100 Most Memorable World Cup Moments (90-81)

The beautiful game returns to its spiritual home with the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. We at Goalden Times are revisiting the 100 most memorable moments from the past editions. Some are inspirational, some are controversial. Some will leave a smile on your face, some will make you wanting for more. You will find everything here. The first installment: Moments 91 – 80.


Match: USA vs England
Round: Group Stage
Venue & Date: Estádio Independência, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 29th June, 1950


It was a battle between David and Goliath. England was favored to win the 1950 World Cup 1950 with 3-1 odds against 500-1 of Americans. England won 23 out of 30 games after the World War II. Their squad was full of stars, who ruled the footballing world at that time, with Billy Wright, Alf Ramsey, Stanley Mathews, and Stan Mortensen. On the contrary, the US team was full of amateurs. Example of some of the squad members in US team: Walter Bahr, a high school teacher; John Souza, a knitting machinist; Harry Keough, the mailman; goalkeeper Frank Borghi, the hearse driver; Joe Gaetjens, a dishwasher in New York. Ben McLaughlin had to withdraw from the squad as he could not get time off work. The US team practiced together only for a day before they left for Brazil.

20,000 supporters including a few Americans and about thousand Englishmen assembled in Belo Horizonte to watch a routine victory for England on 29th June. England did not field Mathews in their team (no substitution was allowed in those days). That did not stop Englishmen to attack from the beginning. England had 6 shots on target in the first twelve minute, but goalkeeper Borghi made a brilliant save with a couple of the shots hitting the post. England scoring a goal was matter of minutes, but somehow US defense withstood the pressure. On 37th minute, a rare American attack originated from around center line, and US captain Walter Bahr took a long range shot from about 25 yards to the goal. Goalkeeper Bert Williams was positioning himself with quick momentum to catch the ball. But near the penalty spot, Joe Gaetjens, the Haitian-origin dishwasher from New York, drove in headlong position. The ball touched the corner of Gaetjen’s head and changed the direction. Bert Williams was already committed towards his right, and the ball rolled past Williams to the left and went inside the net. USA 1-0 England.

The goal shook up the England team and they attacked with more vigor. Goalkeeper Frank Borghi reached monumental heights in terms of performance, literally leaping over English forwards to intercept cross after cross. Stan Mortensen was brought down in the penalty area by Charles Colombo later in the second half, and England was denied a penalty as the foul, according to referee, was just outside the box. Jimmy Mullen headed the ball towards goal from Ramsey’s free kick, but Borghi came to the US rescue once again by tipping the ball over the bar in the last moment, which resembles the famous save of century by Gordon Banks 20 years later.

The match ended 1-0, with some of the US media thought that the result was an error, when they received the news! Charles Colombo received an offer to play professional football in Brazil, but he returned back to St Louis. Goal scorer Joe Haetjens ( seen in the pic) was taken to Fort Dimanche jail in Haiti after he returned there in 1963 (after playing football in France) and was subsequently killed. Eddie McIlvenny went on to play 2 games for Manchester United. A film was made in 2005 by David Anspaugh commemorating the famous victory by US team over England entitled “Game of Their Lives”. Indeed it was game of their lives. Those amateur workers may have been forgotten in a workaholic not-so-football crazy American society, but their victory remains as a folklore in World Cup football history.


Match: Croatia vs. Australia
Round: Group Stage
Venue & Date: Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, Stuttgart, 22nd June, 2006


Croatia and Australia were grouped with Brazil and Japan in group F, in the 2006 World Cup. Croatia had failed to score in the two previous matches. They drew 0-0 with Japan, and lost 0-1 to Brazil. The third placed country in 1998 was in danger of bowing out in the Group stage of the World Cup a second successive time. Australia, on the other hand, was in a pretty good position. They defeated Japan 3-1, and lost to Brazil 0-2 after a good fighting performance. Going in to the last round of matches, Croatia needed a win to have any chance of qualification, while a draw would probably suffice for the Aussies.

The match itself is not major point of discussion as a World Cup moment. We have several similar situations over the course of 76 years. The interesting series of events started from the 61st minute of this match. Josip Šimunić , the Croatian centre back fouled an onrushing Harry Kewell near the Croatian penalty box, pushing him with the back of his elbow. Graham Poll awarded Australia a free kick and booked Simunic, with the score line then reading 2-1 in favour of Croatia. This was a normal booking, even if Simunic showed his frustration, and gave Poll a mouthful.

The second incident in this series happened in the 90th minute of the match. Scoreline was level at 2-2, and Australia was going through to round of 16 if the scoreline remained same. A clearance from Australian goal mouth landed in the centre circle, and with Croatian players near the Aussie goal mouth in search of a winner, the pitch was vacant. Two Aussie players were trying to take the ball to the Croatian goal, and Joshua Kennedy was almost breaking free when Simunic brutally fouled him from behind, tackling him between the legs. Graham Poll rushed in to show him the second yellow card. While everyone waited for the colour of the card to change and Simunic to march out, they were all in for a surprise. Perhaps, Poll forgot to take the red card out of his pocket! The game went into injury time.

In the final minute of the injury time, in the 93rd minute, Australia scored a goal after a throw in from the left came to the box, but Graham Poll apparently had blown the whistle before the goal was scored. The match ended soon after that, but Simunic continued his rant towards the referee, and Graham Poll initially tried to waive off the matter. But Simunic went on, and finally Graham Poll pulled out the yellow card, and subsequently the red card. The match ended 2-2 and Croatia was out of the World Cup.

So Joseph Simunic received three yellow cards in the same match and then received the marching order. This was the first time in World Cup history that such an incident happened. Poll’s assistant Phill Sharp and Glenn Turner, and fourth official Kevin Scott were shocked along with Graham Poll himself when they were notified about the “error” after the match. Graham Poll defended his action said he had mistakenly noted down Australian no. 3 Craig Moore (Simunic wore no 3 as well) after the first incident. Thus when the second foul by Simunic resulted in the second yellow for him, in Poll’s notebook, that was the first time Simunic’s name was actually noted down. Interestingly, Josip Simunic was born in Australia, and speaks fairly decent English with an Australian accent which might have confused the referee. FIFA defended Graham Poll as he admitted the error. Australia did not file any complaint, though a Croatia victory would have created a different story. Graham Poll did not officiate again in World Cup matches, and retired from refereeing.

P.S. Josip Simunic is banned for 10 matches by FIFA, and will not play any part in Croatia’s 2014 World Cup campaign. FIFA banned him for pro-Nazi chant and salute after Croatia defeated Iceland in a World Cup qualifier.

Match: Algeria vs. West Germany
Round: Group Stage
Venue and Date: El Molinon, Gijon, Spain, 16th June, 1982


West Germany, with Karl-Heinge Rummenigge, Hans Peter Briegel, Felix Magath, Uli Stielike, Paul Breitner in their ranks, were favourites to win the 1982 World Cup. On the other hand, Algeria was making their debut in that World Cup. Algeria got its independence from France in 1962, and parents and relatives of many members of the Algerian squad actually left professional football in France in 1958 to come back to Algeria and fight the war of Independence. Football was part of Algeria’s freedom movement, as they formed a football team named Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) to travel around the world and showcase the Algerian spirit, skill and fight for freedom.

West Germany players were sure of victory. Some of them said in the press conference before the match that they will dedicate the seventh goal to their wives and eighth goal to their dogs. German coach Jupp Derwall said if they lose, he would catch the next train back to Munich. This wasn’t any mind game – it was sheer arrogance and derogating and demeaning the opponent. The insult made the Algerians even more determined to show their worth. Several former FLN members were among the coaching staff of the 1982 team, and every one took those comments as a slur towards Algerian people.

Algerians attacked from the beginning, forcing Paul Breittner to drop back and help the Germans with defence. Germans were literally jolted with Algeria’s attacking style of play. Algeria enjoyed a larger share of possession in the first half, and threatened several times to open the scoring. The goal finally came in the second half in the 54th minute, after Harald Schumacher managed to put hand on a shot from left side , only for the ball to loop into the feet of Rabah Madjer who slotted the ball in. Germany still could not quite believe that they were 0-1 down and showed no immediate urgency. They equalised through Rummenigge, when he tapped in a through ball from close range after squeezing himself past two defenders. At 1-1, the football world thought now the normalcy would d prevail. Justice though prevailed within a minute. Right from the ensuing kick-off after the German equalizer, Algeria played nine passes and Chabaane Merzekane overlapped from the left flank to fire a low dangerous cross in German goalmouth. Lakhdar Belloumi met the cross in the second post and put the ball inside the German net. Algeria did not sit back on that lead, and continued to attack which confused the West Germans further. Algeria missed two more chances in last few minutes and won the match 2-1.

Joy erupted in the stadium and in Algeria after the match. The Algerians taught the Germans a thing or two about respect through their confrontation on the field, not with words. This victory is recognised as one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.

The consequence of this victory is another interesting story which will be covered in one of our future installments.


Match: Brazil vs. Wales
Round: Quarter Final
Venue: Nya Ullevi, Göteborg, Sweden, 19th June, 1958


Gylmar dos Santos aka Gilmar, Nilton Santos, Didi, Zito, Mario Zagallo, Garrincha, Jose Altafini. These were some of the stars of the magnificent Brazil side that took field in the match against Wales in the quarterfinal of 1958 World Cup. Brazil was in pretty good form in the group league with wins over Austria (3-0) and Soviet Union (1-0), and a draw against England (0-0) – the first goalless affair in the history of World Cup. Wales on the other side had failed to win any of its group matches – they drew 1-1 against both Hungary and Mexico, and 0-0 against Sweden. Wales, however, managed to defeat England 2-1 in the play off to book a place in the knock out stages.

The quarterfinal, though, is remembered by the football fans around the world for a different reason. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, a 17-year-8-month old kid, started his first game in the World Cup. But he looked composed and the occasion did not bog him down. He played with his usual attacking flair, as Brazil was desperately searching for a goal in the first half of the match. Wales played with a compact defence, as they had done throughout the previous matches, and denied Brazil any goal before the halftime.

Around the 66th minute, after an attack by Brazil moved towards the right wing, a back volley by Zito took a bounce near the edge of Wales penalty box. An onrushing Didi headed the ball towards Pele, who was standing near the penalty spot with his back to the goal, and with two Welsh defenders surrounding him. Pele received the ball with his chest, dropped it on his knee and controlling the ball with his toe, made a swift turn to leave his markers all at sea. Pele subsequently placed the ball in the left corner of the goal beating the goalkeeper Jack Kelsey and became – and still remains – the youngest player to score a goal in the World Cup Finals.

The images of a young kid jumping with joy, putting his hands up, and going inside the net, sitting there with the ball, are still vivid in every football-lovers’ mind. The photographers rushed inside the ground, assembled in front of the goal to take photographs of Pele sitting in the net with the ball. For some time, everyone forgot that 20-plus minutes of a World Cup quarterfinal were still to be played. Brazil went on to win 1-0, and subsequently went on to win the World Cup for the first time. This goal made Edson Arantes do Nascimento who he is today.


Match: France vs. Brazil
Round: Quarter Final
Venue: Jalisco Stadium, Guadalajara, Mexico, 21st June, 1986


France defeated defending champion Italy 2-0 in the round of 16, and Brazil ousted Poland 4-0 to qualify for the quarterfinal. Many labeled the face-off between Brazil and France, both teams renowned for their expansive and skillful approach to the beautiful game, as the match of the tournament. Football fans across the world felt that the final would have been the right place for these two nations to meet, not so early in the tournament. Michel Platini, Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse, Luis Fernandez formed a formidable midfield for France while the Brazil line up was loaded with stars like Muller, Careca, Alemao, Socrates, Zico. This was the last chance for Brazil’s Golden generation to embrace the ultimate honour after being knocked out by Paolo Rossi’s Italy in 1982. On the other hand, reigning European Champions France were in red hot form with Platini, winner of the last three years’ Best European Player award, leading the pack.

Brazil took the lead via Careca in the 18th minute and Platini equalized in the 41st minute. Brazil was unlucky as they hit the woodwork twice and missed a golden opportunity when second half substitute Zico’s weak penalty was saved by Joel Bats.

But the World Cup moment actually came in the extra time. The players had to lift themselves up for another half an hour of engrossing contest under the scorching Guadalajara sun. In the 117th minute, Platini found Bruno Bellone (who had come in the 99th minute) free in the Brazilian half as all the tired defenders were up the pitch in search of a goal and could not track Bellone closely. Bellone was one-on-one with Brazil custodian Carlos, who tackled him outside the box to avoid a penalty. This put Bellone off balance, he stumbled inside the penalty box but managed to stay on his feet in search of the winner. In the meantime onrushing defender Joshimar cleared the ball. Platini, Jean-Marc Ferreri and other French players surrounded the Romanian referee Igna for a foul and punishment for Carlos. Referee did not give in to their demands and suggested that as Bellone stayed on his feet, he had played to an advantage that France failed to take. So a cracker of a match had to be decided through a nerve-wracking shoot out.

France did manage to win the match in a tie-breaker, with a 4-3 win. Legends like Socrates and Platini failed to score. Interestingly though, Bellone’s spot kick rebounded off the post, hit Carlos’ head from backside, and luckily went into the goal. Would you call this Karma?


Match: Netherlands vs. Spain
Round: Final
Venue & Date: Soccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa, 11th July, 2010


After mesmerizing spectators with a month-long brilliant and tactical display of football, two teams entered the Final of 2010 World Cup. One thing was sure – world football was going to see a new champion. Netherlands was in the final for the third time and after a gap of 32 years. Spain, after being crowned the Champions of Europe in 2008, was attempting a rare double in their maiden World Cup final appearance. Spain were favorites after their superlative display of passing football in the semis where they virtually made the mighty Germans look pedestrian.

But the Dutch started the game with aggression, actually a lot of it. Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk had realized that the Orange would not stand a chance of winning the game if they allowed Spain to dictate the game with their impeccable passing rhythm. So from the very onset of the match, the Dutch were going hard at Spanish players. Sometimes the Spaniards also retaliated, and referee Howard Webb had to flash four yellow cards within the first 23 minutes of the match, twice each to Spain and Holland players.

But “the foul” of the final match came in the 28th minute of the first half. Spain was trying to construct an attack. John Heitinga cleared from their backline only to fall kindly near the midfield for Sergio Busquets who looped the ball sideways to an advancing Xabi Alonso. Alonso was about to receive the ball with his chest, when Nigel de Jong, continuing with the “aggressive” tactics adopted by the Dutch, raised his feet with studs pointing up towards Alonso’s chest, and kicked him like a Kung-Fu wrestler! Xabi Alonso writhed in pain and fell down on the field. He was lucky enough to survive as that kind of kick towards the left side of the chest could have broken his rib cage or worse, caused damaged to his heart leading to the inevitable. Nigel de Jong escaped the “murder attempt” only with a yellow card. Many thought FIFA would not let him go so easily but surprisingly nothing happened. The Dutch team continued their aggression throughout the match, and ended the game with eight yellow cards and one red card for John Hetinga. Spain won the match and the World Cup via a 116th minute goal by Andres Iniesta.

Howard Webb ended the match after flashing the card 14 times – a record that will be difficult to match in future. But later admitted he should have given marching order to de Jong. Alonso slammed de Jong for the “worst tackle” he had ever received. De Jong though was not apologetic: “I don’t regret anything. I never intended to hurt him.” Who says it is a beautiful game!


Match: Italy vs. Czechoslovakia
Round: Final
Venue & Date: Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome, Italy, 10th June, 1934


Italian coach Vittorio Pozzo was about to finish the job that was “ordered” by Benito Mussolini. Italy was one match away from claiming the World Cup in their home country amidst hostile political environment around the world.

Czechoslovakia was no pushover. They played hard passing football throughout the tournament, scoring eight goals in previous three matches. Italy, after defeating USA 7-1 in the opening round, scraped through with Spain through a replay (1-1, 1-0) and managed to beat Austria by a solitary goal.

Czechoslovakia started the match with more composure and Italians had to chase the ball around for most of the first half. The first goal came in the 71st minute, when Antonio Puc put the Czechs ahead through a shot taken from the acute corner once the ball came to him after a rebound. The 50-thousand odd supporters in the stadium panicked as their dream was about to be shattered. Italy pushed forward and left space vacant in their own half, and Czech squandered two easy chances within next 10 minutes, through Jiri Sobotka and Frantisek Svoboda who hit the post. Luck was indeed with the home side.

In the 81st minute, an attack came from the right side towards Czechoslovakia’s goal. Three defenders were present inside the box. Enrique Guaita passed the ball towards Angelo Schiavio who was standing near the edge of the penalty area, marked closely by Rudolf Krcil. Schiavio played the ball perfectly towards an onrushing Raimundo Orsi. Frantisek Junek and Josef Ctyroky sensed the danger and closed in on Orsi, but it was too late. Orsi received the ball calmly near the left-edge of penalty area, made a half turn with his back towards the goal, feinted a shot with his left foot and then unleashed a great grounder with the outside of his right foot towards the left hand corner of the goal. Captain and Czech keeper Frantisek Planicka dived unsuccessfully as the wildly swerving ball went inside the goal to make it 1-1. Vittorio Pozzo, who was following the action from near the Czech goalpost, jumped up and down in joy.

The match went on to extra time, and Angelo Schiavio scored the winner for Italy in the 95th minute. The domination of Italy was complete, and the equaliser by the Argentina born Raimundo Orsi is still considered as one of the best goals scored in a World Cup final.

There was a lot of discussion regarding the goal with most of the spectators claiming it was a fluke. Orsi, however, rubbished all these claims and vouched to recreate the same magic whenever required. On the next day, in front of a crew of photographers, Orsi made twenty attempts to replicate the same wonder but failed to score. And he was facing an empty net – there wasn’t even a goalkeeper this time around!


Match: Brazil vs. Sweden
Round: Group Stage
Venue & Date: Estadio José María Minella, Mar Del Plata, Argentina, 3rd June, 1978


It was the first World Cup match for both the teams in 1978. Brazil was considered pre-tournament favourites along with Argentina as the World Cup returned to South America after a 16-year gap.

Sweden had a pretty average team, but surprisingly took lead in the 37th minute via Thomas Sjoberg. Brazil did not take time to strike back as Reinaldo equalised for them just at the stroke of half time. Swedish defence stood firm among a series of Brazilian attacks in the second half and the match appeared to be headed for a 1-1 draw. Brazil was awarded a corner in the last minute of the game. Nelinho made sure the ball was properly positioned near the corner flag, and wasted some precious seconds doing so. When he finally took the corner kick, the official game clock showed 45:04 in the second half. Zico headed the ball which ended inside the Sweden net.

The Brazil players were about to celebrate when they realised that Welsh referee Clive Thomas had disallowed the goal, calling the game over. Brazil players argued with him and ran down the pitch with him, but Clive Thomas was firm in his decision, mentioning that when the ball was in mid air from the corner, he blew the whistle. The match video revealed that Clive Thomas rushed to the Swedish keeper Ronnie Hellstrom and spoke to him about something, when the match clock read 44:50. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, result of which ultimately meant that Brazil finished the group behind Austria.

Clive Thomas had several such incidents during his career which involved controversies, including two disallowed goals by a certain Bryan Hamilton in 1975 FA Cup final (for Ipswich) and 1977 FA Cup semi-final (for Everton) respectively. 1978 was the last World Cup he officiated.


Event: South Korea reaching semifinals of World Cup 2002
Round: Group stage to Semifinal
Venue: South Korea & Japan, 2002


South Korea and Japan were co-hosts of the 2002 World Cup, which was organised in the Asian soil for the first time in its 72 years history. South Korea were frequent participants in the final round from 1986 onwards, while Japan made its debut in the final rounds in 1998. Organising teams generate a lot of support and enthusiasm during World Cup events, and these two nations were no exception, given the enormous popularity of the sport in these regions.

South Korea was placed in group C with Portugal, Poland and USA. But an ageing Portugal side underperformed in the scorching heat of Asia and left the tournament in the group stages. South Korea made it to the next round after topping the group and were to face Italy there. Italy, with Gianluigi Buffon, Paolo Maldini, Francesco Totti, Christian Vieri, Alessandro Del Piero, were one of the pre-tournament favourites, and South Korea’s dream journey in the World Cup was about to end. Italy though had somehow managed to scramble through from their group but looked en route a routine victory when Vieri gave them a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Italy failed to increase the tally and paid the price as Seol Ki-Hyeon equalised in the dying moments of the match to take the game into extra time. In the 103rd minute, Totti received a ball inside the Korean penalty area and was about to shoot when Song Chong-Gug tackled him from behind. Totti fell down and the Italians claimed a penalty. Referee Byron Moreno of Ecuador though, inexplicably, booked Totti – and subsequently gave him marching orders as it was his second yellow of the match for diving. The South Korean defender, himself was on a booking, should instead have been sent off. Italians were furious as the video revealed that Totti was clearly tripped from behind. Ahn Jung-Hwan scored the golden goal in the 117th minute to take South Korea to the quarterfinals.

The dream run and the controversial calls by referees favouring South Korea continued in the quarterfinal against Spain as well. Two apparently genuine goals from Spain by Ruben Baraja and Fernando Morientes were disallowed by Egyptian referee Gamal Al-Ghandour, and several controversial off-side calls were made to prevent Spain from scoring. South Korea won 5-3 via penalty shoot out, and the whole world except South Korea condemned the manner in which South Koreans progressed to the semifinals. Ivan Helguera was furious at the final whistle and he had to be pulled away by everyone as he charged towards the referee for his crooked decisions.

South Korea became the first Asian nation – and till date the only – to reach semifinals of a World Cup where they were eventually defeated 1-0 by Germany. But the stigma of a series of controversies stained their success story. The involvement of South Korean authorities with match officials were also rumoured, and several judgments favouring South Korea at crucial junctures of knock-out matches only intensified the debate.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter dismissed any question of favoritism of the host nation – in a tournament which was organized to showcase the craze for football and attract more money – and termed them as “human errors”. Moreno was greeted merrily back in Ecuador but was banned from officiating within a year after questionable refereeing in two domestic matches. Ghandour retired amidst speculations of Spanish media that he was “gifted” a Hyundai car by the Korean Football Association.


Match: Czechoslovakia vs. others
Stage: Till final
Venue & Date: Chile, 31st May – 13th June, 1962


Czechoslovakia shot stopper Viliam Schrojf was legendary in his era. Known popularly as the Black Cat for his goalkeeping prowess, Schrojf played mostly for Slovan Bratislava before switching over to Lokomotiva Košice. He participated in three consecutive World Cups from 1954 to 1962. In the 1962 edition, his last hurrah, Schrojf achieved new heights.

Czechoslovakia were drawn in Group 3 which featured reigning champions Brazil. This meant effectively there was only one spot for advancing through to the knock-out stages. Czechs opened their campaign against Spain in a match dominated by the Spaniards. However, Schrojf managed to keep a clean sheet and a late goal by Jozef Štibrányi – his only goal for the national team – earned the Czechs a valuable point. In their second group match, Brazil was surprisingly held to a goalless draw. This was a massive point for Czechoslovakia. However, the big news of the match was that Pele was injured and that would eventually force him out of the tournament. By the time Czechoslovakia lined up for their last group stage match, they were already guaranteed a place in the next round. Schrojf, who, almost single-handedly, had kept alive their prospects of qualification, dropped his guard along with his team mates which saw them lose this inconsequential match 3-1. This was the first ever win in a World Cup for Mexico, which also saw them avoid the last spot in the group stage for the first time.

In the quarter final against a superior Hungarian side, Czechoslovakia adapted a defensive strategy led by a spirited Schrojf . Luck was on his side as he was aided by the framework quite a few times but more often than not the ball was caught, stopped, punched out, or whatever else Schroiff could to hold the Magyars off.

Up next was Yugoslavia in the semi-final. It was yet another brilliant defensive display by the Czech defence, starring Schrojf again before two late Adolf Scherer strikes secured a 3-1 win. Everyone started speculating whether Schrojf in goal can keep the Brazilians at bay in the final and create history.

Schrojf went on to feature in the 1962 World Cup All-Star Best XI and was also honoured with The Best Goalkeeper In The Tournament award. It was true testament to his superb display that propelled Czechoslovakia to the final only to be beaten by eventual winner Brazil. That final is a story in itself having Schrojf again as the central character. That will be covered in one of our future installments.

Goalden Times Editorial Team

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