The 15: World Cup Moments
Since the planet's greatest tournament kicked off in 1930, there have been 710 World Cup matches and thousands of players. Plenty of the games have been forgettable, while others will go down in history. … From upsets to hat tricks to the Hand of God, here's a look at 15 memorable World Cup moments -- in no particular order.
1. Now that's what I call a header
The 2006 World Cup was Zinedine Zidane's swan song, and it was looking like a storybook finish for the famed attacker. But, with the game tied 11 minutes into stoppage, Zidane -- one of the world's best penalty kickers -- was thrown out after head-butting Italy's Marco Materazzi to the ground following one too many "your mama" and "your sister" comments. The Azzurri won in, you guessed it, penalty kicks.
2. Hello world, my name is Pele
In 1958, Brazil traveled to Sweden with an unknown 17-year-old on the squad. They left with not only the youngest player ever to win the World Cup, but also a world-class star. Pele didn't play in the first three matches, but scored Brazil's only goal in a 1-0 quarterfinal win over Wales, notched a hat trick in the semis against France, and found the net two more times in the final against Sweden.
3. Maradona's Magic
Eventual 1986 World Cup victor Argentina beat England, 2-1, in the quarterfinals, using Diego Maradona's two most famous goals. The first, simply known as the "Hand of God," came after Maradona, unable to get his short frame high enough for the header, blatantly used his hand to hit the back of the net. Less than three minutes later, as if to prove he didn't need to cheat to score, Maradona dribbled past not one but six England players before netting what was voted in 2002 as the Goal of the Century.
4. Saeed Al-Owairan does best Maradona
Saudi Arabian Saeed Al-Owairan earned the nickname "The Maradona of Arabs" in 1994 after scoring a goal against Belgium resembling Maradona's "Goal of the Century" eight years earlier.
5. Yanks Slay Lions
The Americans handed the self-proclaimed inventors of football a shocking loss on the sport's biggest stage 60 years ago. Considered by many to be the low point of England's storied soccer history, the Yanks -- losers of their previous seven international matches -- scored in the 37th minute when a high school teacher (Walter Bahr) found a Haitian Columbia University student (Joe Gaetjens), whose diving header gave the U.S. its biggest win ever.
6. Just Fontaine's baker's dozen
France didn't even make the final match in 1958, but Just Fontaine made his mark in the history books. The player fans called "Monsieur Dynamite" scored an astounding 13 goals in just six matches.
7. Rossi's triumphant return
Considered by many to be one of the best matches in history, Italy and Brazil squared off in Barcelona for a chance to advance to the 1982 semifinals. Brazil, the unanimous favorite to win it all, needed just a draw to advance, but Italy's Paolo Rossi -- fresh off a two-year ban for match-fixing -- scored a hat trick to stun the extremely-talented Brazilians, 3-2.
8. South Korea plays part of poor host
Twenty years after shocking Brazil, the Azzurri found themselves on the wrong side of a historic upset in 2002. After leading most of the game, a 10-man Italy squad -- thanks to Francesco Totti's red card in the extra period -- was knocked out when Ahn Jung-Hwan headed in a golden goal to send the co-hosts to the semifinals.
9 . Pele Gets Number Three
What's that Pele guy doing on this list again? Well, he won his record third World Cup in 1970, scoring four goals in the tournament as the Brazilians put on a beautiful show in the first Cup televised in color. As defender Tarcisio Burgnich said of Pele after Italy fell to Brazil, 4-1, in the final, "I told myself before the game, he's made of skin and bones just like everyone else … but I was wrong."
10. Maxi-mum style for best goal
Voted the best goal of the 2006 World Cup, Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez scored the game-winning goal against Mexico in the Round of 16 -- and he did it in style. In the 89th minute, Rodriguez controlled a cross with his chest outside the penalty area and volleyed it into the top corner as Mexican defenders looked on in disbelief.
11. Hurst's hat trick overshadowed by controversy
Nearly 100,000 fans packed London's Wembley Stadium and more than 32 million viewers tuned in on the telly to see England beat West Germany, 4-2, in extra time to win in 1966. England scored a controversial go-ahead goal in extra time when Geoff Hurst's shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down (on the line?) and was ruled a goal. Then, in the final minute, Hurst netted his final tally for the hat trick as fans stormed the field.
12. Arie Haan digs the long ball
If anything can get Americans watching more soccer, it would be more 40-yard bombs like Arie Haan scored against Italy in 1978 to launch Holland to the final.
13. The sound of silence
More than 200,000 rabid fans were on hand in Rio de Janeiro to watch host Brazil take on heavy underdog Uruguay for the 1950 final. Friaca put the white-clad Brazilians up one, but goals by Juan Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia found the net and Uruguay stunned the crowd to silence. Not only did the hosts "forget" to give Uruguay the trophy, they never wore white again.
14. 27 Seconds
After missing the World Cup in 1974 and '78, England wasted no time announcing its presence in 1982. Facing a strong France squad, England's Bryan Robson scored 27 seconds into the game to kick-start the Three Lions' 3-1 victory.
15. Battle of Santiago
One of the most violent games in World Cup history, the Chile-Italy match in 1962 is simply now known as the "Battle of Santiago." Police intervened three times due to constant fighting between the sides, and Italy had two players sent off. The BBC's David Coleman called Chile's 2-0 win the "most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game."
Issue 150: June 2010