David Meikleham10 Jun 2018 AT 10:35 AM

FIFA World Cup 2018: 20 weirdest things to have ever happened

With FIFA World Cup 2018 just days away, we've shortlisted 20 of the craziest, cheatiest and most calamitous moments from footie’s biggest tournament
David Meikleham10 Jun 2018 AT 10:35 AM
FIFA World Cup 2018: 20 weirdest things to have ever happened
© Supplied

From underpant-ruining regrets, teeth-smashing tackles, to shameful sendings off, teams have committed some crazy acts trying to win the big tournament. Here’s a round up of some of our favourite mad moments the FIFAWorld Cup has ever seen.

1. Lineker has an accident
FIFA World Cup 2018 - Gary Lineker

The match: England vs Republic of Ireland, 1990
Gary Lineker took the idiom of browning ones undergarments and took it very literally in the opening game of England’s 1990 campaign. During the second half of a reasonably tense 1-1 draw against Ireland at Italia ‘90, the fox in the box striker suffered an embarrassing bowels-based incident. “The ball went down the left hand side, I did try to tackle someone, I stretched and then I relaxed myself,” Lineker told the BBC. “You can see me rubbing the ground like a dog; it was the most horrendous experience of my life.” Heed this advice, future World Cup marksmen: wear an adult nappy under your shorts… just to be safe.

2. Diana Ross’ pathetic penalty

The match: Brazil vs Italy, 1994
It’s the first time your nation has hosted the World Cup, you’re one of the biggest pop sensations of the past 50 years, you’ve been bestowed the honour of taking a penalty before the final kicks off, and the eyes of every football fan on the planet are on you. What do you do if you’re Diana Ross, you ask? Why, feebly shank the penalty five yards wide, of course. To add a little extra shameful sauce to this spotkick calamity, the goals had been rigged to split in two once Diana put the ball in the net. This still happened… it’s just that the ball was nowhere near the goal when said nets came tumbling down.

3. Brazil get smashed to bits

The match: Brazil vs Germany, 2014
You’re the most successful nation in World Cup history, and you’re hosting the tournament for only the second time in 64 years. How do you celebrate? By getting obliterated by Germany 7-1 in the semi-finals. Obviously. Brazil sure picked a rotten time to lose their very first competitive home fixture in 39 years.

4. Vuvuzela mania blows up

The tournament: World Cup 2010
Our fragile eardrums still haven’t forgiven the 2010 World Cup. The South African soccer celebration will always be remembered for one thing: the vuvuzela irritating ears the globe over. Inspired by a traditional kudu horn, this annoying plastic instrument was blown by thousands of fans at each game, with the accompanying din overwhelming crowd celebrations. Suffice to say, after four weeks of non-stop vuvuzela action, the horns had very much worn out their welcome.

5. Greaves catches a canine

The match: Brazil vs England, 1962
During England’s quarter-final against Brazil, Jimmy Greaves caught the most adorable pitch invader in World Cup history. The Three Lions striker briefly played dog-catcher, after a cute pooch ran onto the pitch, evading both Brazil’s Gilmar then Garrincha before Greaves got on all fours to stop the hound. According to legend, Garrincha actually adopted the dog after the incident.

6. The Battle of Nuremberg

The match: Holland vs Portugal, 2006
One of the most bad blooded games in World Cup history, this last 16 tie may as well have been a WWE Royal Rumble. During 90 of the fouliest minutes you’ll ever see, Russian ref Valentin Ivanov handed out four red cards and – wait for it – 16 yellows. Yup. SIXTEEN.

7. Ronaldo gets Rooney sent off

The match: England vs Portugal, 2006
Despite being arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t exactly universally beloved. It’s not just that he’s a preening narcissist; he can also be a horrible, opportunistic cheat. For the greatest example of his on-field treachery, look no further than Portugal’s quarter final victory against England in 2006. Although he was domestic teammates with fellow Man Utd striker Wayne Rooney, Ronnie showed no hesitation in remonstrating with the ref, demanding a red card after his pal Wazza had stomped on Ricardo Carvalho. After Rooney promptly received his marching orders, Ronaldo let out a knowing wink to the bench. And you wonder why people don’t like him as much as Messi.

8. Rivaldo deserves a Razzie

The match: Brazil vs Turkey, 2002
Turns out, Rivaldo isn’t quite Al Pacino. While time-wasting over a corner in the dying moments of Brazil’s match with Turkey, the Barcelona striker threw himself to the ground, clutching his face and rolling around like a wrestler had just suplexed him, after Hakan Unsal kicked the ball… at his knee.

9. Maradona gets a big helping hand

The match: Argentina vs England, 1986
Blame the Falklands if you must, but Argentina and England have never quite seen eye to eye on the football field. And after Diego Maradona’s shameless act of cheating in Mexico City one sweltering afternoon in 1986, they likely never will. Following a listless, scooping ‘clearance’ by England’s Steve Hodge, the mercurial Argentinian met the ball in the air before Peter Shilton could punch it clear, promptly putting it into the net. Only trouble is, replays clearly show Maradona hit the ball with his hand, not his head. If we were you, Diego, we’d only visit Wembley again in disguise.

10. Rodríguez gets bugged

The match: Brazil vs Colombia, 2014
Not a fan of creepy-crawlies? Then stop reading. Right before James Rodríguez stepped up to take a penalty in what would ultimately end as a 2-1 quarter-final defeat for Colombia, a dirty great grasshopper landed on his shoulder. Clearly, the big bug was a lucky charm, as the talented playmaker promptly stuck away the spot kick, helping him end the tournament as top goalscorer. Despite the insect’s supreme size, Rodríguez allegedly never once noticed the bug.

11. Zico’s goal that never was

The match: Brazil vs Sweden, 1978
Even forty years on, Brazil fans won’t thank us for dredging this pain back up. With seconds left in injury time, Zico headed home a late corner to seemingly beat Sweden 2-1 in the most dramatic fashion possible. Too bad referee Clive Thomas had blown the whistle a second or so before… while the ball was practically on Zico’s forehead.

12. Kuwait walk off

The match: France vs Kuwait, 1982
Talk about sore losers. While being soundly beaten 3-1 by France, the Kuwaitis were forced from the field when their FA president, Prince Fahid, demanded they walk off in protest. The petulant reaction was brought about when Kuwait’s defenders stopped playing as France scored their fourth, believing they had heard a whistle.

13. Becks kicks out

The match: Argentina vs England, 1998
Diego Simeone may be recognised as one of the finest managers in world football, but back in his playing days, he was a kinda cheaty, super fouly reprobate. Need proof? Just look at the last 16 fixture between Argentina and England at France ‘98. After being bulldozed to the ground by Simeone with the tie delicately poised at 2-2, David Beckham petulantly aimed a little kick at Diego while still on the ground. Even though it’s barely more than a flick, Simeone threw himself to the turf, prompting the ref to issue Becks his marching orders. Naughty Diego.

14. Gazza’s tears

The match: England vs West Germany, 1990
He may have been the finest, most gifted midfielder of his generation, yet the defining moment of Paul Gascoigne’s career sadly isn’t a glorious one. Instead, his legacy will always be intrinsically tied to the moment he started blubbering like a baby upon receiving a yellow card in the semi-final against West Germany; a booking that would have kept him out of the final. Chin up, Gazza. Germany ended up beating England regardless. Because, well, penalties.

15. Battiston’s teething troubles

The match: France vs West Germany, 1958
Ouch. In the 57th minute of France’s match against West Germany at the 1958 finals, Patrick Battiston was hip checked in the face by leaping goalkeeper Toni Schumacher. Despite knocking out three of the Frenchman’s teeth, the German goalkeeper proceeded to simply place the ball on the edge of his area for a goal kick. Battiston, meanwhile, received oxygen on a stretcher mere metres away. Schumacher, that’s cold, bro.

16. Zidane’s headbutt

The match: France vs Italy, 2006
Ugh. It’s still too painful to properly dwell on this. As such, here are the super abbreviated cliff notes. Marco Materazzi says something very unflattering about Zizou’s family, and despite being minutes away from a World Cup Final penalty shootout, the French magician decides to ram his head as hard as he can into the Italian’s defender’s chest, rather than actually stay on the field to try and win the game for France. Cue a red card, a subsequent win for the Azzurri, and the final moment of a glittering career ending in abject shame.

17. Byron banjaxes Italy

The match: Italy vs South Korea, 2002
The world will always remember South Korea’s victory over the Azzurri as an inspiring victory for the underdog. But Italian fans? They’ll forever see their nation’s last 16 exit as the ultimate example of refereeing incompetence. Looking back, it’s hard to disagree. Not only could portly Ecuadorian ref Byron Moreno barely keep up with the action, he sent off Francesco Totti when there had been clear contact with Song Chong-gug. Moments later, Moreno then flagged Damiano Tommasi offside when he was clean through, despite the midfielder being on. Byron done bad.

18. Rijkaard’s spit take

The match: Holland vs West Germany, 1990
After clashing with Rudi Völler in this round of 16 clash, Frank Rijkaard decided to launch a soggy salvo into the Germany striker’s lovely perm after a decision went against him. A few minutes later, both men were sent off during a penalty box scuffle, in which Frankie boy deliberately stood on Völler. Poor Rudi.

19. Suárez bites Chiellini

The match: Italy vs Uruguay, 2014
Be in no doubt: Luis Suárez is a Disney villian made flesh. For 99 percent of players, no moment of shame could ever top deliberately committing a goal line handball to stop the opposition scoring – as little Luis did against Ghana in the 2010 World Cup. Of course, Suárez is no ordinary player. Like a shark plopped into a pool full of juicy seals, the Barcelona hitman just can’t resist having a little nibble. During a coming together with one of Italy’s most respect centre-halves of the past two decades, Suárez decided the most effective use of his energies was to bite Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder, drawing blood in the process. This bitey piece of
villainy earned Suárez a nine match ban, the lengthiest in World Cup history.

20. Jorge Campos ‘94 goalie shirt

The match: All of Mexico’s campaign, 1990
Imagine the worst piece of clothing you’ve ever owned. Now, splosh it with 14 lurid colours of paint, add a horrendously dated collar, then wear said incriminating piece of clobber in baking 35 degree heat. Got that picture in your head? Good. It’s still only 17 percent as offensive as Jorge Campos’ eye-offending abomination.

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