FIFA World Cup: Top 5 World Cup finals of all time. Does your favourite make the list ?

With just over 3 months left to set the ball rolling in Russia, the excitement has just started to build up. The world cup is by far the most followed sporting event in the world and has seen some memorable moments since it’s inception in 1930. Today we take a look at the top 5 world cup final Matches of all time

2010: Netherlands 0-1 Spain

Andres Iniesta of Spain scores the winning goal
Andres Iniesta of Spain scores the winning goal © MATTHEW ASHTON / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

This was the first time since 1978 that two teams to have never previously won a world cup met in the final. Also, it was for the first time that the world cup was being hosted on the continent of Africa.

This was Spain’s first ever world cup final, while the Netherlands had lost their previous two finals in 1974 and 1978. With both teams aiming to win their first ever Trophy, they played cautiously, but couldn’t break the deadlock. With penalties looking imminent towards the end of extra time, but a long run through the right from Jesus Navas coupled with a good final pass from Fabregas to Iniesta saw the deadlock being broken 4 minutes from time to break the Dutch hearts.

The match holds the record for the highest number of bookings ever(14), mostly due to Time wasting strategies.

2006: Italy 1-1 France (5-3 on penalties)

Cannavaro and Italy with World Cup
Cannavaro and Italy with World Cup (image/FIFA)

This world cup final surely has to make the list as it saw one of the most infamous moments ever in world football. With both teams opening their scoring within the first 20 minutes, both had enough opportunities to take the lead, but missed chances.

The score remained the same at the end of regulation time and went into extra time. 10 minutes into extra time, a verbal provocation from Marco Materazzi on Zinedine Zidane made the Frenchman headbutt the Italian in the chest.

The referee has no option but to send him off. Materazzi later accepted to have provoked Zidane but argued about the latter’s remarks and behavior. Had Zidane kept his calm, the result could have been different. Italy could not make their numerical advantage count, and the match was forced into penalties where Italy emerged victorious 5-3 to lift their first title in 24 years.

1986: Argentina 3-2 West Germany

1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico
1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico (image/FIFA)

This was one of the most exciting finals of all time. With goals on either side of Half Time, Argentina had a two-goal cushion. But West Germany did well to bounce back with 2 goals in 7 minutes from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Völler. However, Argentina managed to regain the lead just 4 minutes later as very tightly marked Diego Maradona put in a superb assist.

A bulk of Yellow cards were shown to Argentine players for time-wasting tactics. But they managed to hold on to the lead to lift their 2nd world cup in 2 years. A huge crowd of 114,600 was in attendance at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

1966: England 4-2 West Germany

England Football team after the Final (image/FIFA)
England Football team after the Final (image/FIFA)

This final will be in the history books as one of the most controversial finals ever. A fully packed Old Wembley stadium saw 96,924 spectators witnessing the event. The match went to extra time at 2-2 after a nailbiting 90 minutes of play. Trailing 1-2 Germany pushed for the last gasp equalizer, and managed to do so in a crowded penalty area following a free-kick.

This was the first controversial moment in the match as many felt that the shot after rebounding from the wall struck the arm of Karl-Heinz Schnellinger. But replays showed that it had actually struck his back. In extra time, with 11 minutes gone, a shot from Geoff Hurst hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced and cleared.

Being uncertain, the referee looked to his assistant, who for a moment signaled it was a goal. Due to the language barrier between the two, the Swiss referee awarded the goal to England, which gave them the lead. Some felt that the Azerbaijani assistant referee was biased towards England due to USSR’s defeat at the hands of West Germany.

1930: Uruguay 4-2 Argentina

Hosts Uruguay thrashed Argentina in the finals
Hosts Uruguay thrashed Argentina in the finals (image/FIFA)

Being the first ever world cup final, there was a craze never seen before among the football enthusiasts during those days. A whopping 93,000 spectators saw the home team get the better of their neighbors Argentina in a hotly contested final. Both teams had topped their respective groups where they were undefeated with thumping victories.

Uruguay opened the scoring early, but it was Argentina who went into the break with the lead. But a second-half comeback was on the cards for Uruguay, and the match was sealed with the 4th goal in the 89th minute, much to the enthusiasm of the roaring supporters.

The loss could not be digested by the Argentines, and a job in Buenos Aires took to throwing stones at the Uruguayan consulate. This is the only world cup final to date, Whichever not held in a weekend.

Featured Image/FIFA

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