Greatest Moments in World Cup History
As the 2014 FIFA World Cup season rages on, let’s take a look at some of the greatest moments in the history of the World Cup.
Some of the Greatest Moments in World Cup History
6. Brazil v Italy (1982)
The 1982 World Cup used a unique format with two group stages and a knockout semi-final round. Goals had been at a premium for the Italians since they had only scored four goals in their first four games, while the Brazilians had a superior goal difference and they only needed a draw to progress.
Italy’s Paolo Rossi scored twice, which was equalized by Brazil’s Socrates and Falcao – but Rossi was not done. In the 75th minute, Junior failed to clear the Italian corner, which Rossi took advantage of and netted his third goal of the game. The 36th World Cup hat-trick forced Brazil to make an early exit. Italy advanced to the next stage and went on to win their third World Cup, with Rossi winning the most valuable player and highest goal scorer awards.
The game between Brazil and Italy is considered as one of the greatest in World Cup history. To the Brazilian press, it is known as the “Sarrià Stadium Tragedy”.
5. Roberto Carlos v Thierry Henry (2006)
Brazil won the last 2002 World Cup and were favored to win this one too. The best Brazilian left-back at the time, Roberto Carlos, was obviously expected to mark the best French striker at the time, Thierry Henry, on a free-kick. However, the Brazilian was not happy with the condition of his shoelace and decided to fix that. The free-kick came, Thierry Henry ran unmarked and netted a goal that led to Brazil’s defeat.
4. Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal
Anyone can score a goal with their head. After all, have you ever seen a footballer who is “good in the air”? But to score a goal with your hand? Now, that is something truly impressive. There was so much to enjoy about Diego Maradona’s Hand of God goal against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup.
In the 51st minute of the game between Argentina and England, the score was 0-0. Argentina’s Jorge Valdano had the ball out wide that looked like it had missed its target, until England’s Steve Hodge tried to rescue the situation and ended up screwing the ball into England’s penalty box where 5’5″ Maradona and England’s 6’1″ goalkeeper Peter Shilton flew into the air to reach the ball. Naturally, the goalkeeper with his height and hands could have snatched the ball, but Maradona’s left hand went up and punched the ball into the net. The referee Ali Bin Nasser? More like, Ali Bin Blinded as he didn’t even spot the offence and the goal was given. Maradona later told reporters about the goal, “A little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.”
3. Zidane’s headbutt
The 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy was stuck at a 1-1 draw for quite some time. An attempt was made into the Italian box, but it came to nothing. France’s Zinedine Zidane was going back to his own half with Italy’s Marco Materazzi just behind him, when Zidane suddenly stopped and did something unthinkable: he pounded his head into the Italian’s chest! The referee Horacio Elizondo didn’t see what transpired but, after consulting with the fourth official, showed Zidane a red card. It was later claimed that the Italian insulted Zidane’s sister before he snapped.
The Italians went on to win the game in the penalty shootout, but it was Zidane’s headbutt that was immortalized and remembered by everyone. He was even given a statue for that, although he was never given one for his victory in the 1998 World Cup.
2. Ronaldo wins the World Cup and the Golden Boot 4 years after his 1998 disappointment
In the 1998 World Cup, Ronaldo led Brazil to the finals with 4 goals and 3 assists. However, on the afternoon of the final, Ronaldo had a seizure in his room but was fine about 40 seconds later. He was sent to the hospital for a check-up, while the rest of the squad made their way to the stadium. When the Brazil team was announced, Edmundo was to replace Ronaldo. However, Ronaldo turned up minutes later, dazed and on sedatives, and insisted on playing. The Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo reinstated him, but Brazil lost to France 3-0.
In 2002, Ronaldo again led Brazil to the finals with 6 goals. In the finals against Germany, he scored 2 goals and led his team to the fifth World Cup championship. He also scored eight goals in the competition to win the Golden Boot award.
1. The Goal of the Century
Diego Maradona – the same man from the Greatest Moment #8 – is incredibly popular for his performance in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals against England. It isn’t just because of his Hand of God goal, but also because of the goal that came just minutes after his first one. It was his goals that led his team to the finals, which they eventually won. The Argentinian maestro’s second goal is hailed as the Goal of the Century since it is one of the greatest individual goals in the history of ever.
It all started when Argentina’s Héctor Enrique passed the ball to Maradona some ten meters inside his own half. Maradona’s head was constantly raised, looking for Jorge Valdano, but he was not able to find the room to pass so he simply powered on himself. He then began his 60-metre, 10-second dash towards the English goal, past four English outfield players: Peter Reid, Peter Beardsley, Terry Fenwick and Terry Butcher (twice). He then dribbled around the English goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, and sent the ball into the net, making the score 2-0 to Argentina.
Argentina went on to win the game 2-1, defeated Belgium 2-0 in the semi-finals, and finally beat West Germany 3-2 in the finals, successfully winning the World Cup.