On November 20, Qatar will face Ecuador in the first match of the 22nd FIFA World Cup.
The tournament which began in 1930 has seen eight teams crowned as world champions of football. Over the course of its 92 year history, the World Cup has seen its fair share of massive results, upsets, great players and some shocking incidents.
Top Moments from FIFA World Cup
We take a look at some of the most shocking moments from the World Cup that will go down in history.
Yankees Sink the English (1950)
England will face the USA at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar. This will be the third meeting between the two nations at the global event, with them having previously met in 2010 and 1950.
The match in 2010 in South Africa was a draw, but in 1950 the U. S football team caused one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game.
England came into the tournament as one of the favourites for the trophy, while the USA was a team made of main amateurs.
To say that England were firm favourites to win the match would be an understatement. However, a Haiti immigrant, Joe Gaetjens who worked at a New York restaurant scored a memorable goal as the USA upset England 1-0. In fact, their draw in South Africa over a decade ago means England have never beaten the USA at the World Cup!
Battle of Santiago (1962)
In 1962, the South American nation Chile was hosting the FIFA World Cup. It came two years after a massive earthquake had ravaged the country. This meant the nation wasn’t in the best of conditions for the mega event.
Italian newspapers criticized the decision to have Chile as the host. The flames were further flamed when two Italian journalists described Santiago, Chile’s capital as their capital as a backwater dump where “the phones don’t work, taxis are as rare as faithful husbands, a cable to Europe costs an arm and a leg and a letter takes five days to turn up”.
Chile’s press hit back calling Italians fascists, mafiosos and drug addicts. All this happened before the two nations were set to clash on the field.
Tempers flared when Chile played Italy in Santiago. The first foul came just 12 seconds into the game and the first red card after 12 minutes, when Giorgio Ferrini was sent off. Chilean winger Leonel Sanchez punched Italian full-back Mario David, who was subsequently sent off for retaliating.
Another Italian player came off with a broken nose. The police had to intervene three times. Chile eventually won the game 2-0 but it wasn’t remembered for that and was termed as the Battle of Santiago.
Hand of God (1982)
Diego Maradona will go down as one of the greatest footballers of all time. The little Argentine was a joy to watch and brought his nation World Cup glory in 1986.
All that could’ve been very different but for two moments. One of absolute genius by Maradona and the other that would be remembered in football folklore forever.
In the quarter-final against England, the game was finely poised at 0-0. As a ball was whipped in the English box, Mardonna leapt in the air. Peter Shilton the English goalkeeper was much taller and it was expected he would grab or punch away the ball.
There was a punch indeed, but it wasn’t from Shilton but from Maradona as the ball went into the net to give Argentina the lead. Replays confirmed that Maradona had guided the ball into the net with his hand. When asked after the match about the incident, he said it was the ‘Hand of God’.
Suarez Breaks African Hearts (2010)
2010 was the first time the World Cup came to Africa. South Africa were the host, but it seemed the whole continent was behind each and every African nation whenever they took the field.
Despite impressive results in previous World Cups, no African team had ever reached the semi-finals of the tournament. In 2010, it looked like it could change.
Ghana were on an inspiring run in the tournament. They qualified from their group just behind Germany and ahead of Australia. In the last-16 they earned a historic win over USA to reach the quarter finals. By this time they were the only African nation left in the tournament and the continent rallied behind them.
Their quarter-final against Uruguay was balanced at 1-1. In extra time, there was a scramble at Uruguay’s goalmouth as Ghana’s Steven Appiah struck a goal-bound shot the keeper was beaten, but Luis Suarez blocked the ball with his knee. With the keeper momentarily out of the equation, Dominic Adiyiah then headed the rebound on goal, where Suarez once again made the block, but this time with both his hands!
Suarez was sent off and Ghana had the chance with Asamoah Gyan their best player taking the penalty. However, the striker struck the post as the match then went to penalties where Uruguay prevailed 4-2 to break African hearts and Suarez went down as the pantomime villain in Ghana’s football history.
This year at the FIFA World Cup the two teams are paired in the same group which will make for a fascinating matchup.
Zidane’s Headbutt (2006)
Zinedine Zidane had been a legend for French football. In his prime he led his nation to World Cup glory in 1998 followed by Euro 2000 triumph.
In 2006, he looked to bow out of the game at the highest possible stage. Zidane’s leadership and ability had seen France make their way to the World Cup final where they came up against Italy. France due to their star studded side were heavily fancied and dominated the final.
They went ahead after Zidane scored a penalty but were pegged back by the robust Italians shortly afterwards. As the game went into extra time, France and Zidane pushed hard for the winner with it looking only a matter of time before they would break through, but then Zidane had a melt down.
Italian defender Marco Materazzi indulged in trash talk to which Zidane took exception. To the stunning silence of millions watching around the globe, Zidane headbutted Materazzi and was sent off.
The people who watched this go down were in utter shock at what had just happened. It seems France themselves were not able to recover from it. The game went to penalties and Italy prevailed to win the FIFA World Cup.