10 Most Violent World Cup Moments
World Cup is where the best players in the world showcase their talent. This event after every four years brings out what we love about this game. Over the years, the World Cup has given us countless moments to remember. However the pressure of the occasion can bring out the worst in both teams and players. So let’s take a stroll down memory lane and recall ten of the ugliest incidents this beautiful game has ever witnessed.
Portugal vs Netherlands-2006 World Cup
Four red cards and sixteen yellow cards were issued in this game. I guess players from both sides decided the best way to win was to kick each other instead of the ball. Portugal eventually won 1-0 but the Battle of Nuremberg will forever be remembered as an encounter in which more cards were issued than any other World Cup game in history.
Nigel De Jong vs Xabi Alonso-2010 World Cup Final (Netherlands vs Spain)
There are two moments that I remember more than any other from the last World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands. One is the goal by Iniesta and his celebratory tribute to Daniel Jarque. Second was the kick that Nigel De Jong planted squarely on Xabi Alonso’s chest. It was a horrendous kick and how the Dutch player got away with only a yellow card is still a mystery.
Mauro Tassotti vs Luis Enrique-1994 World Cup (Italy vs Spain)
How do you make your presence felt in your very first World Cup? Majority would say by making the right impression. Here the Italian Mauro Tassotti might have misunderstood what “right impressions” mean. In the 1994 World Cup quarterfinal against Spain, he elbowed Luis Enrique so hard that he broke the Spaniards nose. The referee somehow didn’t reprimand Tassotti but FIFA banned him for eight games and he didn’t play in another World Cup again. That’s what you call going out with a Bang!
Uruguay in the 1986 World Cup
After getting thumped by Denmark 6-1 and drawing with Germany 1-1, Uruguay came into their game against Scotland with both teams having a chance to make it to the next round. Uruguay’s game against Germany was an ill-tempered affair but the game against Scotland turned out to be something else altogether.
Jose Batista took out Gordon Strachan with a tackle from behind only 56 seconds into the game. Scotland needed a win to advance to the next round but the South Americans didn’t let that happen; they fouled and elbowed the Scots at every opportunity. The game ended without a goal and Uruguayans were slapped with a nine thousand pound fine by FIFA for what their role in the games against Germany and Scotland.
Muhamed Mujic vs Eduard Dubinski-1962 World Cup ( Yugoslavia vs USSR)
In the 1962 World Cup Muhamed Mujic broke the leg of Eduard Dubinski. It was a horrific tackle that unbelievably went unpunished by the referee. The sheer brutality of it forced the Yugoslav federation to ban Mujic for a year, which practically ended his career. Seven years later Dubinski passed away due to a sarcoma that developed in his leg due to that injury. Yes, Mujic never played for his country again but it was Dubinski who paid the ultimate price.
Harald Schumacher vs Patrick Battiston-1982 World Cup Semifinal (Germany vs France)
In the 1982 World Cup semifinal, Germany came up against France. The German goalkeeper collided with France’s Patrick Battiston with the latter losing consciousness. Battiston lost three teeth and had to be stretchered off the pitch. That incident has divided opinion to this very day about whether it was deliberate or not. Battiston went into a coma but recovered. A poll was carried out in France and Schumacher topped the poll as the most hated man in the country. The second spot in the poll went to Adolf Hitler.
Antonio Rattin-1966 World Cup Quarterfinal (England vs Argentina)
For people who don’t know how and when the rivalry between England and Argentina began, this is the moment that started it all. German referee Rudolf Kreitlein sent off the Argentine captain Antonio Rattin in the last quarterfinal against England but he wouldn’t go off the pitch easily. He sat on the red carpet that was there for the Queen. Two policemen had to come and literally drag him off but not before Rattin spit on the carpet. The reason for his outburst? He thought the German referee was favoring the English. Someone should have told him that miracles just don’t happen and especially where Germans support the English.
Hungary vs Brazil-1954 World Cup Quarterfinal
Hungary and Brazil were the two flair teams of the 1954 World Cup and were pitted against each other in the last eight of the tournament. First it was some Brazilian journalists who stormed the pitch in the second half when the Hungarians were awarded a penalty.
Then Nilton Santos and Jozsef Bozsik decided to have their own boxing match on the pitch. Both got sent-off. It didn’t ended there, as players from both teams began to slug it out in the dying moments of the encounter and the fight continued in the dressing room as well. A whopping forty two free kicks, four yellow cards, three red cards and two penalties were awarded in what to this day remains as one of the ugliest soccer games of all time.
The Battle of Santiago-Italy vs Chile-1962 World Cup
Ken Aston, the referee of the game between Italy and Chile was a World War II veteran and even he was stunned by what transpired on the pitch that day. Eight minutes into the game, Italian Giorgio Ferrini got his marching orders but he took four minutes to get off the field and that too only after the police intervened. Leonel Sanchez from Chile then blasted Mario David with a punch but wasn’t punished for it. David however retaliated with a foul afterwards and was sent off.
Sanchez wasn’t done yet and he delivered a left hook to Humberto Maschio and broke his nose. Astonishingly he wasn’t sent off for that either as the ref missed the incident. Police had to intervene multiple times during the encounter to restore order. Chile won the game 2-0. Aston invented yellow and red cards years later and how he wished he had those in Santiago that day. Don’t think that would have made any difference though.
Zinedine Zidane- 2006 World Cup Final (France vs Italy)
This wasn’t as brutal as some of the other incidents on this list but it sure is worth a mention since it brought the curtain down on a legendary career in a not so glorious way. The iconic Zinedine Zidane had arguably been the player of the tournament. In what was his last World Cup, he had almost singlehandedly taken France to the final. Billions around the world were glued to their television screens to see if Zidane could do something extraordinary once again. He duly delivered but it wasn’t exactly the kind his fans were hoping for.
Here is how it all went down for Zizou. Zidane scored to give France the lead in the seventh minute. Marco Materazzi equalized for Italy in the nineteenth minute. It was in extra time with the score still leveled, Zidane lost his cool when Materazzi made some insulting remarks about the French legend’s sister. Zidane’s response was to head butt his adversary in the chest. The Italian fell to the ground and Zidane was sent off in his last ever competitive game. Italy won the World Cup after a penalty shootout but not before Zidane had stolen the spotlight one last time.
These are my ten most violent moments in World Cup history in no particular order. These incidents are a stark reminder that emotions get the better of even the best in the business. It is a sport after all and like all other sports in the world, it is played by humans, who can be unpredictable.
The floor is yours to comment. Let’s hear what you have to say about this.