This World Cup has been fantastic. Well, unless you’re German. Or Argentinian. Or Brazilian. Or Dutch. Or Italian. Sorry, this World Cup has been fantastic from a neutral point of view.
Shocks, upsets, last minute goals, penalty shoot-outs, VAR, long-range thunderbolts, own goals and goalkeeping howlers. It’s had a bit of everything. But another reason Russia 2018 has been so good is down to the supporters.
From the Japanese cleaning up after themselves to these eccentric Senegalese fans, the World Cup is the ‘People’s Tournament’, and here we celebrate that.
Taken into account in this seven are the number of supporters who travelled, the atmosphere and noise they created and the overall mark they left on the competition.
Here are our 7 best sets of fans at the 2018 World Cup
Brazilian supporters always travel to World Cups in their droves, and 2018 was no exception. The South American giants had the third highest ticket sales of any nation for the finals, trailing only the hosts Russia and the United States. The Brazilian supporters brought colour, volume and their effervescent love of the game to Russia, four years on from hosting the tournament themselves. Unfortunately for Brazil, their team weren’t quite as impressive as their supporters, and they were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Iran fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Iran and Portugal at Mordovia Arena on June 25, 2018 in Saransk, Russia.
Iranians are incredibly passionate about football. It came as no surprise to us, then, that Iran enjoyed tremendous support at only their fifth World Cup finals. Much like in 2014, Iran battled hard and were tough to beat, but were ultimately knocked out in the group stages. There were a large number of female Iranian fans at the tournament, taking advantage of the fact that they are allowed to watch live football in Russia - a luxury they are not afforded back home in Iran. That is a law Iranian women are currently fighting to overturn, and we - like all decent people - fully support them in their efforts.
Mexicans love football as much as anyone, and their raw passion and support for their team could be seen and heard in Russia. Whilst their fans back home were supposedly causing earthquakes, those travelling Mexicans ranked sixth in terms of national ticket sales for the finals, and they weren’t just there to make up the numbers. From pranks on stewards to their new-found relationship with South Korea after the Koreans knocked Germany out of the World Cup, Mexico were good fun in Russia and deserve their place here.
Supporters of the Icelandic national football team react as they watch on a giant screen the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Iceland and Croatia on June 26, 2018 at...
Like Iran, Iceland didn’t have the most enormous following in Russia (their entire population is just over 300,000 after all), but they certainly score highly in terms of making a lasting impression. Iceland have been football’s fairytale story over recent years, from knocking England out of Euro 2016, finishing above Croatia to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and drawing with Argentina at the tournament proper, they’ve almost become everyone’s second team. Icelandic fans share a rare bond with their players in the modern game, and they back them vocally, most notably with their iconic Viking clap.
Argentina’s fans were noisy and impressive in Russia, whilst their team itself was deeply unimpressive and went out with a whimper. They took over 50,000 fans to the finals, and it sounded more like double that. In every game they played, the Argentinians comfortably outsung their opponents - just as they did on every train, plane, bus and hotel they stayed in. The players they were cheering on narrowly squeaked through the group stages, before being beaten reasonably comfortably by France.
TOPSHOT - Colombia supporters pose on the Red Square in Moscow on July 3, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Colombia and England held at the city'...
I took some serious flack from some Colombians recently following our video on the seven dirtiest teams at the 2018 World Cup, so maybe this is redemption time. Whilst their players were unsavoury at times, their support was unquestionable. Only Russia, the USA and Brazil sold more tickets for the finals than Colombia, and it showed. They vastly outnumbered their oppositions fans in every game - and outsung them too. They gave their team enormous support, but were also an incredibly friendly and affable bunch for the most part too.
The group stages may seem like a while ago now, but if you can cast your mind back a week or two, you’ll know Peru are the right choice to top this seven. At their first World Cup since 1982, the Peruvians were keen to make the most of it. They sold more tickets than the English, Australians and French, and their presence could certainly be felt. No teams fans created more of a carnival atmosphere than Peru, whose team played a similarly vibrant and exciting brand of football, winning the hearts of million but sadly not enough points to emerge from the group stages.