There have been a number of memorable FIFA World Cup matches over the years involving some great teams. These games have contributed to the writing of World Cup history, from brilliant goals to amazing moments. Starting with Uruguay, Brazil, and over 200,000 spectators crowded into the stadium in 1950, the story is told chronologically. Let’s take a look at the top 10 World Cup games.
1950 – Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1
The 1950 format was slightly different, with the four group winners moving on to another group round to determine the winner. Brazil entered the game having defeated Sweden and Spain by scores of 7-1 and 6-1, respectively, so they only needed a draw to win the World Cup. Since several local media in Brazil, where the event was held, printed their success early, they were certain of winning. However, Uruguay had other plans.
Brazil took a 1-0 lead just after halftime thanks to a goal from Friaca in front of a record crowd of nearly 200,000 at the Estadio do Maracana. With two goals from Juan Alberto Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia in the final 25 minutes, Uruguay rallied from a deficit. Pele, the first international star in football, sobbed after the game. He then won three out of the following five World Cups.
1966 – England beat West Germany 4-2
Even before the first ball was kicked, the 1966 tournament had its fair share of controversy. The trophy was taken, a copy was manufactured, and then Pickles the dog discovered the original in a hedge. The tournament was held in England, where the performances of athletes like Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore helped the hosts advance to the championship match versus West Germany.
And it continues to be one of the contentious games in both football and the rivalry between Germany and England. This is significant because of the one minute of added time. Geoff Hurst’s strike into the crossbar and down into the line in the 101st minute was adjudged to have crossed the line by Russian linesman Tofiq Bahramov, giving the English a 3-2 lead.
The Germans pushed everyone upfield as time ran out. Geoff Hurst then broke free and slammed the ball into the top corner to give England a 4-2 victory. They think it’s all over, and it is now, as Kenneth Wolstenholme famously remarked in his commentary.
1970 – Brazil beat England 1-0
Due in major part to the presence of Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino, and Carlos Alberto, Brazil was the tournament favorite. England, the reigning champions, were not anticipated to match up well against the team in yellow. The only goal was scored by Jairzinho in the 59th minute, ending the English defense’s heroic performance. Brazil scored three or four goals in every other game during the tournament, so the English effort merits praise in one of the best FIFA World Cup matches ever.
1970 – Italy beat West Germany 4-3
In order to face Brazil in the World Cup final, Italy actually had to participate in one of the tournament’s best games. This match is frequently referred to as “the match of the century.” Italy appeared to have won the match against West Germany in the semi-final after scoring in the eighth minute. But Karl-Heinz Schnellinger’s equalizer in the 90th minute of extra time forced extra time. There was going to be mayhem.
1982 – Italy beat Brazil 3-2
Because of this memorable match in which they were eliminated by Italy, the 1982 Brazil team is recognized as the best World Cup champions ever. Zico, Socrates, and the amazing Brazilians faced a tenacious Italian defense and the erratic talent of Paolo Rossi during the second round of group stages.
1982 – West Germany drew with France 3-3 (Won 5-4 on penalties)
This battle, which took place in the 1982 World Cup semifinals was one of the best FIFA World Cup matches, had plenty of goals and one contentious incident. Germany got off to a quick start, scoring in the 17th minute despite being without Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, perhaps their finest player, for the rest of the game due to a hamstring injury. Ten minutes later, a Platini penalty gave France the equalizer. Nothing could separate the two sides at the 90-second mark.
1986 – Argentina beat England 2-1
This game, more than any other, polarised views on Diego Maradona’s brilliance. In the span of four minutes, he produced two of the most memorable World Cup moments. He created the first shortly after halftime; it is known simply as “the Hand of God.” Maradona managed to get to the ball before English goalkeeper Peter Shilton following a poor clearance. He used his hand to cross across Shilton’s extended arm, and the referee approved of it, was the answer.
2010 – Uruguay drew Ghana 1-1 (Won 4-2 on penalties)
Ghana was the heartwarming tale of the 2010 tournament because often African teams don’t advance that far. Uruguay was their opponent in this quarterfinal. Sulley Muntari scored a screamer from 40 yards just before halftime of a back-and-forth game. Then, in the 55th minute, Diego Forlan tied the score with a free kick. Since the score was tied at 1, additional time was required.
The drama was left till the very end of extra time. Ghana started the attack by kicking a free kick into the penalty area. The ball then bounced around till Luis Suarez committed a handball to prevent one particular goal. Asamoah Gyan slammed his penalty into the crossbar with the game’s final kick. Despite still having a chance in the penalty shootout, the Ghanaians were devastated while the Uruguayans were ecstatic.
2014 – Netherlands beat Spain 5-1
Spain was the defending World Cup winner and was anticipated to compete. They faced the Netherlands in a replay of the tournament’s championship game in their opening game. They had a good start. After 30 minutes, Xabi Alonso converted a penalty to give Spain a 1-0 lead, and none anticipated the avalanche that would soon befall them. In fact, the second goal’s class ought to have been a sign of things to come.
2014 – Germany beat Brazil 7-1
There were high expectations for Brazil and Neymar at their home World Cup. And by making it to the semifinals, they were sort of delivering. Germany was their opponent, and it was anticipated that the game would be close, but the outcome was clear after 30 minutes. This has to rank among the best World Cup performances ever for the absolute annihilation of an opponent at this stage of the competition.
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