Almost 100 Years in FIFA World Cup – What are the 6 Most Exciting Finals?
It’s without a doubt the most popular game around the world. The planet always seems to freeze for almost 2 hours because millions of people are glued to their TV sets while others use mobile devices to watch the games live, the skills of 22 players fighting for the prize – to raise the FIFA cup.
In almost 100 years since the World Cup started, only 20 matches have over the years been played to win the world cup of the most popular sport in the world. Which of the world cup games was the most exciting one? In this post, we’ve listed the 6 most exciting world cup finals.
England vs. West Germany (1966)
Geoff Hurst’s hat trick secured England’s first world cup trophy in the 4-2 victory against West Germany back in 1966.
Geoff Hurst equalized Helmut Haller’s opening goal before West Germany. Martin Peters seemed to have scored the winning goal with only 12 minutes remaining, only for Wolfgang Weber to score a second one for England. The match finished 2-2, so extra time was needed to determine the winner.
With the game going for extra time, Hurst hit the net twice within the additional 30 minutes making sure England was crowned the world champions. Hurst’s first goal during the extra time was controversial because it wasn’t clear whether the ball had really entered the goal. The Germans protested the goal, but the Swiss referee could hear none of it.
Brazil vs. Italy (1970)
For thousands who were there and the millions who followed it live on TV, the 1970 world cup final was a consummate football celebration, where the good team won and won superbly.
In the ’70s, Brazil was a team at its absolute best. Pele netted the first goal and Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho and Gerson each scored one for Brazil.
Brazil came into this game as the favourites and they didn’t let their fans down as they dominated the game from the start. With Pele’s opener, most football enthusiasts expected the game to be a walk in the park for them. Surprisingly, the Boninsegna strike equalized for the Italians and the score sheet remained this way until halftime.
In the second half, Brazil was on fire with the fourth goal being so beautiful that its buildup and execution became engraved in the memory of all who saw it.
Brazil vs. France (1998)
The best night in French football began with controversy and confusion. In brazils team sheet, the greatest striker Ronaldo seemed to have been replaced by Edmundo, with rumours that the striker was injured and in hospital. However, in an incredible turnaround, the Brazilian officials changed the lineup, and this time Ronaldo had been restored to this lineup.
Despite vomiting on the pitch, Zizou netted two goals within the first 45 minutes. Brazil didn’t look threatening, even though the French goalkeeper, Fabian Barthez looked pretty shaky, and nearly dropped some crosses into his net.
With Desailly red-carded in the second half, Brazil wasn’t able to turn this advantage into goals. In fact, with the Brazilians struggling, substitute Patrick Viera passed the ball to Emmanuel Petit to score the third goal.
The referee’s final whistle reduced the Brazilian fans and players to tears. They couldn’t withstand such a humiliating defeat.
Despite the fact that he was sent off in the first round, Zidane was considered the star of the tournament. Zidane had within the first 90 minutes, allegedly outshined even the greatest achievements of the mercurial Michel Platini.
Germany vs. Brazil (2002)
After a humiliating defeat by the French in the 1998 world cup, the Brazilians came into the 2002 world cup with their eyes on the prize. Surprisingly, this was the first time Germany and Brazil had met at the world cup finals. The Brazilians won their 2nd World Cup after multiple attempts with a straight win over the overperforming German players. Brazil’s team comprised of a shot-stopper, two attacking fullbacks, five defenders, and three talented players (Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Rivaldo).
Ronaldo hit the net twice to crown Brazil winners of the 2002 world cup finals.
Italy vs. France (2006)
The 2006 world cup finals will always be remembered because of the lethal header Marco Materazzi got from Zinedine Zidane. The game between the Italian and French teams was tied by the goal. This was the 2nd world cup to go to the round of penalties to determine the champion. Although David Trezeguet missed a penalty, five Italian players hit the net and got the team crowned world cup champions for the fourth time.
Zinedine Zidane netted a goal from the penalty spot only for Marco Materazzi to score the equalizer a few minutes later. No one had even the slightest idea that the two-goal scores would later get involved in a controversial moment.
Both teams seemed to be on the right path to winning the world cup with the gaming finishing at 1-1 and had to be pushed to extra time to determine a winner. Then with only 10 minutes remaining in the additional time that the controversial head butt came.
With the fans still trying to understand Zidane’s action, extra time was over and it was now time for the penalties. Frances David Trezuguet missed two penalty shots and Italy went ahead to win 5-3.
Spain vs. the Netherlands (2010)
After one of the greatest 2010 World Cup matches that featured Iker Casillas making a great save in what seemed like a sure goal and Nigel de Jong booting Xabi Alonso in the chest, Spain won in the extra time. This was after Cesc Fabregas passed the ball to Adres Iniesta and hit the low rocket past Maarten Stekelenburg.
BBC SPORT | Football | World Cup 2006 | Zidane off as Italy win World Cup. (n.d.). BBC News. https://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4991652.stm
Fifa. (n.d.). FIFA. https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/mens/worldcup/1966england
World Cup 2010: Spain survive brutal final to become champions. (2017, November 26). the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2010/jul/11/world-cup-final-spain-champions
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