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The 1982 World Cup in Spain was the first one for Diego Maradona when he was almost 22. After winning against Hungary 4-1 and El Salvador 2-0, Argentina qualified for the second round. There, they lost the first match against Italy 1-2 and 1-3 against Brazil. On the second match, Diego Maradona kicked Brazilian player Joao Batista da Silva and was sent off in the 85th minute. Brasilian player had been on the pitch for two minutes only. The World Cup for El Diego was over. Argentina was out of the tournament too.

Michel VautrotItaly - Argentina 1-1 (3-4)
1990 World Cup in Italy, 1/2 final

In the Italy-Argentina semi-final, the referee Michel Vautrot from France added eight minutes of injury time in the first half of extra time. In the fourth minute of this extended period Ricardo Giusti from Argentina received his second yellow card and was sent off. Therefore the game was delayed for minutes more. The referee, later said that he forgot about the time.
Michel Vautrot is one of the best French referees ever. He took charge of World Cup matches in 1982 and 1990.


Portugal - Netherlands 1-0 (23' Nuno Maniche)
2006 World Cup in Germany, Second Round
Referee: Valentin Ivanov (Russia)
16 Yellow cards (Van Bommel, Boulahrouz, Maniche, Costinha, Costinha, Pauleta, Van Bronckhorst, Figo, Boulahrouz, Deco, Sneijder, van der Vaart, Ricardo, Valente, Deco, Van Bronckhorst)
4 Red cards (Costinha, Boulahrouz, Deco, Van Bronckhorst)



David Trezeguet, missed penalty at the 2006 World Cup FinalThe 2006 FIFA World Cup Final between Italy and France was decided on penalties. After 120 minutes regular and extra time the result was 1-1 (goals by Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi). Before the penalty shoot-out there was another classic moment that won’t be forgotten by the football fans. Zinedine Zidane’s red card.


France player David Trezeguet was the only player from both teams to miss a penalty kick. In the second round of penalties, Trezeguet hit the crossbar. Italy won 5-3 and it was their fourth World Cup title.

After the match, Trezeguet said:
Penalties are part of the game. I accepted my responsibility. It's part of football to accept your responsibility. We have to hold our heads high. We know we've had a good World Cup but it was all defined by this penalty.



Photo by: Getty Images

Unofficial World Cup stickers

For the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, four countries from Asia were invited to participate in the qualifiers. The Philippines, Indonesia, Burma and India. Because the first three teams withdrew from the qualifiers, India qualified automatically. India was placed in a group with champions Italy, and also Paraguay and Sweden. But, India refused to participate in the tournament because FIFA forbade any of the players to compete barefoot.

Wikipedia:
Burma, the Philippines and Indonesia all withdrew, so India qualified automatically. However, India withdrew later following a FIFA ruling that players were not allowed to play barefoot. India had never been able to qualify for the World Cup before and have never been able to do since then, which means they are the only team to have qualified for the World Cup and that never played a World Cup match.


Beckham's Red CardEngland - Argentina (FIFA World Cup 1998 in France)
David Beckham (England) vs Diego Simeone (Argentina)
Referee: Kim Milton Nielsen (Denmark)
Red card: David Beckham




Diego Simeone:
I think anyone would have done so in just the same way.

David Beckham:
Simeone went down as if he'd been shot. My first thought was, I've made a big mistake here.



Hand of God goal by Diego MaradonaProbably, you know the most controversial goal in one World Cup match. So-called "Hand of God" goal scored by Diego Armando Maradona in a quarter-final between Argentina and England (2-1) at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. His second goal at the same match was voted as the Goal of the Century by FIFA.com voters in 2002.

Maradona won the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament and Argentina win the 1986 World Cup with a victory over West Germany in the final match.


Here is the description of the goal from Wikipedia:

Six minutes into the second half, Maradona cut inside from the right flank and played a diagonal low pass to the edge of the area to team-mate Jorge Valdano and continued his run in the hope of a one-two movement. Maradona's pass, however, was played slightly behind Valdano and reached England's Steve Hodge, the left midfielder who had dropped back to defend.

Hodge, tried to hook the ball clear but miscued it. The ball screwed off his foot and into the penalty area, toward Maradona, who had continued his run. England goalkeeper Peter Shilton came out of his goal to punch the ball clear, with his considerable height (1.85 m), making him clear favourite to beat Maradona (1.65 m). However, Maradona reached it first, with the outside of his left fist. The ball went into the goal, and the referee (Tunisian Ali Bin Nasser), not having seen the infringement, allowed the goal.

After the match, Maradona said that the goal was scored:
...a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.



Zinedine Zidane's headbutt at the 2006 World Cup FinalThe score was 1-1 when Zidane was given a red card in the 110th minute of the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France. French captain Zinedine Zidane and Italian defender Marco Materazzi got into a verbal confrontation and Zidane went up to Materazzi and unexpectedly headbutted him in the chest. He was sent off and did not participate in the penalty shootout. Italy won 5–3. After few weeks, Zidane said he headbutted Materazzi during overtime after Italian player insulted his sister.

Before the final match, Zidane was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. It was Zizou’s last World Cup and the World Cup final was his last professional football match.


Josip Simunic's three yellow cardsAt the 2006 World Cup group match between Croatia and Australia (2-2), English referee Graham Poll showed Croatian defender Josip Simunic three yellow cards. Poll failed to send off Simunic for a second yellow card, sending him off for a third yellow for dissent at the final whistle.

Simunic was booked first in the 61st minute, than in the 89th minute and finally in the 93rd minute when Poll showed him red card. After second yellow card, Simunic realised that the referee had not shown him a red card and he stayed on the pitch.


After the match, Graham Poll said:
In the 89th minute when I produced the yellow, I wrote down the right jersey number but the wrong name. I had inadvertantly given the yellow to the Australian number 3, Craig Moore. This is the first time something like this has happened to me in my 26 year long career.
After 2006 World Cup in Germany, Graham Poll, whose nickname is The Thing from Tring, retired from international refereeing. In his career he refereed at two World Cup tournaments, Euro 2000 and the 2005 World Club Championship.

Arsenal supporters heckle Graham Poll
Arsenal supporters heckle Graham Poll


Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) performed by Shakira, Columbian pop star, has been chosen as the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The song features South African group Freshlyground and will be performed at the closing ceremony in Johanessburg on July 11.

"You’re a good soldier, choosing your battles..."
War song lyric? Hmm, no! This is the opening line of the offical song of football world cup.
Here is the chorus that is borrowed from the popular song “Zangaléwa” by the Cameroonian band Golden Sounds:
Tsamina mina, Zangalewa, Cuz this is Africa
Tsamina mina eh eh, Waka Waka eh eh
Tsamina mina zangalewa, This time for Africa!


Why did FIFA think "She Wolf" would be the right singer for the official theme? Why did FIFA think Waka Waka is a good song? Waka Waka is a garbage!

West Germany - Argentina (FIFA World Cup Final 1990 in Italy)
Referee: Eduardo Codesal (Mexico)
Actor: Jurgen Klinsmann
Argentinian player: Pedro Monzon



Vanity Fair magazine is releasing 2010 World Cup issue featuring 11 footballers, giving the cover to Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal) and Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Ivory Coast). Annie Leibovitz traveled to Milan, Madrid, London and Brooklyn for the photo shoots.

From Vanity Fair’s Blog:
For the June issue of Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz set out to capture some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, Ghana’s Sulley Muntari, the U.S.A.’s Landon Donovan, Brazil’s Kaká and Pato, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Serbia’s Dejan Stankovic, England’s Carlton Cole, and Germany’s Michael Ballack. Leibovitz’s portraits are, well, revealing. And underwear has never looked so patriotic.

Football players or models?Photograph by Annie Lebovitz - image from vanityfair.com


Mwepu Ilunga is a former football defender from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and member in the first black African team at the World Cup. They lost their first game against Scotland 2-0, the second 9-0 against Yugoslavia and third game against Brazil 3-0 in group matches during 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany.

He became famous during the third match when there was a free-kick for Brazil. Ilunga, upon hearing the referee blow his whistle, ran out of the Zaire wall and booted the ball upfield. The referee gave him a yellow card. Surprisingly, Ilunga disagrees with this decision.



Diana Ross at the opening ceremony of the 1994 World CupThe opening ceremony at FIFA World Cup 1994 in USA provided a number of classic moments. Like Oprah Winfrey who fell off the podium while presenting. Or Diana Ross.
At the end of her performance, she had to put the ball from 11m. into an exploding goal frame that will reflect the power of her shooting.
And guess? She failed. The worst penalty miss of all time.



1994 World Cup in USA will be remembered by awful shirts.
The worst of the worst list:

1. Goalkeeper of Mexico, Jorge Campos
Goalkeeper of Mexico, Jorge Campos2. USA
USA 1994 team shirt3. Nigeria
Nigeria shirt at world cup 1994