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)

Some of the Greatest Moments in World Cup History
Some of the Greatest Moments in World Cup History

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

Some of the Greatest Moments in World Cup History
Some of the Greatest Moments in World Cup History

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

Some of the Greatest Moments in World Cup History
Some of the Greatest Moments in World Cup History

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.

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