As the late, great, Sir Jimmy Greaves used to say “it’s a funny old game”. Football. Never in human history has a sport generated so much fervor, fandom or tribalism. As most of us have seen, heard or experienced, a typical game will ensure any doting fan will be wrung through the full spectrum of emotions; anger, fear, surprise, joy, despair and ecstasy, to name but a few. At its finest or worst, it can bring even the most emotionally disconnected human to tears. It’s also arguably one of the greatest equalizers amongst people. It doesn’t matter the language, culture or race, humans connect over football – it’s a language all of its own. So, with that all being said, and with the 2018 campaign about to kick off, we bring to you ten of the best moments, captured as World Cup prints to help you relieve the footballing glories of old…and knowing football, cause a debate or two in the process!
We’re kicking off in 1966, the only time England has taken the honours. With Bobby Moore holding the World cup after a 4-2 victory over Germany in the final. England has had some outstanding individuals since, there’s been some great team performances, and England has often been hyped to win, but what this team achieved has never been recreated. It was a different time and a different game back then, but even though this team had as much finesse, style and skill as most today; they had grit, and they’re still England’s finest team.
The man, the myth, the legend. It just wouldn’t be right to have a top ten World Cup prints without Pele. This famous Brazilian who gifted the world bicycle kick goals – often touted as one of the most difficult skills to execute in football – is regarded as one of the all time greats, garnering as much respect off the pitch as on. The man had so much magic, he even managed to halt a civil war in Nigeria. Here we have a different kind of magic though. With Pele scoring in the final of the 1970 World Cup against Italy, he was doing what he did best, and as a result became the only player in history to have won the World Cup three times.
1970 gets two spots in the top ten. Pele gets two and so does Bobby Moore. This isn’t just one of the greatest World cup prints, it’s also one of the finest moments in sport, captured on film. Articles have been written about this moment in sporting history, the sportsmanship, respect and camaraderie of two of the beautiful games finest.
You could cut the tension with a knife. Whereas a giant wall normally stood between East and West Germany, in the last game of group 1, the two German teams met with only referees between them. The cold war was in full swing and this highly anticipated match had elevated beyond “just a game” before a ball had even been kicked. West Germany had already qualified, East Germany went on to win the match 1-0 and the resulting shake up of the West German team spurred them on to victory in the competition, which included overcoming the total football system of their highly regarded finalist opponents, the Netherlands.
This was a “David Vs. Goliath” moment in the 1978 World Cup. Archie Gemmill of Scotland in the process of putting one of Scotland’s three goals past the Netherlands keeper, Jan Jongbloed in their 3-2 win over one of the period’s best football teams. Scotland’s run in the 1978 was like a Roller-coaster, the Netherlands ended up qualifying, squeezing out Scotland in the process and then making it to their second final in two competitions. Scotland went home early, but this game will be a sweet spot in many a Scottish fans hearts and minds.
The ref had to of seen it! Captured mere fractions of a second before the World Cup’s most infamous moment. The “Hand of God”…Well, Diego Maradona to be precise. God to the Argentinian fans, Satan to the English. The first of two goals in Maradona Vs. England in the quarter finals of the 1986 competition. As far as world cup prints go, this picture has to paint a thousand words, be they ones of profanity or praise.
Roger Milla. Undoubtedly one of the heroes of the 1990 World Cup. Milla, along with the rest of the Cameroon team quickly became fan favourites through their sheer will, determination and passion…plus they’d kicked lumps out of Argentina in the qualifiers beating them 0-1. At 38, Milla wa no spring chicken but he certainly acted like it, with displays like the one above in Cameroon’s 2-1 win over Columbia, scoring both goals in that match and four goals in the competition. He helped Cameroon earn a place in the history books as Africa’s first nation to win a knockout round and enter the quarter finals of the competition. At 42, Roger also went on to earn the record for the competitions oldest goal scorer in the 1994 World Cup with his solitary goal against Russia.
The moment before Zinedine Zidane’s well connected header put France into the lead over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final. France were the hosts, the team was brimming with outstanding players and had enjoyed an easy qualifying group. They nearly choked though, scraping their way through the knockout rounds to face a Brazilian team that had been generally scoring for fun. Zidane’s goal changed the game, France found their confidence and they put a very good Brazilian team (to be fair, when are they not a good team?!) to the sword, winning the final 3-0 and securing France’s name in the history books as the seventh nation to lift the hallowed trophy.
Is it taking one for the team, or just plain cheating? The most controversial moment of a controversial competition and yet everything went by the book. The 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the competition that brought us vuvuzelas, Spain teaching the Netherlands and the rest of the World what “Total Football” looks like, Arjen Robben auditioning for a role in Hollywood and an African nation being denied a spot in the semi-finals for the first time by another South American using his hands. Luis Suarez, a player normally associated with scoring goals and biting people, saw the red card. Ghana missed the penalty and Uruguay went on to win on penalties. It was hard not to feel an injustice had been dealt against Ghana.
Seeking revenge for their final defeat at the hands of Spain in the 2010 World Cup final , the Netherlands didn’t get off to the start they’d hoped for in the opening match of Group B, going a goal down to Spain within 30 minutes. Robin Van Persie had other ideas though, seemingly conjuring the abilities of Superman to score one of the tournaments best goals, a superb flying header that lobbed the Spanish Keeper, Iker Casillas, who could do nothing to stop the ball flying into the back of the net. RVP went on to score the fourth goal in a 5-1 demolition of the reigning champions, helping to send them home early.
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