Some Of The Most Truly Iconic Moments In World Cup History
Qatar 2022 is in full swing, and there are still several teams left in, all fighting to win the greatest sporting tournament on the planet. The round of 16 is over, and things have gotten serious as the road to the final gets even harder.
Along the way, there have been some real upsets. Argentina may count themselves lucky to have gotten as far as they have, following a disastrous start to the group stages, in which they lost 2-1 against Saudi Arabia. Another team that have surprised everyone have been Japan, who helped to force Germany out of the competition with a 2-1 win over themand then another shock win, this time achieving the same scoreline over Spain. You might even be checking the football bettingodds to see how the sportsbooks see them faring in the rest of the tournament.
Seeing smaller teams triumph over footballing superpowers is all part of the magic of the World Cup, and these nations are likely to remember such big upsets for years to come. Below is a look of some of the most iconic moments in the World Cup.
In the first round of the 1974 World Cup, the Netherlands were up against Sweden, and the world saw a piece of individual skill so brilliant the move became named after the player themselves. That player was Johan Cruyff.
Swedish defender Jan Olsson was the player on the wrong end of this move. Initially, he’d performed his duties well, having forced Cruyff to play with his back to the goal. Cruyff looked as if he was going to pass towards the top of the box… but instead, he faked the pass and dragged the ball back with the inside of his foot around his planted leg. By the time the defender realized Cruyff still had the ball, the Dutchman was away and directing his cross.
At the center of possibly the most controversial moment in world footballwas Argentina’s Diego Maradona. In 1986, in a quarter-final clash against England, what looked like a sliced clearance from Steve Hodge caused English keeper Peter Shilton to race off his line to collect. At the same time, however, Maradona was also racing for the ball and jumped in the air and punched the ball into the net.
The goal stood and the English were incensed. He later claimed the “hand of God” had helped the ball into the net. The English were incensed, but the goal stood. What happened a few minutes later added further insult to injury.
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A few moments after his infamous goal, Maradona was again at the center of the action. This time, however, there was no doubt about the goal. The little Argentine picked the ball up in his own half, dancing around Peter Beardsley and Peter Reid and accelerating deep into the English half.
From there he cut inside of Terry Butcher and dribbled around Terry Fenwick on the edge of the box before slaloming past Peter Shilton and sliding the ball into the English net. The goal is deemed FIFA’s World Cup Goal of the Century.
More heartbreak for England, and this time it would come at Italia 90. In the semi-final, England were up against West Germany. At 1-1 when the normal full-time whistle went, the teams were even, pushing the match into extra time, which would see one of the most iconic images ever.
English midfielder Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne had been sublime throughout the tournament, but a challenge on Thomas Berthold left him with a yellow card. A yellow card in the previous match against Belgium meant that if England progressed to the final, Gazza wouldn’t be able to play. His tears began to flow, and the image summarized the passion of playerswhen competing for the World Cup.
Gazza's tears - 1990
Perhaps one of the most heart-warming and iconic moments of the World Cup was Romario and Bebeto celebrating a goal by rocking the baby. The two Brazilians had a frosty relationship after Romario had called the young Bebeto a cry baby for always complaining to the referees.
However, when the older striker let the ball run for Bebeto to score the team’s second of the game and put Brazil two goals ahead of the Netherlands in the quarter final at USA 1994, the two buried the hatchet and celebrated the goal with a “rock the baby” motion, paying tribute to Bebeto’s newly born son.
The World Cup has seen a vast number of iconic moments. Others include Ronaldo’s redemption at Korea Japan 2002, little Archie Gemmill scoring for Scotland against the Netherlands at Argentina 1978 and the USA defeating England 1-0 at Brazil 1950.