We take a light-hearted look at the World Cup group stages

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The World Cup group stages are almost over. A tremendous fortnight of action has provided plenty of shocks, surprises and unlikely heroes.

But it’s not all serious. There’ve been some funny and light-hearted moments too. Not least all 32 teams – including Panama – bagging a goal during the first round of the tournament.

That brought a rosy smile to the Ladbrokes News crew. As did all of these…

Tite goes tumbling

Brazil’s last-gasp winner against Costa Rica a week ago provided a scene we all like to see – a manager going flying.

Philippe Coutinho’s injury-time strike brought the house down in South America and on the bench as Tite went for a tumble amidst the celebrations.

He joins an illustrious list including Steve Evans, Jurgen Klopp and Stuart McCall (ok, that one wasn’t on the touchline) to hit the deck in jubilation.

Messi’s red ribbon

Lionel Messi didn’t have a great time of things against Croatia in the second group game. The Barcelona ace went missing as Argentina crashed to a humiliating 3-0 defeat.

So could a lucky red ribbon given to him from a journalist’s mother have anything to do with his and Argentina’s upturn in form?

Well, probably not. But it’s a heart-warming story all the same. Watch the tweet below to find out exactly what happened when the pair reconvened after Argentina’s victory over Nigeria.

Iran throw-in

It’s the World Cup. The clock reads 93 minutes. You’ve got a throw-in in the opposition half and your team needs a goal to rescue a dramatic last-gasp point against Spain.

What do you do? If you’re Iran’s Milad Mohammadi, then the answer is to an attempt a Sunday League style acrobatic throw, of course.

Unfortunately for the 24-year-old winger, it didn’t work. Not least because he failed to release the ball after his first flip.

Cue an embarrassed second run up and throw which, inevitably, came to nothing.

Panama try and catch England cold

There’s been a plenty of fuss surrounding the laws of the game at this World Cup.

What constitutes a penalty? Is VAR being used correctly? When is a handball really a handball?

But Panama brought one of FIFA’s more unknown rules into the limelight after Harry Kane tucked home England’s sixth in Nizhny Novgorod.

The Panamanians picked the ball out of the net, ran to the centre circle and kicked off with Kane and co. still celebrating in an attempt to steal a goal.

Unfortunately for the debutants, it didn’t work, with the referee calling a halt to the play. Better luck next time, lads.

Mexico-Korean relations at an all-time high

International cooperation has been at the forefront of the news recently.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un put aside their differences in a historic meeting in Singapore and Brexit remains the talk of the town in the UK.

So hats off to Mexico and South Korea for forming an unlikely alliance in the wake of Germany’s World Cup exit.

Son Heung-min and co. sparked wild celebration outside the Korean embassy to Mexico with their victory over the Germans.

Don’t just take our word for it. Just watch the Korean consul general celebrating below.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket and horse racing.