The history of the world’s most popular game is littered with controversial moments. Let’s check out some of the most contentious.
Escobar’s fatal own goal – 1994
Just days after Colombia were eliminated from the 1994 World Cup, captain Andres Escobar was shot dead in a Medellin nightclub car park. It was suspected retaliation for Escobar’s own goal against the United States that helped seal the Colombian’s exit.
Maradona’s failed drug test – 1994
Diego Maradona’s 4th and final World Cup in 1994 ended following 2 group-stage games against Greece and Nigeria where the Argentine tested positive for the stimulant ephedrine. It was the latest twist in a celebrated but controversial career. Argentina’s hopes in 1994 and Maradona’s career were simultaneously ended by the positive test.
The Battle of Nuremburg – 2006
The Battle of Nuremberg is the name given to the match between Portugal and the Netherlands in the last 16 of the 2006 World Cup. During the game, referee Valentin Ivanov issued 4 red cards and 16 yellow cards to the players of Portugal and the Netherlands. A total of 12 players from both teams received cards in this match and 2 players from each team were sent off!
Henry’s handball v Ireland – 2009
Even with a retrospective admission of guilt, Thierry Henry was labelled a cheat for a handball in the penalty area to set up William Gallas’ extra-time playoff match-winner that booked France a spot at the 2010 World Cup, while crushing Ireland’s hopes. The 2 players were also clearly offside as the free-kick was played into the box.
Qatar named World Cup host – 2010
FIFA added to a reputation for corruption by selecting Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. A nonexistent soccer history, a scorching local climate, huge costs, and Qatar’s poor human-rights record were among the many concerns raised after the Middle Eastern nation’s bid was awarded in 2010.