A headbutt. A ‘Hand of God.’ A biting incident. The World Cup’s 10 craziest moments.
Something bonkers happens at every FIFA World Cup.
The type of moments that make you scream, “what just happened?!?”
MEET TEAM USA: See the 26 players going to the 2022 World Cup
WORLD CUP SCHEDULE: Games, latest news and updated analysis
WORLD CUP QUIZ: Test your knowledge of soccer’s biggest event
From David Beckham’s ejection during the 1998 World Cup and Diego Maradona’s famous “Hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup to Zinedine Zidane’s shocking headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final, here’s a look at the craziest moments from previous World Cups.
10. Frank Lampard’s non-goal vs. Germany
World Cup: 2010
Game: Germany over England, 4-1 (Round of 16)
Location: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Karma is a funny thing. In the 1966 World Cup final, England scored a controversial goal in a 4-2 win over Germany. Forty-four years later, England had what it thought to be a goal not ruled a goal. With Germany up 2-1 late in the first half of a knockout round game, England’s Frank Lampard appeared to even the score with a shot that bounced off the top goalpost. No call for goal was made by the referee, and German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer quickly retrieved the ball and promptly heaved it forward for a counterattack. If VAR existed then, it most likely would have been reviewed and ruled a goal. Instead, it wasn’t, and Germany wound up rolling to victory and delivering more World Cup heartbreak for England.
9. David Beckham’s red card
World Cup: 1998
Game: Argentina over England, 2-2 (4-3 on penalties in Round of 16)
Location: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne, France
With the score tied 2-2 early in the second half, David Beckham was fouled by Diego Simeone, who pushed Beckham in the back while getting up. Beckham, while lying on the ground, swept his leg at Simeone, who fell over. All of this transpired right in front
of the referee, who offered a yellow card to Simeone and sent off Becks. The moment overshadowed what was a tremendous goal by the “Boy Wonder,” Michael Owen to give England a 2-1 lead.
8. Tumult for Les Bleus
World Cup: 2010
Game: Mexico over France, 2-0
Location: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane, South Africa
France’s World Cup experience in 2010 was wrapped in controversy before it even began. In the second leg of a qualification playoff against Ireland, Thierry Henry appeared to handle the ball in the lead up to the winning goal (Henry’s very own “Hand of God”). During a loss to Mexico in the second game of the group stage, Nicolas Anelka unleashed a profanity-laced tirade at coach Raymond Domenech and was sent home after refusing to apologize. The next day, team captain Patrice Evra got into a heated argument with a trainer and was later dropped for the final group stage game (a loss to South Africa). Players boycotted training for a day to protest the dismissal of Anelka, who it was announced later would never be chosen to play for France. All 23 members of the French World Cup team were suspended for its next game, a friendly against Norway. In addition to the end of Anelka’s international career, four others received severe bans, including Evra, Franck Ribery, Jeremy Toulalan and Eric Abidal.
7. Andres Escobar’s own goal
World Cup: 1994
Game: U.S. over Colombia, 2-1 (group play)
Location: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Andres Escobar’s own goal in the 35th minute gave the underdog United States a 1-0 advantage, on which it would add a second goal before prevailing 2-1. The U.S. would advance out of the group to reach the knockout stage – it’s first such foray into the
knockout rounds since the 1930 World Cup. A once-promising World Cup ended in pain for Colombia, which bowed out after three games. Just days after elimination, Escobar was murdered in his native Medellin.
6. Luis Suarez bites Giorgio Chiellini
World Cup: 2014
Game: Uruguay over Italy, 1-0 (group stage)
Location: Arena das Dunas, Natal, Brazil
Entering the 2014 World Cup, Uruguayan star striker Luis Suarez already had a reputation for biting opponents. In 2010 while playing for Ajax, Suarez bit a PSV Eindhoven player and was suspended seven games. In 2013 while playing for Liverpool, Suarez bit a Chelsea player and was suspended for 10 games. This biting incident of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup resulted in a four-month suspension from all soccer-related activities.
5. Battle of Nuremberg
World Cup: 2006
Game: Portugal over Netherlands, 1-0
Location: Frankenstadion, Nuremberg, Germany
This brutal Round of 16 showdown featured a World Cup-record four red cards and 16 yellow cards. Take a look at this video recap of the carnage; come for the tackles and rough play, stay for the early era Metallica soundtrack. Portugal advanced, but card accumulation caught up to them as the tournament progressed. Portugal would wind up with two players suspended for the quarterfinal (a win over England) and the semifinal (a loss to France).
4. Brazil embarrassed on home soil
World Cup: 2014
Game: Germany over Brazil, 7-1
Location: Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
As host nation, Brazil was expected to win the 2014 World Cup. Instead, those hopes and dreams were shattered during the most extraordinary rout in World Cup history. By the time halftime hit, Germany was up 5-0 and many casual observers were probably feeling sorry for Brazil. The nightmare wasn’t over. Germany scored two more goals before Brazil got some measure of pride back with a 90th minute goal. Germany, of course, wound up winning the World Cup. The misery continued for Brazil, however, as the Seleção were humiliated again in the third-place game, a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands.
3. U.S. shocks England
World Cup: 1950
Game: U.S. over England, 1-0
Location: Estádio Independência, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
In 1950, association football was lost in the American sporting wilderness. The glory days of the American Soccer League were nearly two decades in the past and the NASL was nearly two decades from existence. There was no professional soccer in the U.S., and most of the nation’s top players had full-time jobs and played some soccer on the side. So, when the U.S. somehow qualified for its only World Cup in a 56-year span, it cobbled together a squad of semi-pro players. After a 3-1 setback to Spain in its tournament opener, there was little hope for the U.S. in its next game against the “Kings of Football.” However, a goal by Joe Gaetjens — a Haitian living in New York City at the time — in the 38th minute and the stubborn goalkeeping of Frank Borghi kept the “clean sheet” as the U.S. pulled off the greatest upset in World
2. Hand of God
World Cup: 1986
Game: Argentina over England, 2-1 (quarterfinal)
Location: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
Diego Maradona scored both of Argentina’s goals in the win, but it was the opener that is one of the most controversial moments in World Cup history. Maradona beat England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to the ball and appeared to punch it into the goal. Maradona’s goal was so incredible that it was voted the “World Cup Goal of the Century” in 2002. Galvanized by the “Hand of God,” Argentina went on to win the World Cup.
1. Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt
World Cup: 2006
Game: Italy over France, 1-1 (5-3 on penalties in final)
Location: Olympiastadion, Berlin
It’s hard to imagine scenarios in which the greatest players in their respective sports are ejected while on the cusp of a career-capping championship triumph. Imagine John Elway or Peyton Manning getting kicked off the field during what turned out to be
their climactic Super Bowl wins. Zinedine Zidane was arguably the world’s best player before the emergence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. With his French team tied up with Itaty in extra time and vying for a second World Cup win in three
tournaments, Zidane was provoked by Italian defender Marco Materazzi and proceeded to violently headbutt him. Zidane received a red card and was sent off. With a worldwide viewing audience in shock over what had transpired, Italy defeated France in penalty kicks for the nation’s fourth World Cup crown.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Top 10 craziest World Cup moments: goals, headbutts, bites and more