The countdown has begun to the 21st Football World Cup, running 14 June to 15 July in Russia, and the world will be watching as history is made. It is a wonderful global platform to showcase the indomitable spirit of humanity, a time when the world unites in celebration of this great sport. There are many moments that will be remembered for years to come, here are a few of the best in previous World Cup history.
Best Soccer Moments
1. Hand of God
While this might not be the best moment for the majority of soccer-fuelled nations, it was certainly a great moment for Argentina. Or, at least, a very, very memorable moment. It was during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico that one of the best soccer players the game has known – Diego Maradona – performed the most infamous incident in World Cup history. The Argentinian used his hand mid-jump to score against England during the quarter finals and the goal was awarded. Maradona told reporters afterwards that he was assisted by the ‘Hand of God’.
2. Siphiwe Tshabalala opens 2010
South Africa was gripped with the festive, ‘wave your flag’ and ‘hug your neighbour’ national fever as the 2010 Soccer World Cup kicked off – quite literally – as Siphiwe “Shabba” Tshabalala scored one of the ‘most beautiful goals in the world’ against Mexico. A truly unifying moment.
3. Zizou’s three World Cup ‘headers’
The Frenchman with the most captivating name, Zinedine ‘Zizou’ Zidane, buried two headers in the first half of the game against Brazil in 1998 to clinched a 3-0 win. His third World Cup header in 2006, however, saw the French hero red-carded – primarily because he headed Italian midfield Marco Materazzi. Apparently Materazzi said something not-so-gentlemanly about Zidane’s sister and received a forceful headbutt for his efforts. Unfortunately, Italy went on to win on penalty kicks.
4. Two World Wars and One World Cup
It was the 1966 World Cup final. England were taking on historical enemies, the West Germans, in London. It was a hard-fought battle and the apparent underdogs, England, were gunning for their first shot at the World Cup hardware. Their efforts paid off and they went on to win the game 4-2 after the game went into extra time, spurning the well-known soccer ditty ‘Two World Wars and One World Cup’.
5. The Senegal victory shirt dance
Another wonderfully lyric name in the world of football, Papa Bouba Diop, led his Senegalese team to victory against the colonial nemesis, France at the 2002 World Cup. Papa Bouba Diop – his name needs to be said in full – shot home the winning goal, but that might not have been the greatest moment of the match. Papa Bouba Diop then went on to whip off his shirt, throw it on the ground and – joined by his energised team – danced around the shirt as if worshipping its magical powers. Just a wonderful moment in history.
6. Cameroon to World Cup finals in 1990
It was 1990 and defending champions, Argentina, expected the quarter-final against Cameroon to be a walk over. Wrong. Francois Omam-Biyik’s scored the winning goal which set them on a football-fantastic journey, culminating in a classic quarter-final meeting with England.
7. South Korea stuns Italy
It was the 2002 World Cup when host nation, South Korea, took on the revered Italian side in what was expected to be a bit of a whitewash. Italy scored early, but by the 88th minute, South Korea had tied the game An then Ahn Jung Hwan spun a header into a goal in the 117th minute to secure the home-side win.
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Soccer World Cup Group Previews and Predictions
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group A (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group B (Portugal, Spain, Morocco, IR Iran)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group C (France, Australia, Peru, Denmark)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group D (Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group E (Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group F (Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group G (Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group H (Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan)