Some crazy things have happened at the World Cup, the biggest sporting tournament in the world. We take a look back at some of the most incredible moments in World Cup history. What do you make of our selections?
10. Gordon Banks’ ‘Save Of The Century’ From Pelé, 1970 – The Most Incredible Moments In World Cup History
In the group stages of the 1970 World Cup, the holders England played eventual winners Brazil in a match which saw keeper Gordon Banks pull off an incredible save from Pelé. The Brazilian legend’s downward header appeared destined for the back of the net until Banks, diving away to his right, produced a save of miraculous proportions.
No save has ever been as celebrated in England, and Banks’ dive is regularly referred to as the ‘save of the century’. England lost the match 1-0.
9. Liverpool’s Michael Owen stuns the world – Goal v Argentina 1998
In the 16th minute, he collected a David Beckham pass from midfield, still in the centre circle. His first touch with the outside of his boot was sublime, moving him away from Jose Chamot. His speed couldn’t be matched by the defender, but he also managed to stay strong despite physical pressure from Chamot.
First task navigated, he then faced Ayala in a one-on-one situation. Owen pushed the ball past him and darted beyond him in one swift movement, completely taking him out of the game. Now in the penalty area, and with Carlos Roa narrowing the angle, he still had to finish – and did so, striking the ball high and across the goalkeeper, into the top right-hand corner.
It was the goal to put England ahead, but also the goal that made the world take note. Ayala and Chamot were two of Serie A’s finest defenders and Owen had taken them apart.
8. Lampard Disallowed Goal – The Most Incredible Moments In World Cup History
English midfielder Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal in their 4-1 loss against Germany in the Last 16 of the World Cup 2010 when he hit the crossbar and clearly went over the line.
The Uruguayian referee and linesman failed to see anything and the game to continue a minute after Matthew Upson scored a header to give a 2-1 scoreline. In the end, Germany won 4-1 England and went through to the quarter-final at the Free State Stadium.
7. Cameroon beat champions Argentina, 1990 – The Most Incredible Moments In World Cup History
Prior to the 1990 World Cup no African team had ever advanced past the first round, and Cameroon had never won a game at the World Cup.
Cameroon ended this game 1-0 up with nine men after somehow managing to keep the defending champions Argentina at bay thereby producing one of the biggest shocks in the history of the World Cup.
The Argentineans were on the wrong end of some harsh treatment dished out by the Cameroon players, one of the standout moments being Claudio Caniggia gracefully skinning multiple players before being scythed down hard by Benjamin Massing.
6. Marco Tardelli’s goal celebration in the final, 1982 – The Most Incredible Moments In World Cup History
There are few nations on Earth that rival the passion for the world game that the Italians possess. If you need only one reminder of how football can stir the emotions Marco Tardelli’s celebration after putting his side 2-0 up in the World Cup final against West Germany reminds us that for some Football is more than a game.
Italian midfielder Marco Tardelli knowing that his goal would likely see Italy lift the World Cup trophy 44 years after their last triumph, went on a goal celebration unlike any other. Running towards the bench, he became completely overwhelmed – screaming and crying as he thanked the heavens for his goal.
And for once, the Germans’ luck was up: they lost 3-1 and Italy became World Champions.
5. Roberto Baggio 1994 Penalty In The World Cup Final – The Most Incredible Moments In World Cup History
In one of the most heartbreaking moments in World Cup history came down to the final kick of the 1994 World Cup final.
Roberto Baggio the ‘Divine Ponytail’, the Italian magician. At the time the deadliest striker in world football. Admired by everyone who watched football around the globe. Roberto stepped up to take the last penalty kick needing to score to keep Italy in with a chance of lifting the World Cup trophy.
With the weight of a nation on his shoulders, Baggio sent the ball sailing over the top left hand corner of the goal. A swing of his foot that likely still keeps him up at night.
4. Zidane See’s Red 2006 World Cup Final – The Most Incredible Moments In World Cup History
In one of the most shocking and controversial moments in football history Zinedine Zidane allegedly offended by something that Italian defender Marco Materazzi had said turns to face his opponent and violently headbutts Materazzi during extra time of the 2006 World Cup Final.
It was “Zizou’s” last international match, having announced his retirement, one of the most freakishly talented footballers of all time went out in bizarre fashion. Zidane walked solemnly off the field past the Jules Rimet Trophy knowing that he would never have another chance to possess it. France went on to lose 5-3 in penalty shootout.
3. 200,000 Watch Uruguay Beat Brazil, 1950
In a time when football wasn’t just a matter of life and death, it was much more important than that. Arguably two of the most passionate footballing nations on Earth locked horns. The format back in 1950 was slightly different with the winners of the four groups going into another group stage to decide the winner.
Going into the match, Brazil only needed to draw to win the World Cup after demolishing Sweden and Spain 7-1, and 6-1 respectively. They were confident of victory with many local newspapers (the tournament was held in Brazil), printing their victory early. But Uruguay had other ideas.
In front of a record crowd of nearly 200,000 in the Estadio do Maracana, Brazil went one-nil up after a goal from Friaca just after half-time. Uruguay responded by coming from behind with two goals in the last 25 minutes from Juan Alberto Schiaffino, and Alcides Ghiggia.
Pele who was 10 years old at the time was watching the game with his father, the result brought Pele’s father Dondinho to tears. So moved by his father’s display of emotion Pele vowed he would bring the World Cup trophy back to Brazil. He would then win three of the next five World Cups, becoming the greatest player in history in the process.
2. Pele’s Spectacular Debut: Sweden 1958 – The Most Incredible Moments In World Cup History
At the onset of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, the international soccer world had no idea that a legend was about to emerge.
His name was Pele and at the time was an unknown 17-year old from Brazil’s infamous slums. After sitting out the early games due to a knee injury, Pele finally saw action against the Soviet Union. His presence on the field only escalated from there. Pele scored the game winning goal in the quarterfinal contest against Wales and a hat trick in the semi-final against France.
As the youngest player to appear in the World Cup, Pele scored a fifth goal in Brazil’s championship victory against host Sweden and would go on to become the most famous soccer player of all time.
1. Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ Goal & ‘Best World Cup Goal’ In The Same Match!, 1986
In this encounter between Argentina and England, a poor interception played the ball enticingly up into the air between England keeper Peter Shilton and the Argentinian genius Maradona.
Maradona got to the ball first, and used his hand – rather than his head – to punch the ball into the net. Despite the protestations of the England players, the referee had not seen the incident and the goal stood. It became known as the ‘Hand of God.”
Maradona then went on to score his wonder goal (see below), and Argentina went all the way to win the final against West Germany. Not long after the infamous diminutive Argentinian had punched his side in front with his ‘Hand of God’ goal, Maradona then went on to score one of the greatest goals ever seen on the world stage. Picking the ball up in his own half, Maradona beat every player that stood in his way before slotting it past the helpless Peter Shilton. Simply brilliant.
BONUS David Beckham Singlehandedly Takes England To The World Cup
After a lacklustre qualifying campaign, England were facing the possibility of not even qualifying for the World Cup. The date was October 6, 2001 and England needed at least a draw in their final qualifying clash against Greece in order to qualify for the World Cup. Despite throwing everything at Greece they found themselves 2-1 down and facing certain elimination.
Until the 93rd minute. The final kick. The final chance. With only seconds remaining.
Up steps captain Beckham. It was do or die. The pressure was crushing. The rest they say is history as Beckham curled the ball into the top left hand corner the whole of England exploded with joy and relief.