The FIFA World Cup will finally get underway on Sunday, November 20 in Qatar and it would be the hosts who would go up against Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament. The competition will go up for almost one month, with the final slated to be played on December 18 at the Lusail Stadium. There has been a lot of noise regarding the choice of Qatar as the hosts of the tournament and it is the first time, that the World Cup will be played in the months of November and December.
This is not the first time that a controversy has erupted surrounding FIFA World Cup, as a matter of fact, the tournament has witnessed its fair share of controversial moments. Here we look at five controversial moments that took place in the tournament’s history.
1. Diego Maradona’s Goal (Hand Of God) in 1986 World Cup
This moment is etched in the history books of the FIFA World Cup as Maradona registered a handling goal in the quarterfinal against England in 1986. The Argentine maverick was standing in an offside position and in order to defeat England’s Peter Shilton who was taller than him, Maradona raised his fist to punch the ball beyond the England goalkeeper into the net.
The referee and linesman missed the handball, and the goal stood. Argentina took a 1-0 lead, and four minutes later, Maradona registered another goal to give his team a 2-0 lead. In his autobiography many years later, Maradona went on to write: “Now I can say what I couldn’t at that moment, what I defined at that time as The Hand of God. What hand of God? It was the hand of Diego.”
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2. South Korea’s semi-final run in 2002 World Cup
This was the first time that an Asian country was hosting the FIFA World Cup. South Korea and Japan were co-hosting the tournament. Hosts South Korea progressed to the semi-final, but their matches against Italy and Spain continue to be scrutinised. Then FIFA President Sepp Blatter had also come out publically, where he admitted that officiating in the knockouts was a disaster. In the match between Italy and South Korea, referee Byron Moreno had disallowed a legitimate goal and then he sent off Francesco Totti for a non-existent dive. On the other hand, Spain were denied two legitimate goals in the quarterfinal.
3. Zinedine Zidane Head-butt moment in 2006 World Cup
This was the last time that French talisman Zinedine Zidane was playing a FIFA World Cup. His side had also managed to reach the finals, and they were playing the summit clash against Italy. The finale was a gripping contest, and just minutes before the match looked set to go into penalties, Zidane and Italy’s Marco Materazzi were involved in one of the most talked about incidents in the tournament’s history.
Zidane was sent off, and at first, no one understood why he was shown a red card. However, moments later, replays showed that Zidane had head-butted Materazzi. No one clearly understood why Zidane had decided to do that, but a few years later, the Italian admitted to have made remarks about Zidane’s sister. France had gone on to lose the 2006 World Cup final.
4. 2006 FIFA World Cup Match between Portugal and Netherlands
This match is famously known as Battle Of Nuremberg. The match between Portugal and Netherlands was a round of 16 affair and the Russian referee Valentin Ivanov went on to register a FIFA World Cup record as he issued four red cards and 16 yellow cards during the game. It was Portugal that came out on top, but years later, no one seems to remember the result, rather everyone talks about the hostility that was on offer.
After the game, FIFA President Sepp Blatter suggested that the referee should have shown a yellow card to himself as he had no control over the game.
5. Luis Suarez‘s last-minute handball against Ghana in 2010 World Cup
The tournament was being played in South Africa, and Ghana had a dream run as they managed to reach the quarter-finals. The challenge of Uruguay awaited in the knockout match, and Ghana was doing very well to say the least. Ghana had gained a free kick and it was then that Suarez denied Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah‘s header blatantly with his hands at the goalpost.
Suarez was then shown a red card, and Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan failed to convert the penalty as he hit the crossbar, sparking celebrations from Suarez halfway down the tunnel. In the end, Uruguay managed to edge past Ghana on penalties to progress to the semi-finals.
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