of their alcoholic beer in the luxury VIP boxes.

Well, at least Argentina got to toast their title with some dressing room Buds.  

Embarrassing Infantino speech will go down in history

‘Today I have strong feelings,’ FIFA president Gianni Infantino said, the day before action got underway. 

‘Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker.’

For the next 57 minutes Infantino went on the charge.

There was an attack on the West from Infantino, who lives in Doha, too. 

Gianni Infantino hit out at critics of Qatar in a crass press conference given pre-tournament

Gianni Infantino hit out at critics of Qatar in a crass press conference given pre-tournament

He accused the West of racism and insisting those who have criticised Qatar over their employment of migrant workers were not on solid ground.

His comments were crass, out of touch and represented the biggest stain on this tournament. Laughable remarks that will go down in history.  

The power of football!

So, you remember the Mexican fan who stabbed his TV to bits? Well, we raise you the Saudi Arabia fan who ripped his own front door off its hinges after their stunning win over Argentina.

Goals from Al-Shehri and Al-Dawsari turned the game around and a video of friends watching it at home went viral as one of them ripped his front door off celebrating Al-Dawsari’s finish. 

Probably a cheaper fix than that Mexican TV, though…  

A jubilant Saudi Arabia fan took a door off its hinges when he celebrated their second goal

A jubilant Saudi Arabia fan took a door off its hinges when he celebrated their second goal

Mbappe has the last laugh

Kyle Walker had his game face on ahead of one of the toughest assignments in world football right now, marking Kylian Mbappe.

‘We won’t roll out the red carpet for him,’ was the message in the build-up to England’s quarter-final against France.

Kylian Mbappe (pictured) offered Kyle Walker a handshake before their World Cup quarterfinal

Kylian Mbappe (pictured) offered Kyle Walker a handshake before their World Cup quarterfinal

Mbappe has always been pretty complimentary about how difficult Walker makes life for him on the pitch but, nonetheless, the Frenchman must have been feeling gracious as TV cameras in the tunnel caught him extending his hand before the sides walked out. 

Walker acknowledged the outstretched hand before blanking him and turning his head forward again to focus on the game.  

Mbappe gave an awkward smile noting the rejection but it was ultimately he who would have the last laugh with France through. 

Walker (right) acknowledged the handshake offering but hilariously blanked the Frenchman

Walker (right) acknowledged the handshake offering but hilariously blanked the Frenchman





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