The 2010 World Cup marked an exciting series of firsts. Host nation Brazil looked vulnerable throughout group play but made it to the semifinals where Germany triumphantly outclassed them with more than three goals scored against them.
Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Marco Materazzi led to his red card and, ultimately, retirement from football.
After two-years off the pitch, the World Cup returned in 1974 and produced some legendary moments. The Dutch wowed everyone with their “total football”, led by Johan Cruyff who mesmerised audiences worldwide with their play.
Germany also caused shockwaves throughout the competition, reviving their title hopes after their narrow win against France with a convincing 7-1 triumph over Brazil in the semis and an excellent final match-up that included Paul Breitner’s spot kick and Gerd Muller’s most celebrated goal from Gerd Muller.
Other noteworthy performances included Grzegorz Lato’s seven goals as top scorer; and Geoff Hurst scoring his maiden World Cup final hat trick to give England victory over West Germany.
Not as surprising or thrilling as Spain ’82, yet still packed with unforgettable moments and performances from young stars Michael Laudrup and Preben Elkjaer; Argentina exposed defensive weaknesses during an exciting last-16 match; while in the final Zinedine Zidane famously headbutted Marco Materazzi – creating one of football’s greatest memories.
This tournament challenged even the established favorites, such as Italy and England, with both sides suffering unexpected defeats to lesser teams such as Costa Rica and Algeria proving more than capable of pushing against larger sides than ever.
This World Cup began with one of the greatest upsets ever witnessed at tournament. Cameroon upset reigning champions Argentina by knocking them out. Additionally, Brazil’s 1982 team is widely considered as being among the greatest sides never to win one World Cup title.
This competition saw classic sides produce exciting matches filled with unforgettable moments – from Michael Owen’s goal against France to Dennis Bergkamp’s strike against Argentina – providing plenty of drama throughout. Additionally, this was also the inaugural World Cup to include a final decided by penalties.
At its inception, many were skeptical of whether this tournament would live up to expectations, as soccer wasn’t yet widely played across America. Yet matches proved thrilling and talent-laden; Maradona reigned supreme throughout, winning his final match against West Germany with ease.
Hungary took an early lead, scoring twice to take a 2-0 advantage, before Germany rallied for a remarkable comeback victory – known as “The Miracle of Bern.” It marked the first World Cup final to be decided on penalties.
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2002 may not have produced an unforgettable final like 1994 did, but still proved an exhilarating tournament. Host South Korea sent shockwaves through the tournament by reaching the semi-finals; Senegal beat France and Sweden; and Diego Maradona returned with Argentina to thrash dour Italy 6-0.
Brazil was exposed by an impressive Uruguay team during the final, who exposed their defensive deficiencies with an entertaining, back-and-forth match full of intrigue and talent – one of the greatest World Cup finals ever played!
2006 World Cup saw plenty of goal scoring action compared to recent tournaments which were more reserved in their approach, from Netherlands’ crushing victory over Spain in its inaugural matchup all the way through England vs West Germany final game, this World Cup brought excitement galore.
Pele and Maradona both shone brightly, but Gary Lineker, Geoff Hurst and Lothar Matthaus truly stole the show. Additionally, South Africa marked history by making history and reaching their first ever World Cup final with panache.
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Diego Maradona led Argentina past West Germany at Estadio Azteca in what many consider the greatest World Cup final ever played, though Maradona didn’t score in it himself he can still be felt today as his impactful game management is felt across both teams involved. Although Maradona didn’t score himself during that final matchup he still has an immense legacy within football today and remains influential to this day.
1998 marked the first tournament since 1956 that soccer returned to Europe after two suspensions; it proved an eventful tournament full of surprises. Led by legendary Zinedine Zidane, France won their inaugural title by stunning Brazil in the final.
The inaugural World Cup held in Brazil since 1950 was an overwhelming success, exceeding even the loftiest expectations. Goals abounded during group stage action and unexpected upsets were frequent; including an unforgettable final in which Ronaldo finally avenged his heartbreak of 1998 by winning the Golden Boot and giving an outstanding performance against Italy.
At this tournament, Chile was featured prominently. Their fans stormed Maracana press room and gave soccer exposure in America; their players beat Spain before facing off with Netherlands until going all the way through penalty kicks!