FIFA World Cup: The 10 Biggest Mistakes In World Cup History
The first World Cup took place 80 years ago.
Since then, there have been some incredible matches. There have also been some amazing mistakes.
There have been refereeing mistakes, linesman mistakes, manager mistakes and player mistakes.
Which mistakes have been the worst? Here are my top 10 errors.
10. Graham Poll 2006
Graham Poll didn't have a great tournament in 2006.
In one match, he accidentally showed a red card before a yellow card while dealing with a second bookable offense.
This wasn't a major mistake, but it was about to get worse.
Poll booked Croation Šimunić THREE times before sending him off.
He had already proven that he could count to two by sending off two players during the same match.
He made the error by putting the first booking in the wrong column (effectively booking the equivalent Australian player rather than the Croatian.)
This meant that Šimunić second booking seemed to Poll to be his first.
Poll was dropped from further games in the World Cup and retired from future
international competition and within a year from all refereeing.
9. Zinedine Zidane 2006
Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest players of all time, will be remembered for this incident.
During extra time, after being insulted repeatedly by Marco Materazzi, Zidane head-butted the Italian defender and was promptly sent off.
This meant that the tournament's golden ball winner was unable to take a penalty in the penalty shoot out.
France lost 5-3 on penalties.
If Zidane hadn't been sent off would've it been a different story? We will never know, and neither will Zidane.
8. The Shame of Gijón 1982
Algeria had caused a major upset during the group stages of the 1982 World Cup.
They defeated European giants West Germany 2-1.
The group came down to the final match between West Germany and Austria. Unless West Germany won, Algeria would go through and Austria wouldn't.
After West Germany took the lead early on, the two teams passed the ball around for 80 minutes, ensuring that both West Germany and Austria would go through.
Algeria had to go home.
There was massive controversy. The crowd in Gijón went mental. They couldn't believe what was happening.
Flags were burnt, money was waved to imply match fixing and the crowd booed.
The rules were soon changed so that matches were played at the same time to prevent anything like this happening again.
7. Andres Escobar 1994
During a match with hosts USA, the Colombian defender slid to block a USA cross and sent the ball into his own goal.
USA would win the match 2-1 and Colombia were knocked out.
On his return to Colombia, Andres Escobar was shot dead. His own goal had cost drug lords money and it is widely believed that they had him killed.
Escobar remained immensely popular in Colombia, despite the own goal.
120,000 people attended his funeral and his photo is still seen at Colombian football matches.
6. Fabio Grosso 2006
In Italy's last 16 match with Australia, Fabio Grosso dived in the Australian box.
The decision was tough for the referee as there was contact between the two players. However, Grosso was looking for a penalty.
The game had looked destined for extra time. Italy were down to 10 men and had used their substitutes.
The referee awarded a penalty and Italy progressed.
Grosso would go on to knock Germany out with a late goal. He also scored the World Cup winning penalty.
Grosso's dive allowed Italy to progress and his later contributions would be vital to their World Cup triumph.
5. The 1966 Conspiracy Part 1
Conspiracies are always fun.
This one is a classic. It revolves around two matches: West Germany vs Uruguay and Argentina vs England.
West Germany beat Uruguay 4-0 after a glorious save from German defender Karl Heinz Schnellinger (he parried the ball away from the top corner with his hands.)
Uruguay also had two players sent off rather controversially. This allowed West Germany to score three goals late on.
The referee was English.
5. The 1966 Conspiracy Part 2
The second match was England vs Argentina.
Antonio Rattín was sent off for dissent despite the player and referee not speaking a common language.
England won 1-0.
The referee was German.
This meant that an English referee had let West Germany through whilst a German referee had given England a helping hand.
The conspiracy theory is enhanced by the refereeing draw for these matches.
The draw was made without the Uruguayan or Argentinian representatives present.
Only the English, German and a couple of African representatives were present.
The combined result of the refereeing mistakes created a final vastly different to what it could have been.
4. Gamal Ghandour & Michael Ragoonath 2002
The 2002 tournament was filled with bad refereeing.
It is hard to pick the worst mistake from some abysmal officiating.
I've gone with Spain vs South Korea.
Spain had two goals disallowed by referee Gamal Ghandour.
Helguera's goal wasn't counted due to pushing.
The problem is, nobody seemed to be getting pushed. At the end of the match Helguera had to be restrained so that he didn't assault the referee.
Later in the match, linesman Michael Ragoonath ruled out a Fernando Morientes golden goal.
He said the ball had gone out of play before the cross came in from the bye-line.
He was wrong. Spain were knocked out and co-hosts South Korea progressed.
Dishonourable Mention: Korean Conspiracy 2002
The South Korea vs Spain match forms part of the Korean conspiracy.
Korea had a successful tournament, making it to the semi-finals. They were helped by some awful officiating.
Italy had a perfectly good goal disallowed and a man sent off for falling over in their match with Korea.
This helped Korea win.
Against Portugal, there were a string of poor decisions that benefited Korea and helped them to a 1-0 win.
Was this all a conspiracy to get South Korea to do well in the tournament?
Or was it just poor officiating as a result of the raucous South Korean crowd?
3. Erik Fredriksson and Linesmen 1986
Referee Erik Fredriksson and his linesmen allowed two Belgium offside goals to stand during their match with the USSR.
One of them was five yards offside.
The decisions allowed Belgium to level twice and take the match to extra time.
Belgium would win 4-3.
The two mistakes knocked out a USSR team that contained many members of the legendary Dynamo Kiev team that had dominated European competition that year.
Four years later, Erik Fredriksson did it again to the USSR. He failed to notice Maradona punching the ball away from his goal, denying the USSR a goal.
2. Diego Maradona 1986
Maradona's "hand of God" is still a sore point for the English.
With the Falklands War still freshly imprinted on the minds of both England and Argentina, the match was always going to be tense.
It got a lot more tense after Maradona used his left fist to punch the ball into the goal to break the deadlock.
Maradona earned himself the hatred of 50 million Englishmen in a single second.
The linesmen and referee weren't too popular either especially as the linesman had a good view.
The referee claimed to have missed the handball because of "Haemorrhoid treatment." (google it.)
England felt cheated out of a chance to win their second World Cup.
1. Tofik Bakhramov 1966
This is probably the most famous mistake in World Cup history.
Tofik Bakhramov was the infamous "Russian" linesman of the 1966 World Cup final.
Bakhramov was in fact from Azerbaijan and their national stadium was recently named after him.
After 11 minutes of extra time, Geoff Hurst had a shot that hit the crossbar. It bounced down before bouncing away from the goal.
The question of whether the ball went in or not still rages today. Modern technology suggests the ball didn't cross the line and therefore wasn't a goal.
Rumor says that on his death bed, Bakhramov was asked why he gave it as a goal. He is said to have replied "Stalingrad."
However, in his memoirs he stated that he thought the ball had bounced back off the net.
Bakhramov's mistake put England 3-2 ahead of the West German's, giving England a helping hand on the way to World Cup glory.