The FIFA World Cup starts in 9 days. And so, theSportsRush brings to you the 9 incidents which made headlines, but for all the wrong reasons in the tournament’s history.
The World Cup fever has mounted over the footballing community, as Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in the first match of the tournament. This year’s world cup will be special for many reasons, as it will potentially be the last for two of the greatest players football has seen – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both the players are yet to lift the world cup, which makes it significant for both the stars.
Germany will look to retain their title, while countries like Spain and France will aim to regain lost pride after being knocked out in the group stages of the world cup in 2014.
There are only 9 days remaining for the start of the world cup, and so, we start the countdown to the world cup, with 9 most controversial incidents in the history of the tournament.
9: The Roy Keane-Mick McCarthy fight – 2002
The Irish midfielder Roy Keane, apart from his incredible footballing abilities, is known for his heated mind. And the latter cause him trouble during Ireland’s 2002 world cup campaign.
Roy Keane bashed Mick McCarthy’s preparation methods during the world cup and discredited Ireland’s world cup preparations. In 2017, fellow Irish footballer Shay Given wrote in his autobiography that Keane told McCarthy in a team meeting, “Why the f*** are you asking me a question? Who the f*** are you? You were a s**t player and you’re a worse manager.”
Roy Keane was sent back to Ireland before the start of the world cup. The incident caused him a lot of troubles in his home country, where he was rebuked and criticised. Ireland lost in the RO-16 match against Spain.
8: Luis Suarez’s Handball vs Ghana – 2010
The 2010 World Cup ended in a failure for hosts South Africa, and the hopes of an entire continent were pinned on Ghana as the tournament reached the quarterfinal stages.
Ghana played Uruguay in a highly competitive match, but it was marred when Dominic Adiyiah’s header was stopped, not by the goalkeeper, but by Luis Suarez. Suarez put his hand and stopped the ball from going into the goal, leading the referee to send him off.
Asamoah Gyan failed to convert, and Luis Suarez celebrated on the touchline before walking off to the dressing room. Ghana eventually lost on penalties, and Luis Suarez, quite deservedly, became the villain for a whole continent.
7: The World War upshots – 1938
France were playing Italy in the 1938 World Cup quarterfinal. With both the teams taking pride in the blue, it was Italy who were asked to wear the alternate uniform.
Italy were supposed to wear whites, but instead donned black, which was the sign of Italian fascist paramilitary. The Italians were further order to perform fascist salutes.
This happened on the brink of world war 2, which started in 1939.
6: Diego Maradona – Hand of God – 1986
The 1986 world cup quarterfinal remains to be one of the most controversial moment in the history of football, let alone the world cup.
England played Argentina at Mexico City, and in the second half, Diego Maradona punched the ball inside the back of the net to put Argentina 1-0 up. The officials failed to notice Maradona’s offence. Minutes later, Maradona scored the famous “Goal of the Century.”
The game finished 2-1, but the result might have been difference if Maradona’s initial goal was ruled out.
5: Maradona’s failed drug test – 1994
This one features Maradona again. Argentina travelled to United States as a strong contender for the World Cup in 1994. Maradona had a great start to the world cup, scoring against Greece. However, after the second match, FIFA found Diego Maradona positive of taking a banned substance, and ultimately suspended him for the rest of the world cup.
The incident sent shock waves across the footballing world, as Maradona was a revered figure and an inspiration to many. He was banned for 15 months, and ultimately retired in 1997 at the age of 36.
4: Cristiano Ronaldo’s wink – 2006
The 2006 world cup in Germany was highly controversial for a lot of reasons. One of them came during the quarterfinal between Portugal and England.
Wayne Rooney’s stamped on Ricardo Carvalho’s foot. This led to a tussle between the referee and Portuguese players, and Ronaldo waved an imaginary red card at the referee. Ronaldo and Rooney used to play together for Manchester United at that point, which made the incident even more significant.
Later, when Rooney was sent off, Ronaldo winked at the bench, signifying that the job is done.
3: Luis Suarez’s bite – 2014
Luis Suarez remained the centre of controversies in the 2014 world cup as well. During the group match against Italy, Luis Suarez bit centre-back Giorgio Chiellini on his shoulder as the Italian made an attempt to dispossess the forward. However, Suarez was not red-carded for the offence.
Later, he was banned for 9 international games. This was not the first time Suarez bit an opposition player. During a Premier League game against Chelsea, the Uruguayan striker bit Branislav Ivanovic, and was banned for four months.
2: Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt – 2006
One of the most iconic moments in World Cup football took place in the World Cup final of 2006. France played Italy in the final, and the incident happened during the extra time. The game was poised at 1-1, when, in the 110th minute of the match, Zinedine Zidane launched a headbutt at Marco Materazzi’s chest.
Zidane famously walked past the world cup trophy towards the dressing room, and a photo of that exact moment when he was passing through the world cup trophy became a legend in world cup history. Italy defeated France on penalties to lift the trophy.
It was later confirmed by Materazzi that he insulted Zidane’s sister, which provoked the French footballer.
1: A deadly own goal – 1994
The biggest tragedy in world cup football history happened just after the 1994 world cup. Colombia, one of the dark horses to win the tournament, began the tournament on the positive note. But their campaign ended in an absolute disaster as they were knocked out at the group stage after losing to hosts USA.
Colombia’s captain, Andres Escobar, scored an own goal to put USA ahead in the game, before the South America team eventually lost the game 2-1.
After the world cup, while on a night out, Andres Escobar was shot and killed by armed gunmen for the own goal.
Escobar’s death shocked the whole world, and while there were speculations that he was killed by drug mafias for resulting in their loss of money, no one knows the real reason behind the murder.