11 MEMORABLE WORLD CUP MOMENTS
The World Cup has already begun and despite the first round always being kind of boring compared to the knockout matches that follow later in the tournament, the excitement of every true football fan around the world can’t be described better than in these three magical words: pizza-beer-couch.
Other than pigging out being the master plan for this World Cup as for any other, there are many memories of fantastic moments from previous World Cups and we are showcasing eleven of these unforgettable moments because it’s a Thursday and that means we have a top 11 list to share. So sit tight and enjoy the journey back in time.
11. THE CRUYFF TURN
1974 World Cup
The Cruyff Turn is a “magic” football move that was perfected by the original “Flying Dutchman” and named after him of course, Johan Cruyff.
The world witnessed this awesome trick for the first time in the 1974 World Cup in Germany, in the match between the Netherlands and Sweden, where Johan Cruyff outwitted Swedish defender Jan Olsson. The move was soon widely copied by other players around the world and is considered to date one of the most popular dribbles in modern football. Johan Cruyff is widely considered the greatest footballer who never won the World Cup even though he came close in 1974, losing it in the final against West Germany of another legend, Franz Beckenbauer.
10. ZINEDINE ZIDANE’S HEADBUTT
2006 World Cup
Zinedine Zidane is considered by many fans to be the second greatest player in history, behind only the mighty Maradona. He became the first Frenchman to lead France to a World Cup triumph in 1998 and then only eight years later managed to take the mediocre team of France (which wouldn’t even have made it to the second round without him just like in 2002 World Cup) and lead them almost to victory again.
In a dramatic final Zidane made sure to leave his mark; he first scored in an amazing and masterful execution of a penalty shot and later, during extra time he headbutted Italy’s Marco Materazzi after they exchanged some nasty words. This cost him a red card and most important, he left France with ten players on the field and without his guidance they lost the trophy in the penalties.
9. ROBBERY OF THE CENTURY
1966 World Cup
No matter how many times one sees the so-called most controversial moment in the history of the World Cup finals, he will fail to see how the Soviet linesman couldn’t see the obvious. Modern studies using film analysis and computer simulation have clearly showed that the ball never crossed the line and thus Germany was robbed of what could have been its second victory at the time (and fourth overall). Despite England’s third goal from that game remaining controversial for many years after, the laws of football are pretty clear and as we all know a goal is legit only when “the whole of the ball passes over the goal line."
On a positive note, the only good thing to come from that final is that Geoff Hurst's hat-trick remains the only one ever scored in a World Cup final even though England needed the referees’ help to win the only major trophy in their history. Let’s be honest, it’s quite pathetic for the country that invented the sport, isn’t it now?
8. ROBERTO BAGGIO’S LOST PENALTY
1994 World Cup
The average fan will always remember Roberto Baggio as the man who lost the most famous penalty in football history, despite him being the absolute leader of Italy’s team back in that tournament and probably the greatest footballer from that era. Unfortunately, in sports there’s no justice and Baggio was meant to be the man who would lose it all for Italy, even though he was the one the Italians should thank for getting them to that final. What followed remains an all-time classic moment with Baggio busting out crying and the Brazilians winning the World Cup they probably deserved the least.
7. GORDON BANKS’S EPIC SAVE AGAINST PELE
1970 World Cup
The old timers consider this the greatest save a goalie ever made and despite the obvious exaggeration (old-school fans of every sport tend to exaggerate whatever happened during their youth), watching this particular save on YouTube can make a believer out of even the harshest critic and doubter as well. Well, we’re not saying it’s the greatest save in history, but one of the greatest without a doubt since Gordon Banks literally flew like a bird to save what looked like a sure goal.
6. HAND OF GOD
1986 World Cup
Argentina played against England on June 22, in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and this match was a historic event before it even happened because the two countries had a few issues to resolve seeing as the game was held four years after the Falklands War and the Argentines were looking for vengeance. Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal might be the most disgraceful in the history of football but for some reasons in my eyes it felt right and the Queen’s team deserved what they got.
5. SPANIARDS ARE NOT LOSERS ANYMORE
2010 World Cup
Once upon a time there was a national team that was losing badly. They were losing so bad that the whole football community used to call them losers. No, we’re not talking about England but Spain. I know that this probably sounds really weird and strange to the new football fans who might read this article but trust us—Spain used to be the kind of team that always showed up as some of the biggest favorites to win the World Cup (especially during the ’90s and early ‘00s) but they chocked so bad during knockout matches that it was painful for every Spanish fan to watch.
All this, however, changed during the last few years and Spain finally won the 2010 World Cup and the EURO Cups of 2008 and 2012, becoming the first team in history winning three consecutive major trophies. Losers, you say? Not anymore!
4. THE GERMANS MAKE A COME BACK
1954 World Cup
The story that is widely known as “Miracle of Bern” is one of the most epic in history. Almost a decade after Germany lost WWII, the whole planet still hated them with a passion and no one wanted them to win. The fact that they played against the best team in the world at the moment, Hungary, made things even worse for Nationalmannschaft. Hungary, with the legendary Ferenc Puskás, was the absolute favorite to win the 1954 World Cup. In the five years prior to the World Cup they had remained unbeaten in 32 games and were the reigning Olympic champs.
During the tournament Hungary and West Germany met in the group stage, with Hungary destroying Germany 8–3 but the final was a totally different game. The score was 2–2 in the first 18 minutes with both teams missing several promising chances to take the lead. With six minutes left, German striker Helmut Rahn scored Germany's third goal, which gave them the title in what is the most dramatic final of all time according to most experts.
The impact of Germany’s victory was huge for the Germans who felt pride and joy for the first time as a nation after the humiliating loss they had suffered in the war, while the Hungarians openly accused the German players of doping, which was later enforced by a study conducted by Leipzig University, which pretty much stated that Nationalmannschaft’s players had been injected with methamphetamines with Vitamin C prior to the match.
3. ESCOBAR’S FATAL OWN GOAL
1994 World Cup
This is without a doubt the most tragic moment in World Cup history, and a good reminder about how sports should begin and end inside the sporting arena and have no consequences in real life. As all true football fans know, Escobar was shot to death in Medellín, Colombia, and most people assumed (rightfully, in our opinion) that his death was a result to his own goal in the 1994 World Cup against the United States two weeks earlier, which supposedly had caused gambling losses for several powerful Colombian drug lords at the time.
Ironically, Escobar’s motto after losses was "Life doesn’t end here."
2. URUGUAY DESTROYS BRAZIL . . . LITERALLY
1950 World Cup
Brazil hosted the World Cup for the first time in 1950 and the crowd was ready to celebrate their first triumph in history, but Uruguay had different plans. In the decisive match of the final group stage, which was played at Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro in front of almost 200,000 Brazilians, Uruguay beat them 2–1 despite Brazil taking the lead shortly after halftime. The result was considered the biggest football upset in history at the time and it was reported that some Brazilian fans committed suicide afterward.
Ironically, a Brazilian song entitled "Brasil os vencedores" (Brazil The Victors) was composed a few days before the final and was supposed to be played in anticipation of a Brazilian victory. Naturally, the song was never performed. Maybe they will finally play it this year, 64 years later?
1. GOAL OF THE CENTURY
1986 World Cup
What’s there to say about the greatest footballer of all-time scoring the greatest goal in World Cup history? The very best moment in World Cup history, ladies and gentlemen, was literally poetry in motion and since we can’t describe what truly can’t be painted in words we’ll let you enjoy it with your own eyes while listening to Víctor Hugo Morales’ epic commentary.