World Cup 2022

101 Great World Cup Moments: 19-10

The World Cup: simply the biggest show on earth.

To date, there have been 17 different hosts, 80 nations have taken part, exactly 900 matches have been played, 2,548 goals have been scored, and eight countries have lifted the trophy.

With the latest edition due to start on November 20 between Qatar and Ecuador, 101 Great Goals kick-starts the countdown to Qatar 2022′s big kick off by taking a look back at 101 Great World Cup Moments.

We will count down through the moment in the week leading up to the tournament.

If you missed it, here is 101-90, here is 89-80, 79-70, 69-60, 59-50, 49-40, 39-30 and 29-20.

19: Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp!

Dennis Bergkamp was, without doubt, one of the most technically gifted footballers of his generation, with this goal at France ‘98 right at the top of his show reel. This quarter-final between Netherlands and Argentina is 1-1 going into stoppage time; the fact both are down to ten-men highlights that it’s been a fiery affair. But then, with pretty much the last kick of the game, Frank de Boer plays a 70-yard diagonal pass to Bergkamp controls the ball, flicks it through Roberto Ayala’s legs before smashing home with the outside of his right boot. In the subsequent years, Jack van Gelder’s Dutch commentary has become iconic; he, like everyone watching, couldn’t quite believe what they’d just witnessed.

18: Ronaldo’s final masterclass

Having been a shadow of his usual self in the 1998 final (more on that later), Ronaldo did get his moment of World Cup glory four years later against Germany. O Fenômeno lived up to that particular nickname, scoring twice in 12 minutes, the second a trademark ice-cool finish. This was enough to see him earn the golden boot and banish the trauma of four years earlier. This moment is made all the more iconic by Ronaldo’s choice of hair which, if you’ve never seen it, is pretty unique and indescribable, but iconic all the same.

17: Paolo Rossi’s redemption and Marco Tardelli’s celebration

Going into Spain ‘82, Italian football was in tatters, in light of the Totonero match-fixing scandal, no not that one the one before that. Paolo Rossi specifically had been banned for two years, although he maintained innocence for the remainder of his life. Rossi returned to action for Juventus in May 1982 for just three games, but did enough to convince Enzo Bearzot to include him in the World Cup squad. Rossi ended up being Gli Azzurri’s hero, scoring a hat-trick in the famous 3-2 victory over Brazil, bagging a semi-final brace against Poland and opening the scoring in the final. Marco Tardelli is the other iconic figure from this team, celebrating his goals against Argentina and West Germany by wildly screaming and shaking his fists. Before then, goal celebrations had been far more understated, but Tardelli calmly explained: “I was born with that scream inside me, that was just the moment it came out.”

16: The Disgrace of Gijón

Despite being the least-eventful match in World Cup history, few have had as much of a lasting impact as West Germany vs Austria in 1982. In Group 2, debutants Algeria had began by causing a massive upset, beating the Germans 2-1. The North African side then beat Chile in their final group game, so sat second. However, back then, the final games did not take place at the same time, with the two European outfits clashing the following day. Germany knew a win by one or two goals would take both teams through, while Austria feared a defeat by 4+ would see them out. So, it was unofficially ‘agreed’ that Germany would prevail 1-0; Horst Hrubesch scored in the 10th minute and then… nothing. Spectators in attendance and the global media made their fury known, which is why final group game are now play simultaneously.

15: The Miracle of Bern

Hungary are one of just three nations to feature in multiple World Cup Finals without ever winning one, and 1954 was their golden chance. With Ferenc Puskás as captain, the ‘golden team’ were 32 games unbeaten, scoring 25 goals in four matches en route to the final, including demolishing West Germany 8-3 in the group stages. So, when the two met in the final just a fortnight later, there was only going to be one winner. That’s because, on the other side, it was a miracle West Germany had made it this far, just nine years after WWII. Hungary raced into an eighth minute 2-0 lead, although the underdogs pulled it back to 2-2 shortly after. In the pouring rain, equipped with longer studs, provided by Adi Dassler, Helmut Rahn’s late winner secured the shock victory for West Germany. This remains one of the biggest surprises ever seen in a World Cup Final, and is known as the Miracle of Bern.

14: The flying Dutchman

Having met in the final four years earlier, the 2014 group stage match between Spain and Netherlands was eagerly anticipated, but no one could’ve predicted what was set to transpire. La Roja took the lead from the penalty spot, only for Oranje to equalise through one of the most iconic World Cup headers of all time. Daley Blind played a hopeful ball forward and Robin van Persie, from 15 yards out, somehow loops the ball over Iker Casillas with an astonishing flying header. The still image of van Persie mid-flight really is a unique sight to behold. Holland would score four more after the interval, running out 5-1 winners, but van Persie’s equaliser remains the abiding image of this demolition.

13: An inspired substitution

The most famous substitution in World Cup history came in 2014 during a quarter-final between Netherlands and surprise package Costa Rica. With the game still goalless, in the 121st minute, Louis van Gaal decided to make his third and final substitution. Against all convention, goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was replaced by Tim Krul ahead of the impending penalty shootout. This turned out to be a masterstroke; Krul made two saves, denying Brian Ruiz and Michael Umaña, as Holland snuck through. Oranje were then beaten in the semis on penalties, with Cillessen between the sticks, as they’d used all of their subs, further evidence of the merit of this switch.

12: 119′ and 120+1′

The 2006 semi-final between hosts Germany and Italy was certainly a tense affair. The game remained goalless going into the dying embers, with everyone subconsciously preparing for penalties. But then, in the final minute of extra time, Andrea Pirlo’s impudent pass picked out Fabio Grosso, who curled home the winner. As Germany push for an equaliser, Gli Azzurri break up the other end, and Alessandro Del Piero’s makes it two with the last kick of the night. Understandably, this sparks wild celebrations amongst the Italian players, while the Germans collapsed to their knees, simply shell-shocked by what’s transpired.

11: Suárez handball breaks Ghanaian hearts

2010 was the first World Cup hosted in Africa, with a whole continent coming together to roar on Ghana. The Black Stars stood on the cusp of history, aiming to become the first African side to reach a World Cup semi-final, with Uruguay in their way. In the dying seconds of extra time, Dominic Adiyiah’s header is saved on his own goal-line, volleyball style by Luis Suárez, who is set off. Asamoah Gyan steps up but, with the last kick of the game, smashes his effort against the crossbar, meaning more penalties are required. Gyan actually, mere minutes later, actually converts Ghana’s first spot-kick, but John Mensah and Adiyiah aren’t so accurate. Sebastián Abreu, who holds the world-record for most different clubs played for (32), Panenkas the ball straight down the middle, thereby completing the most unlikely of victories for la Celeste, vindicating Suárez’s handball.

10: Baggio blazes over the bar

1994 is the only World Cup Final to finish goalless and the first time the trophy had been decided by a penalty shootout. Four of the nine penalties were actually missed, but none of Márcio Santos, Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro are remembered for failing to convert. Instead, the finger of blame for Italy’s defeat is pointed squarely at Roberto Baggio. The mercurial midfielder personified the fight between old-school Catenaccio and flamboyant fantasistas going on in Italy at the time. Baggio had carried Gli Azzurri to the final, scoring five of their six goals in the knockout stages, but is only remembered for smashing the ball high above the crossbar, the miss that crowed Brazil world champions.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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