Where to watch the World Cup: The football village at DoubleTree by Hilton JBR

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Wild: The World Cup fans

The World Cup is picking up pace with the round of 16 games well underway and we’ve already seen plenty of surprises with Portugal and Argentina being sent packing in the knockout stages, not to mention holders Germany being dumped out of the group stage.

The VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system has been helping officials dish out a record number of penalties in the tournament, and Japan became the first nation to qualify for the next stage of the competition via the FIFA fair play rule.

The competition has been a huge success for venues in Dubai with various fan zones being packed with football fans across the emirate. As the tournament heats up, you can cool down watching the action in the infinity pool at the Hilton Doubletree JBR.

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The football village not only has a giant screen by the pool it also has sun loungers, drinks stations and football-themed entertainment to enjoy when before the games kick off. There are fussball tables, table tennis, giant footballs and a World Cup score predictor where you can win a prize for correctly guessing the results.

This is one of the livelier fan zones in Dubai, speakers blast music before, during and after the game, to keep the party vibe going long after the final whistle. Be warned if you’re watching the game in the pool, water flies everywhere when there’s a goal scored, which is great if you’re in a party mood but not so good if you’re looking to relax in the pool during the action. There are also floodlit football pitches for those who can’t get enough of the Beautiful Game and fancy a kick around.

Special food and beverage deals await you with food from the countries in action on offer as well as burgers, nachos, flatbreads and more. Don’t worry about the heat and remain completely cool in the air-cooled garden, or step into the indoor option. Wondering where to go after the games? Don’t go far as the venue brings you some of the best DJs every night for post-match parties until 1am.

What: Football Village @ DoubleTree JBR
Where:
DoubleTree by Hilton, JBR
When: Until 15th July
Contact: 055 166 8092 or [email protected]

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Belgium’s Nacer Chadli scores in stoppage time to earn the Hublot World Cup Moment of the Day

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Comeback kings: Belgium make it through

Japanese hearts were broken by an injury-time winner as Belgium came from 0-2 down to snatch victory in the round of 16.

Nacer Chadli rose from the substitutes’ bench to complete Belgium‘s comeback from 2-0 down in the dying embers of injury time and enter World Cup 2018’s quarter-finals with an epic 3-2 win.

The Samurai Blue emerged from a goalless first half to be two-goals ahead by 52 minutes through Genki Haraguchi’s breakaway and the outstanding Takashi Inui’s piledriver. A first entry into the last eight seemed set from that point.

But Roberto Martinez’s hotly tipped side weren’t done. Headers from Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini levelled things up by 74 minutes at Rostov Arena, before Chadli swept in a 94th-minute counter-attack to become the first nation since West Germany in 1970 to comeback from 2-0 behind in the World Cup’s knockouts.

A great World Cup upset was avoided from the moment Martinez ditched his purist principles on 65 minutes, utilising a power play through replacements Fellaini and Chadli.

The key takeaway for Belgium will be the indefatigable spirit on show. Rumours of splits in the camp between Flemish and French speakers, plus an explosive mixture of egos, have bedevilled this ‘Golden Generation’.

Selflessness, exhibited most by striker Romelu Lukaku, is a positive takeaway from a disquieting night.

Belgium will now play favourites Brazil in the next stage.

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Hosts Russia beating Spain on penalties is the Hublot World Cup Moment of the Day

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Still going: Russia shock the world with victory

Hosts Russia beating Spain on penalties to secure their place in the quarter-finals is the Hublot World Cup Moment of the Day

The tournament in Russia is throwing up all sorts of surprises and none bigger than the unfancied host nation knocking out tournament favourites Spain.

Fernando Hierro’s chance of joining the ranks of the great and successful interim bosses went up in smoke on Sunday as his heavily favoured Spain side crashed out on penalties to World Cup hosts Russia in the round of 16.

Spain dominated the game but were held to a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes and extra time, with the temporary head coach left devastated as he failed to deliver the expected win

In dropping Iniesta, Hierro made a slight tweak to Spain’s usual 4-3-3 formation. Marco Asensio’s inclusion made Spain’s set-up more a nominal 4-2-3-1 on the day. In theory, this should have meant more naturally attacking players for Spain’s midfield to pass to. It didn’t quite work that way. If anything, this was a game crying out for someone like Cesc Fabregas or Juan Mata, and there was nothing Hierro could have done about their absence.

Again, all people will remember is the call to drop Iniesta. It takes serious guts to make a call like that, right or wrong. What will go against Hierro is that he made the decision and then Spain lost, which means it’s all anyone will talk about. And given that the man Hierro entrusted to replace Iniesta, Asensio, had little impact on the game, minus serving up the free-kick for Sergei Ignashevich’s own goal, critics will wonder what purpose the decision served.

Russia now progress to the quarter-finals where they’ll meet Croatia, who squeaked passed Denmark on penalties.

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