10 Most Baffling and Bizarre Moments in Soccer History
Football has produced some of the greatest sporting moments we have ever seen; it has also produced some of the most baffling in equal amounts.
We can all remember the moments when our favourite team scored in the dying moments to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. We have also seen incredible players achieve incredible feats and wondered how on earth they did that?
At the same time we've witnessed a bucket load of moments where we have screamed at the television until we are blue in the face, pleading for someone or something to restore the world to its proper place as our team or idols lose the run of themselves completely.
This article is dedicated to those moments.
The moments where nothing makes sense, where our stars, teams, officials and governing body lose complete and utter control.
Read on, as Willie Gannon looks at 10 of the Most Baffling and Bizarre Moments in Football History.
What are your most baffling and bizarre world football moments?
Leave your comments, suggestions and moments in the section below!
1982: Kuwaiti Sheikh Gets a Goal Disallowed After Protests!
The World Cup in 1982 could have produced an entire montage of baffling moments all by itself.
However, the funniest was most definitely France vs. Kuwait.
France, in 1982, were a superb team. It is one of the great shames of football that this particular French side never won a World Cup. They did manage to win the European Championships in 1984, though.
But back to Kuwait.
The Kuwaitis were completely and thoroughly outplayed against France. Le Bleus were giving the Kuwaitis the run-around and had had four goals disallowed for offside before going 4-1 up through a "controversial" Alain Giresse strike.
Enter Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the President of the Kuwait FA, who then tried to get the match abandoned or France's fourth goal disallowed on the grounds that his team stopped because they had heard another whistle!
The goal was eventually disallowed after the protests, much against the French protests!
Incidentally, France did score again through Maxime Bossis to win 4-1.
1982: Harald Schumacher Tries to Decapitate Patrick Battiston!
The World Cup in 1982 was one of the best of all time. It had great goals, great teams and great players aplenty.
It also had the most controversial tackle/assault of all time.
In the semifinal between France and Germany, Harald Schumacher, the German goalie, absolutely hammered Patrick Battiston with one of the most dangerous tackles ever seen.
It was so bad that if it had not been on the football pitch, he would have got six months in jail for it!
Battiston was forced to leave the pitch unconscious and with damaged neck vertebrae. Some French players even thought he was dead!
To rub salt into French wounds, Schumacher was outstanding in the penalty contest that saw Germany go through.
Contrary to some reports, Schumacher was not Battiston's best man at his wedding. But, he did apologise and to this day they have remained friends.
1994: Diana Ross Gets to Take a Penalty, and Misses!
The 1994 World Cup was going to be the moment that football fever took over in the good ol' United States.
As a whole, and despite a generally poor tournament, the competition was well received and still, to this day, holds the record for attendance.
It could have all gone so wrong on the opening day, though.
Someone, in the FIFA and US Soccer braintrusts, decided that Diana Ross singing would be the perfect way to open the month-long tournament.
They even allowed Diana to take a penalty...
The idea was for Ross to shoot with such power that the goal would break in half and she would run on for the finale of her little ditty.
She missed the target completely!
1996: Estonia vs. Scotland: One Team in Tallinn!
Anyone who has ever played junior football can testify about a match where the opponents failed to show up.
However, to my mind, it has never happened at a professional level or an international level before or since.
In 1996, Scotland travelled to Tallinn to play Estonia in a World Cup Qualifier for France 98, only for the home team to fail to show up!
Everyone knew that Estonia would not show as they were protesting against FIFA moving the match back to 15.00 from 18.45 as their floodlights did not meet the required standards.
However the Scots, in order to meet FIFA regulations, were forced to take to the pitch for the match. John Collins, the Scottish captain even had to go through the pre-match tradition of greeting the referee and his team!
Their fans seemed to enjoy themselves, though, and even sang "There's only one team in Tallinn!"
1996: Graeme Souness and Southampton Sign Ali Dia!
In 1996, Graeme Souness and Southampton made one of the worst, baffling and most ridiculed signings of all time when they snapped up Ali Dia.
In the build-up to taking on the "Senegalese international" Southampton received a phone call from someone pretending to be George Weah. In the call, Weah highly recommended the player and said they would be getting a bargain.
Without looking into his past, at all, the Saints promptly signed the player and even played him in the Premier League!
Needless to say, he was terrible!
2006: Zinedine Zidane Headbutts Marco Materazzi!
Picture the scene; Zinedine Zidane is his country's greatest, most experienced and important player. He has just dragged his country to the World Cup 2006 final in Germany after his team had all but been written off.
He has turned back the years and reminded everyone just how good he used to be with a legendary performance across the tournament.
His early penalty in the final gives his team the lead before Marco Materazzi equalizes. Once level, Italy starts to strangle the game and with 10 minutes to go in extra time, just as his team needs him most, he explodes.
Zidane's headbutt on Materazzi has become the defining image of the 2006 World Cup, and perhaps his career.
It is also one of the most bizarre moments in football history.
Why ZZ could not keep his head will go down as one of the greatest unanswered football questions of all time.
2008: The Drunk Referee!
We're well used to questioning whether the referee needs glasses and their parentage, but have you ever wondered if the referee was drunk?
In 2008, Sergei Shmolik refereed a Belarusian Premier League match between Vitebsk and Naftan.
Voted the best referee in Belarus in 2007, Shmolik refereed the entire game from the centre circle before he was escorted from the pitch!
Needless to say, a medical test after the match found high levels of alcohol in his system and he was eventually suspended by the Belarusian FA.
How he even got to the pitch is anyone's guess, and then how he lasted 90 minutes in the centre circle will go down as one of the most baffling referee performances of all time.
The frightening thing is that Shmolik might even have had the best game of his career, and never knew a thing about it!
2008: Watford vs. Reading: The Ghost Goal!
We've all seen referee decisions that just can't be explained in any way shape or form.
Well, meet the daddy of them all!
In 2008, Reading and Watford were locked in a promotion battle to the Premiership when referee Stuart Atwell made one of the most baffling decisions ever!
2009: FIFA Offer the FAI a Fair Play Award After Thierry Henry Handball!
In November 2009, Ireland were knocked out of the World Cup at the playoff stage by France. The win came courtesy of a William Gallas goal deep into injury time. However, during the buildup, Thierry Henry controlled the ball with his hand before passing to Gallas to score.
The result caused outrage across the world with Ireland's governing body even going as far as to ask FIFA for a replay.
Henry, the greatest player in Arsenal's history and one of the best players to ever grace the English Premier League, also came in for huge flak for his graceless behaviour during and after the match.
Amidst the turmoil of the FAI looking for a replay and every single news source on the planet covering the story, FIFA in an amazingly baffling move decided to offer the FAI a Fair Play award to placate their protests.
Needless to say the FAI turned them down before brandishing Sepp Blatter an "embarrassment."
2010: Fahad Khalfan and the Worst Miss of All Time!
The Asian Games in 2010 saw Qatar U-23's and Uzbekistan's U-23's meet in the Round of 16.
With the game deadlocked at 0-0 after 90 minutes, it moved into extra time.
Fifty seconds into extra time and we were gifted with one of the best and most baffling blooper misses of all time when Fahad Khalfan of Qatar missed an open goal.
Eight minutes later and the Uzbeks took the lead to win the game 1-0!