Lady Luck plays a small but significant role in a World Cup that runs over a month.
Performance is of course the most important factor that brings the trophy. But then again, there are small things that at times draw the thin line between winners and losers on some days. The god of small things is Lady Luck, which may swing this way or the other in any of the seven matches, on any of the seven days that a team turns up to lift the coveted cup.
The best of teams may not win a World Cup if they are not a little bit lucky from tournament's first fixture to the final.
A deflected goal. Ball hitting the post and staying out. A player's slip-up at a crucial moment. A key player sidelined for unnecessary bookings. A misdirected spot kick from the unlikeliest footballer. A wrong pass to the opponent inside the box. A player not in the right place at the right time.
This World Cup in Russia has been witness to all these small things in one match or the other. At least one or two of the favourites -- Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain or Portugal -- that went home early would have played in the final had they been a little lucky.
Remember the curling free-kick of Messi that barely touched the fingers of the France goalkeeper to stay out, the deflected own goal of Brazil's Fernandinho, the injury of Edinson Cavani in Uruguay's match against France or the perfect dummy of Romelu Lukaku in the last minute that edged Japan out.
However, it's not because of luck alone that France and Croatia moved to the final out of the 32 teams in the tournament. Both teams are gifted with depth and talent. Rival coaches have also showed good tactics as well.
If France and Croatia fail to write their fate, the god of small things will for sure.
The writer is former sports editor of The Daily Star