Of course, for the millennials, FIFA World Cup is, more or less, about whether or not Lionel Messi will lead Argentina to a glorious victory. But for an old-school fan, this auspicious season is the reminisce of some of the most historic moments in the sporting world. (Excuse us, USA and Super Bowl!)From the ‘Hand of God’ goal of Maradona in 1986 to the first sight of 17-year-old Pele in 1950—the tournament is equally about memories as it is about thrill and prestige for the participating nations, as well as the fans.
Indeed it’s hard to point out the best memorable moments of a competition that spans more than half a century. Some are very mainstream that finds a place in many rankings. For once, not entirely a class in itself, but it feels like only yesterday when the world fell in awe to Zinedine Zidane’s head-butt to Marco Materazzi in the final of World Cup 2006. That stirred a mountain of controversies, also comfortably homing in the recollections of fans.
More recently, in 2010, Spain pulled a climatic World Cup final victory against the Dutch. Andres Iniesta became the hero of the game by scoring an electrifying goal in the extra-time.
An Exceptional Comeback
Similarly, talking about popular but mainstream moments of FIFA World Cup journey, one cannot skip to mention (and go gaga) about Paolo Rossi. After the match-fixing scandal that banned him from playing for 2 years, Rossi made a one-of-a-kind comeback in World Cup 1982. In the last match of the second round, he single-handedly led Italy to slay Brazil – the best team of that time – and qualify to the semi-finals. Rossi scored a hat-trick, re-establishing himself after many months of struggle as the best striker of the game. An outstanding comeback, and the best one, without any doubt.
The Biggest Shocker
Away from the media-vanilla-moments, there are certainly many instances in FIFA world cup that, even with less recognition from the masses, stands out. No one can forget the performance of Senegal in 2002. One of the most underrated teams pulled the greatest upset in football by defeating France, who was decorated with big stars like Thierry Henry. El Hadji Diouf left the spectators mesmerized with his class. Senegalese keeper Tony Sylva impressed everyone with equal measure.
The Bizarre Moment
The match between France and Kuwait in World Cup 1982 is another one of underrated moments, which qualify as “bizarre” at best. Amid match, a confusion and controversy ensued and the Kuwait team demanded the goal of France be taken off the scorecard. When referee refused, the team turned to their President of Football Association, who signaled for the team to get off the field and walk. But that was just the beginning. The referee tried to convince the Kuwait players who were stopping the play, with heated arguments on either side. Incidentally, Kuwait’s FA president walked down to the field and instructed the match officials to disallow the goal of the opponent. For whatever reason, the officials obliged. Although France went on to win the match by 3-1, the entire episode became one of the most bizarre moments of FIFA world cup history.
FIFA World Cup 2018
Hopes are incredibly high even from this FIFA World Cup that is days away from a grand start in Russia. People are expecting not only to see a grand performance from the likes of Messi and Ronaldo but also some entertainment and, of course, controversies. Let’s wait and see which team not only wins but how this year’s tournament trade in leaving memories in spectators’ mind.