The World Cup: it’s the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, where champions are born and dreams come true. The competition showcases the crème de la crème of footballers from around the globe, showcasing their many talents in front of millions of vibrant fans.
With that in mind, you’d expect the talking points to be around the 40-yard screamers, the hometown heroes, or the individual brilliance that unlocked the world’s greatest back four. Well, we beg to differ….here are our top 10 talking points from years gone by.
10. In your shin…I meant face!
With the 2014 World Cup hosted by Brazil, it was only fair we started with one of their own. Rivaldo, renowned for his vision and wonderful left foot, tarnished his name with this shocking dive during the 2006 clash with Turkey. Hakan Unsal of Turkey struck the ball against Rivaldo’s shins, only for the magician to fall to the ground, clutching his face in pure agony. Unfortunately for Turkey, Hakan Unsal was sent off and Brazil went on to win the tie.
9. Ohhh David, it was all your fault…(Not the fact we’re useless at penalties)
The moment a national hero turned villain. An exciting game of football, which included one of the goals of the 1998 tournament when an 18-year-old Michael Owen made his mark on the world scene, was slightly overshadowed when David Beckham lashed out at Diego Simeone. Unfortunately for England, and David, his teammates were unable to progress after yet more penalty shoot-out heartache.
…The sound of the 2010 World cup, when football was introduced to South Africa’s instrument of choice, the Vuvuzela. Thankfully, FIFA quickly reacted by banning future use at football stadiums.
7. That hair cut!
When you reach a World Cup final, it’s important to look your best with billions of people watching. Regrettably for Ronaldo, someone obviously shaved the back of his head and didn’t tell him, because it was his hairdo that made all the headlines (no pun intended) that night. You’d probably forgotten Brazil went on to win the tournament that year….it’s OK, we did too.
6. The Hand of God
It’s one of the most famous moments in footballing history: Maradona’s “Hand of God.” The quarter final match against England was an intense affair, with both sides fielding a strong team. This was Maradona’s first goal of the game, with his second widely regarded as one of the greatest individual goals ever scored. However, it was this moment that had football fans talking for years.
5. The Wink
Yet again, more quarter-final heartache for England as they were knocked out of the 2006 World Cup after losing on penalties to Portugal. It was, however, Rooney’s dismissal that grabbed headlines as his club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to encourage the officials in their decision, followed by that famous wink to his fellow countrymen…you naughty boy!
4. Rex Kwon Do
When two of the most technically gifted football teams meet in a World Cup final, you’d expect an entertaining game that’s easy on the eye. But that was far from the truth as the Netherlands used their feet to kick everything but the ball.
3. "I could see that went in from here!"
Oh dear, it’s the same old story for England. A moment that reinforced the need for goal line technology, as Frank Lampard’s 39thminute “goal” was disallowed after bouncing a foot behind the line. If the goal were to have stood, England would have been level with Germany with all to play for. However, it was curtains for the three lions yet again.
2. Zidane heads to the exit
It was the last game of a glittering career for Zinedine Zidane, one of the world’s greatest players. It was another World Cup final, this time against rivals Italy…but once again it wasn’t the football that would have us talking for years to come. As the game headed for penalties, a brief exchange of words led to Zizou head-butting Marco Materazzi, leading to the Frenchman’s dismissal and untimely end to his playing career.
1. What next?
There is no guessing what the talking points will be this summer; but what we can expect is yet more brilliant football, more heartache and some surprises along the way...and the best place to watch it all? Topgolf of course!