The World Cup has given some of the greatest FIFA world cup matches ever played. These games have helped write World Cup history, from incredible goals to extraordinary moments. On the contrary, others are games that fans wish they had never seen. Regarding the outcome, poor play, poor performances, terrible behavior, and so on, those matches can be disheartening to watch.
List of Greatest FIFA World Cup Matches of All Time
Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1 (1950)
In 1950, the system was slightly different—the winners of the four groups moved on to another group round to determine the winner. After that, Brazil needed only a draw to win the World Cup after beating Sweden and Spain 7-1 and 6-1, respectively, before the match. They were sure of victory, with several local newspapers predicting their triumph early. But Uruguay had other plans.
Brazil took a one-nil lead after a goal from Friaca soon after halftime in front of a record crowd of nearly 200,000 at the Estadio do Maracana. Uruguay rallied with two goals in the final quarter-hour from Juan Alberto Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia. After the game, Pele, football’s first global superstar, sobbed. Following that, he would win three of the following five World Cups.
England beat West Germany 4-2 (1966)
The 1966 event had plenty of drama. They made a replica trophy as the original trophy got somehow stolen. Then Pickles the dog discovered the original in a hedge. The tournament was in England. There the hosts reached the final against West Germany. Moreover, thanks to legends such as Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore. It remains one of the most controversial football matches and in the England-Germany rivalry to this day.
This match is due mainly to a single extra second. Geoff Hurst’s shot into the crossbar and down into the 101st minute. He ruled to cross the line by Russian linesman Tofiq Bahramov. They were giving the English a 3-2 lead. The Germans pushed every player upfield as time ran out. Geoff Hurst’s break secured the win for England. He sent the ball into the top corner for a 4-2 victory. Kenneth Wolstenholme’s renowned commentary remark, “They think it’s all over – It is now!”.
Brazil beat England 1-0 (1970)
Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino, and Carlos Alberto were among the tournament’s favorites. On the other hand, England was the defending champion. And they were expecting to struggle against the men in yellow. In the end, English legends Gordon Banks and Bobby Moore will always be memorable for two moments in this encounter. ‘The Save’ was the first of these. Pele, waiting at the back post, headed a ball into the England goal’s bottom left corner. Banks dived and looped the ball around the bar to deny the Brazilians what appeared to be a foregone outcome.
Another time, an English star was involved. Jairzinho on the right-wing had the ball, and the English defense began to retreat. Moore timed his tackle brilliantly as Jairzinho dribbled towards the danger zone. He was preventing yet another Brazil attempt. The English defenders’ valor was short-lived, as Jairzinho scored the game’s only goal in the 59th minute. The English effort is commendable because Brazil scored three or four goals in every other game during the tournament. On the other hand, Brazil was the most incredible team and would defeat Italy 4-1 in the final.
Italy beat West Germany 4-3 (1970)
To reach the final against Brazil, Italy performed one of the best World Cup matches ever. This game is considered “the game of the century” by many. Italy appeared to have won the game against West Germany in the semi-final. They score in the eighth minute.
However, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger’s 90th-minute extra time equalizer forced spare time. There was a lot of chaos. After injured his shoulder earlier in the game, German legend Franz Beckenbauer had to stay. From the 98th to the 111th minute of extra time, they scored five goals in 13 minutes. Gianni Rivera’s goal was the winner, and Italy advanced to the World Cup Final for the second time.
Italy beat Brazil 3-2 (1982)
Because of this historic game in which Italy sent home. In 1982 Brazil team is the most outstanding team ever to win a World Cup. A solid Italian defense, led by Paolo Rossi’s mercurial brilliance, confronted Zico, Socrates, and the exceptional Brazilians throughout the second-round group stages.
The Azzurri had few chances because most of the game was in the Italian half. But thanks to Rossi, as they scored when they did. Moreover, to Brazil’s two goals from Socrates and Falcao, Rossi netted a magnificent hat-trick. Italy eventually won the competition.
West Germany drew with France 3-3 (1982)
This match took place in the 1982 World Cup semi-finals. And there were lots of goals and one contentious incident. Germany raced out of the blocks quickly. They score in the 17th minute despite being without Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Their finest player, due to a hamstring injury for most of the game. Platini’s penalty brought France level ten minutes later. Nothing was able to separate the two teams at the end of the 1990s. Patrick Battiston, a French forward, attempted to pounce on a through ball in the 60th minute, which caused controversy. Therefore, he got a slight touch on the ball heading for the goal. But he didn’t see German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher approaching.
Battiston was knocked unconscious. Then two of his teeth were knocked out, ribs shattered too. And vertebrae got damaged due to the German’s brutality. Despite this, Schumacher did not get any cards. Even so, there was no foul. Despite both teams’ offensive and explosive play, the game is memorable for this moment. There would be four more goals in extra time, two for each team, resulting in a penalty shootout. Germany, as expected, won 5-4, with Horst Hrubesh scoring the game-winning penalty.
Argentina beat England 2-1 (1986)
The game divided judgment on Diego Maradona’s genius. In four minutes, he created two of the most memorable World Cup memories. He produced the first shortly after halftime, known as ‘the Hand of God.’ Maradona miraculously beat English goalkeeper Peter Shilton to the ball after a miscued clearance. The answer was that he used his hand to get over Shilton’s outstretched arm, which was allowed by the referee.
The following event occurred just four minutes later. It is well-known as the “century goal.” Before putting it home, Maradona took the ball in his half and ran it past five English players and the goalkeeper. Maradona had gained control of the game, and England had little opportunity of regaining control. In the 81st minute, Gary Lineker scored a consolation goal, but it was not enough. It’s a stretch to call it one of the best games ever, but it’s up there for sheer controversy and incredible moments.
Uruguay drew Ghana 1-1 (2010)
Ghana was the feel-good story of the 2010 tournament. As African teams rarely advance that far. Uruguay was their opponent in this quarter-final. Sulley Muntari scored a 40-yard brilliant goal just before halftime in a back-and-forth game. On the 55th minute, Diego Forlan equalized with a free-kick. The game would end 1-1, requiring the use of extra time. Ghana took the initiative and scored a goal from a free-kick into the box. The ball bounced around a bit before Luis Suarez used his hand to block a reasonable goal.
Furthermore, Asamoah Gyan hammered the penalty in with its final kick in the crossbar. Despite having a chance in the penalty shootout, the Uruguayans were ecstatic. While the Ghanaians were heartbroken. Interestingly, Forlan and Gyan both scored the first goal. Victorino, Appiah, and Scotti all found the back of the net. After John Mensah, Pereira, and Adiyiah all failed to score, Sebastian Abreu left with the task of putting Ghana out. The dream died when he did.
The Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 (2014)
Spain was the defending World Cup champion and looking forward to competing in 2014. Their first match was a repeat with the Netherlands from 2010 final. They were off to a promising start. After Xabi Alonso converted an early penalty to put Spain up after half an hour. However, no one expected the onslaught that would follow. Indeed, the second goal’s class should have foreshadowed what was to follow. Instead of taking a touch, Robin Van Persie seized the ball the first time and looped it over Iker Casillas.
Spain fought back with chance after chance, exploiting the Dutch defense. Jasper Cillessen made a fantastic stop to save David Silva from scoring. Then, Robin Van Persie hit the crossbar with a thunderbolt, and it was evident that there would be more goals in this tie. Arjen Robben then launched the Dutch attack. Moreover, he scored in the 53rd minute, Stefan de Vrij 11 minutes. Later on, Van Persie pounced on a Casillas error to make it 4-1. On the 80th minute, Robben dribbled his way to another goal.
Germany beat Brazil 7-1 (2014)
A lot was expectations of Neymar and Brazil in their home World Cup. And they were delivered in some ways, making it to the semi-finals. Germany was their opponent. But the result was over in almost 30 minutes. At this point in the competition, it has to rank among the best performances in World Cup history in terms of absolute destruction of an opponent.
It is possible to say that Brazil’s defense was questionable. But German performance was brilliant too. After 11 minutes, Thomas Muller opened the scoring. Then Germany added four more goals in the next six minutes. Then Andre Schurrle would add a brace in the second half to bring the total to seven. Oscar provided a late consolation for Brazil, but the damage took place. In the second half, Andre Schurrle scored a brace to bring the total to seven. Additionally, Oscar provided a late consolation for Brazil, but the damage took place already.
To sum up, these greatest FIFA world cup matches have helped write the history of the World Cup and bound the game into the hearts of people all over the world, with stunning goals and spectacular play. Thus, they took the places of the greatest FIFA world cup matches.