FIFA World Cup is arguably one of the two most significant events in the sporting calendar, alongside the Olympics. The World Cup has been witness to several thrilling, exhilarating, and heart-wrenching matches, be it Brazil’s record-breaking haul of 5 titles, or Germany’s 7-1 drubbing of favorites and hosts, Brazil, among so many others. However, some have stood the test of time to be relevant even today. Today, we take a look at the Top 5 Most Talked About Matches in the World Cup history:
Starting off our list at Number 5 is a throwback from one of the first World Cup’s in 1954 at the finals against West Germany and Hungary. This one was a classic David-Goliath match, with Hungary defeating their counterpart 8-3 in the group stages. The domination continued with Hungary leading 2-0 in the 8 minutes. The minnows West Germany refused to give in this time around and reversed the score-line to 3-2 to forge an unforgettable World Cup match.
Coming in at Number 4 is Uruguay vs. Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, infamous for another hand-ball. Luis Suarez’s handball denied Ghana from becoming the only African team to progress to the quarters in the first World Cup on the African continent. Suarez denied a late header on the goal line, and the subsequent penalty by Asamoah Gyan was denied. The match went on to penalties, where Uruguay knocked out Ghana, making it one of the most controversial games.
On Number 3, we have the match between England and Argentina at the 1986 FIFA World Cup. This match was the origin of the term “Hand of God” when Diego Maradona infamously handled the ball to push it past the English goal-line and knocked them out of the Quarters. Argentina went on to win 2-1, and Maradona later remarked, “a little with his head and a little with the hand of God.”
Number 2 on the list of most talked about FIFA World Cup matches is the 1970 Semi-Finals between Italy and West Germany. This was touted as the best World Cup match there ever was by pundits and experts alike. Italy and West Germany were at the peak of its’ football prowess of that era. They concluded with a mouth-watering score-line of 4-3, with 5 of them coming in Extra Time. Italy took an early lead before Germany equalized in the last minutes of regulation time. What followed was a goal fest with a double in ET from West German Icon, Gerd Muller, but it wasn’t enough to halt the gritty Italians. With the match level at 3-3, Italian legend, Rivera scored to put his team through to the finals against the mighty Brazilians.
Taking the Pole Position on our list would be a fresh memory for a lot of us football fans – the Italy vs. France 2006 World Cup Finals, which provided a thrilling finale to one of the most competitive World Cup of the 2000’s era. French and Real Madrid Legend, Zinedine Zidane, gave France an excellent start to the game in his farewell match with a chipped penalty in the 6th minute. Italy managed to drag the French lead back with a Marco Materazzi header. Extra time was witness to a moment of madness when Zidane lay a headbutt straight into Materazzi’s chest. Zidane was sent off immediately, and people would talk about that moment to this day. Many revelations have been made by both parties since, but it was too big a blow for France to take on the night. They went on to lose 5-3 in the Penalty Shootout (1-1).