15 Most Embarrassing Moments in Professional Soccer History
When an embarrassing moment occurs in football, it usually involves a multi-millionaire crashing and burning in front of a huge world audience. The bigger the star, the better us ordinary folk generally feel about the situation.
Embarrassing moments take many different forms. Players make humiliating individual errors on the pitch all the time whilst, collectively, teams often fail at a most basic test.
Elsewhere, stunts captured by the media showing a highly-paid star making a fool out of himself will frequently capture mass interest.
Here's a variety of painful moments taken from the world of football.
1: Diana Ross Miss
We start with a moment not from a football player, but from a music star at a huge football event.
Diana Ross was integral to the opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup. She was scheduled for a cameo performance, entertaining the crowd by singing.
Crucially, during her routine, she was required to kick a ball into a net from all of five yards to continue the festivities. Simple, right?
As this video shows, her technique was sadly lacking.
2: Kevin Keegan Rant
Kevin Keegan showed his emotive side with a passionate speech, which reveals Sir Alex Ferguson’s canny ability to psychologically dishevel his rivals
Keegan’s passion is fuelled by some cheap words Ferguson muttered the week before, suggesting teams tried harder when playing against Manchester United. This was a view Keegan clearly did not agree with, as he struggled to keep his emotions in check when interviewed.
Sadly for Newcastle, Keegan did not get his wish, as Manchester United collected the Premier League trophy that season.
3: Fahad Khalfan Open Goal
To get some action on the pitch, we turn to the world famous Fahad Khalfan, a man who has risen to prominence in the last few years for one of the most glaring bloopers of all time.
Nineteen-year-old Khalfan was making his second appearance for Qatar, in the 2010 Asian Games. As the game neared its conclusion, with the score tied at 0-0, Khalfan produced an epic fail, missing from centimetres out with nobody near him.
His team were eventually eliminated, and the striker is yet to appear in national colours since.
4: Veria FC Collective Effort
Continuing with the theme of misses, how about the best team effort in history?
Taken from the Greek second division, supporters of Veria should demand compensation for their team's inadequacies in front of goal here. Simply nobody is capable of turning the ball into the net.
Turn the volume up for this video, as the despairing gasps from the crowd really complete the picture, as multiple shots are fired in at goal.
5: Peter Enckelman Howler
Reverting to the opposite end, positionally, and goalkeepers are capable of some of the best embarrassing moments. One memorable error comes from the Premier League, and involves Finnish goalkeeper Peter Enckelman.
As this video portrays, in a Midlands derby match against Birmingham—his team’s most important match of the season—Enckelman commits the ultimate blunder. His mistake caused carnage among the Birmingham supporters behind him, which even spilled out onto the pitch in front of him.
On a separate note, the Finn did remarkably well to keep his composure and not floor any of his antagonists.
6: Shay Given, Look Behind You!
One of the best custodians in Premier League history would have been cringing for months after this error.
A seemingly straightforward cross is caught, yet moments later, Dion Dublin is celebrating a goal for Coventry.
Thankfully, since that game, Given has produced enough outstanding performances in goal to gloss over this incident. At least the Irish international probably never failed to check over his shoulder again.
7: Rene Higuita Is No Defender
One of the most eccentric characters in football history erred on the grandest stage of them all, at the 1990 World Cup.
Colombian goalkeeper, Rene Higuita, was always keen to play sweeper, as well as in goal—a desire that backfired on him in this clip. His mistake led to Colombia's exit from the tournament to relative minnows Cameroon.
Playing for a nation spurred on by some of the more fanatical supporters in football, choosing this tactic was surely never the wisest move from Higuita. Just four years later, a Colombian fan shot dead defender Andres Escobar for scoring an own goal in the 1994 World Cup.
However, undeterred, Higuita always continued with his flamboyant antics, performing a scorpion kick (check it out) a year after his teammate's death in 1995. Perhaps this was an intentional move to erase painful memories from 1990.
8: Goran Rubil Own Goal
Own goals are also popular errors in football for everyone, except the relevant team. There have been some hilarious efforts over the years.
Here is one from Hadjuk Split defender Goran Rubil, who produces one of the most embarrassing own goals in history.
To increase the pain, the goal occurred in a match against his team's bitter rivals, Lokomotiva. One wonders if Rubil ever produced a strike as sumptuous as this finish at the right end?
9: Italy v North Korea, David v Goliath
In 1966, Italy suffered possibly the most embarrassing defeat a nation has ever endured, and in a World Cup scenario. This footage, sadly in Mandarin Chinese, gives a glimpse of the action.
At the time of the tournament, there had only ever been seven World Cups, and Italy had been victorious in two of them. Considered one of the favourites, they were pitted against minnows, North Korea.
However, in a momentous upset, Italy lost and were eliminated. It was the only game North Korea won at the 1966 World Cup, but they progressed though to the next round. They conceded nine goals in their other three matches.
When returning home to Italy, an unhappy nation welcomed their team back by tossing tomatoes and eggs at the players.
10: France 2010 World Cup Disarray
France have suffered more than their fair share of embarrassment on the world stage.
Their 2002 World Cup exit, culminating in a shock loss against Senegal, came close to making this list, but their entire performance at the 2010 World Cup was shambles that greatly amused the rest of the watching world.
Their team, full of superstars, only qualified thanks to a dubious goal against Ireland after a blatant Thierry Henry handball. From then on, as this video demonstrates, they failed to win a game, lost, most notably, to South Africa, argued in front of the world media and even boycotted training.
It was a World Cup that quickly became a farce for the 1998 champions.
11: Richard Keys and Andy Gray Fiasco
Former player, Andy Gray, and presenter, Richard Keys, turned many heads last season when several of their off-screen chats suddenly became obtained by the media. The clips displayed extreme sexism and crude remarks towards women.
Gurus of football coverage, the pair were ditched by Sky, where they had presented Premier League football since it first came to television. Their shocking views were particularly aimed at a female linesman, Sian Massey, who, since these incidents has now progressed up to the Select Group for elite match officials.
The media storm this created continued and more vulgar off-screen moments were captured of the duo, who suffered huge public condemnation for the whole event.
12: Ashley Cole Naked Pictures
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Already one of the most disliked footballers on the planet, Ashley Cole sunk to new depths of despair last February thanks to some saucy text messages.
Naked photos of the England left-back were sent to a glamour model's phone, who sent her conversation with Cole to the newspapers.
At first, Cole denied he had been the one sending the images, and professed his embarrassment at the whole matter. Yet, eventually images were found on other phones and the situation drastically escalated.
A few months after these incidents, his wife Cheryl Cole filed for divorce.
13: Ryan Giggs Affair
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Near the very end of his career, Ryan Giggs seemed destined to go down as one of the best, most respected footballers in history. Yet, after his private life was recently pervaded through the media, his respect levels have taken a hit.
In a saga that went on for months, the theme focused around an injunction filed by a mystery footballer to prevent a newspaper revealing his affair. The affair was with Imogen Thomas, a former Miss Wales, and the mystery footballer was of course Giggs, although nobody should have known.
Despite the media being forbidden to write on the topic, word soon spread across social media outlets, until it became a secret the entire world seemed to know about. Eventually, his name was revealed in parliament, and details were finally put out in print.
The fact that the player in question was Giggs, an individual many considered to be a genuine role model, really captured the public's attention.
For the rest of the summer, further rumours and sordid stories were unearthed about the Manchester United great, who remained out of the spotlight—seemingly in hiding all summer long.
14: Ian Wright, Pop Star
To turn the mood back to some funnier stunts, here is Ian Wright launching himself as a pop star. On lead vocals, he stars in a classic '90s cheesy pop mix that must surely make him shudder when looking back.
The Arsenal legend released this song in 1993, during his days at Highbury. Wittily entitled "Do the Right Thing," the song only peaked at number 43 in the charts.
Despite his passionate vocals, Wright's music career produced little else after the single's dismal sales.
15: Clint Dempsey, Rap Star
Whilst Clint Dempsey has become one of the most successful American Premier League exports, his rap career is not quite as impressive. In 2006, he plugged a rap video with Big Hawk, highlighting his rap credentials.
The song includes lyrics such as, “Thanks to soccer I’m around more ice than a hockey skate,” and it is probably fair to say his musical talent does not quite match what he can produce on a football field. Thankfully, he has kept this avenue on hold for a while, and has concentrated on producing for Fulham each week.
Dempsey is not the only football player to delve into rap. Everton's new acquisition Royston Drenthe made a video with Tak Taki, while Andy Cole's rap skills are showcased in his video, entitled "Outstanding."
That's for now.
With so many embarrassing moments happening in football all the time, feel free to add below any moments you can recall as worthy of inclusion on this list.
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