The FIFA World Cup marks the collision of the top teams from across the World. Wearing national colors, players give it their all to claim the biggest prize available in the footballing World. This scenario has led to some classic encounters that remain etched in our memories. We take a look at 10 unforgettable World Cup games.
10. Brazil 1 – 2 Uruguay, 1950 World Cup
The 1950 World Cup was the first one after the 2nd World War and was hosted by Brazil. The winners of the four groups would play round-robin again to decide the winner.
Brazil had one eye on the trophy with 7-1 and 6-1 wins against Spain and France respectively. A draw against Uruguay at the Maracana would suffice, but Brazil fell to a 2-1 defeat in front of 200 thousands Brazilians.
9. England 4 – 2 West Germany, 1966 FIFA World Cup
The most controversial World Cup game of all time. However, an interesting game nonetheless as England, led by Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore, won their first World Cup at the expense of West Germany.
The game was tied 2-2 after regulation time and Geoff Hurst’s shot in extra time popped off the crossbar and came out, only for the linesman to declare it a goal. England scored one more to settle nerves and ultimately claim a 4-2 win.
8. Brazil 1 – 0 England, 1970 FIFA World Cup
Defending champions England faced Brazil in the 1970 World Cup, a game that will be remembered for the heroics of English defenders.
Brazil were dominating world football at the time, with the likes of Pelé, Jairzinho, Riverino and Carlos Alberto in their ranks.
However, a wonderful save from English shotstopper Gordon Banks and great defending from England defenders meant Brazil managed to score just one, courtesy Jairzinho to scrape past England with a 1-0 victory.
7. Italy 4 – 3 West Germany, 1970 FIFA World Cup
Roberto Boninsegna’s 8th minute goal seemed to have settled the game in the Italians’ favor, only for Karl-Heinz Schnellinger to equalize at the stroke of full time.
The match went to extra time as Franz Bekenbeuer played with a dislocated shoulder to oversee the West Germans go down 4-3 to a spirited Italy in extra time.
6. Italy 3 – 2 Brazil, 1982 FIFA World Cup
Paolo Rossi’s hat trick in this Group C encounter between Italy and Brazil stands out as one of the most outstanding performances from a striker as he single-handed outdid the mighty Brazilian team comprising of Zico and Sócrates.
Italy played on the counter as Brazil pulled off attack after attack on the Azzurri. Italy went on to win the World Cup after the confidence they gained from this game.
5. West Germany 3 – 3 (5 – 4) France, 1982 FIFA World Cup
Sevilla hosted a goal fest of a semifinal between France and West Germany as the game ended tied 3-3 after extra time. Platini scored twice for the French while Germany rallied from behind to draw 3-3.
Penalties ensued and the Germans made sure they had their sights on the trophy with a 5-4 penalty win. The eventually lost out to Italy in the Final.
4. England 1 – 2 Argentina, 1986 World Cup
The Hand of God game. This was also the game where Maradona scored the Goal of the Century, picking up the ball from the halfway line, dribbling past six English defenders and slotting it past Peter Shilton.
The Hand of God goal came four minutes earlier and denied the English any chance despite Gary Lineker’s strike in the 81st minute.
3. Spain 0 – 0 (3 – 5) South Korea, 2002 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal
Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty after Suarez’s handed clearance from the goalline will divide opinions forever, but this one of the best matches ever played.
Uruguay fell behind after Sulley Muntari scored a long-ranger, but Diego Forlan equalized. Gyan missed a penalty and Uruguay prevailed in the shootout to knock the African gaints out of the World Cup.
2. Netherlands 5 – 1 Spain, 2014 FIFA World Cup
Spain had defeated Netherlands in the Final of the 2010 World Cup. When they met in a group encounter in the 2014 edition in Brazil, it was only poetic justice that Netherlands prevail.
They did so and in style with a flying headed goal from Robin van Persie starting the slide. Netherlands smashed 5 past Casillas and World Champions Spain as Xabi Alonso scored the consolation goal for Spain.
1. France 1 – 1 (3 – 1) Italy, 2006 FIFA World Cup
The Final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup saw the likes of Zidane, Henry, Pires and Viera cross swords with Italian stalwarts like Pirlo, Zambrotta, Materrazi and Canavarro.
The final was a classic occasion, with Zidane’s headbutt the key feature in an otherwise dull footballing occasion. Zidane was sent off, the match went to penalties and Italy prevailed. The Azzurri were champions of the World again.