25 of the Most Shocking Moments in World Football History

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIFebruary 9, 2012

25 of the Most Shocking Moments in World Football History

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    Football has produced some shocking moments, both good and bad.

    The history of the "Beautiful game" is rich with events that make fans wonder what could have been or why something things have been.

    Tragedies have occurred, players have lost their heads and, in more positive incidents, teams perform beyond expectations.

    This list could be filled with hundreds of incidents across the world.

    Here are 25 of the most shocking moments in world football history.

Fan Riots in Egypt 2012

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    There were reports of over 74 people killed and hundreds injured in this tragic incident.

    After a match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly, fans of the winning team, Al-Masry, invaded the pitch and began to attack both opposition fans and players.

    There were rocks thrown and fireworks set off by the attackers, and apparently the security forces at the grounds made no attempt to quell proceedings.

    Al-Ahly players even called into the team's local station to describe events.

    "One of Al-Ahli's players, Mohamed Aboutreika, rang the team's own television channel to describe the violence as it unfolded. He said Masry supporters invaded the pitch after the referee had blown his whistle, despite their team winning 3-1."

    Officials within the city that this incident occurred, Port Said, were fired and there have been various theories as to how exactly such an event came to pass.

Hillsborough Disaster 1989

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    Liverpool were to face Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semifinal on the 15th of April, 1989 at Hillsborough stadium.

    What should have been an exciting day of football ended up with over 93 people dead and hundreds injured in one of the most disastrous events in British football history.

    Liverpool fans outnumbered those of their opposition yet they were allocated tickets to the Leppings Lane end of the stadium which held fewer seats. 

    As more Liverpool fans came to the grounds the push from those outside the stadium led to those at the front being crushed together and against fencing surrounding the pitch. The inadequate preparations and actions by police officers exacerbated the situation and tragedy ensued.

    The disaster led to the Taylor Report which called for several changes to stadium design, including seating assignments for all spectators.

The Heysel Disaster 1985

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    Four years before the Hillsborough disaster, Liverpool fans were involved in another tragic event. On May 29, 1985, Liverpool was defending its European title against Juventus at the Heysel stadium in Belgium.

    As is usually the case, fans were separated into various sections but Liverpool fans in section Y ended up next to a number of Juventus fans in section Z—which was supposed to be a neutral section for Belgian fans.

    Both sets of spectators began to throw projectiles at each other and soon the Liverpool fans broke through the barrier separating the two groups and forced Juventus fans towards the wall.

    As more and more Juventus fans tried to escape the wall collapsed, resulting in deaths and injuries to many.

Gabon Air Disaster 1993

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    In 1993, Zambia had a squad that seemed set to make it to the World Cup.

    While on their way to a World Cup qualification match, the plane carrying Zambia's team crashed into the Atlantic Ocean resulting in the deaths of the entire team.

    The crash was a result of a faulty plane which may have helped cause a pilot error. Zambia lost the majority of its team as well as the coaching staff and one or two officials.

    Zambia's captain at the time, Kalusha Bwayla, was not on the plane and led a hastily assembled squad through the rest of qualifications and into the 1994 African Nations Cups finals where they lost to Nigeria.

Munich Air Disaster 1958

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    On the 6th of February 1958 Manchester United suffered some terrible losses. The majority of the "Busby Babes" died in a plane accident on the way home from a European encounter.

    After two failed take-off attempts the pilots decided to try for a third time, and the plane crashed while trying to take off.

    Eight Manchester United players died as well as members of the Manchester United staff, a number of journalists and other passengers and crew.

    Matt Busby was at death's door but survived and was able to establish a second crop of talented players for the club.

The Superga Air Disaster 1949

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    Torino had the greatest team in Italy at the time of this disaster. They had won four straight Serie A titles and up to 10 of the club's players were Italy internationals.

    On the way home from a testimonial match against Benfica, decreased visibility and an error in navigation led to the plane crashing into a building on Superga Hill.

    All the passengers and crew died and as a result both the club and the Italy national team were severely weakened.

Liverpool's Champions League Comeback in 2005

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    Liverpool won one of the greatest finals played in Champions League and possibly football history.

    After AC Milan took 45 minutes to dismantle their opponents and seemingly grab hold of the trophy, Liverpool took six minutes to send neutrals, supporting fans and opposing fans into various emotional states.

    After the goal in the 60th minute, Liverpool defended immensely and still conjured up one or two chances to win the game. In the end, it came down to the nervy affair of penalties.

    AC Milan missed three penalties—most notably Jerzy Dudek's save of Andriy Schevchenko penalty—and Liverpool missed only one and history was written.

Greece Wins Euro 2004

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    Greece won Euro 2004 in very surprising and shocking fashion. This team played the ugliest and most defensive football at the time and to consider them as tournament winner was laughable.

    Funnily enough, they started and ended the tournament with a win over Portugal, a team who was among the favourites to win. Especially considering that they were the hosts.

    On the way to the trophy, Greece beat Portugal(twice), France and the Czech Republic. None of the knockout games went to penalties and only one went to extra-time.

Senegal Beats France and Has Solid Run in the 2002 World Cup

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    In the opening game of the 2002 World Cup, Senegal—a team making its first appearance on this stage—beat France—the reigning World and European champions.

    Senegal featured a number of players plying their trade across France but France had the big stars.

    But the Africans were not finished there. They achieved two more ties in the group stages and went on to quarterfinals before losing to Turkey in extra-time. They beat a talented Swedish side to reach the game against Turkey.

    Senegal's run prompted some big moves for players like El-Hadj Diouf.

Cameroon's Defeat of Argentina and Shock Run in 1990 World Cup

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    Cameroon must have provided inspiration for Senegal as they achieved similar success in the 1990 World Cup Final.

    The Africans opened the tournament with a bang, beating eventual finalists Argentina while doling out some extensive punishment to Claudio Caniggia

    They also went on to beat an extremely talented Romania side that included the likes of Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu.

    The Cameroonians did it one more time when they beat an impressive team from Colombia boasting Carlos Valderrama and other talents.

    They eventually lost to England in the quarterfinals but it was a close run thing, with the game going into extra-time and ending up 3-2.

North Korea Beats Italy in the 1966 World Cup

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    In 1966 North Korea delivered a mighty performance to beat Italy. The end result was a slim 1-0 margin but it sent shockwaves through the world of football when it happened.

    North Korea almost went on to shock Portugal as well but helped Eusebio deliver one of the finest World Cup performances ever.

Uruguay Win 1950 World Cup

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    It was all a formality for Brazil really. In that tournament the final stage was basically regular group stage play. Four teams—Spain, Sweden, Brazil and Uruguay—would play each other once and the team with the most points was the winner.

    Brazil dominated the two European sides while Uruguay drew one and won one. All Brazil needed was a draw or a win to be crowned champions.

    After going down 1-0 to their opponents Uruguay responded with two goals that left the hosts reeling.

    They came out on top by one point and were crowned champions much to the dismay of the Brazilian nation.

USA Defeats England in the 1950 World Cup

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    Before Uruguay upstaged its opponents in the finals, the United States beat England earlier in tournament. The English side was one of the best around at the time with the likes of Sir Alf Ramsey, Stanley Mortensen and Tom Finney in the side.

    They were facing a bunch of amateurs and semi-pro player from the USA.

    The USA came away 1-0 winners in a result that was totally unexpected. Before the goal England created chance after chance but couldn't find a way through. Neither team made it through to the next round.

Gary Speed Death 2011

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    Gary Speed's recent death and was a shocking moment in the world of football.

    Speed had a long career and was well-respected within the game.

    He spent his time playing for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United before retiring. At the time of his death, Speed was the manager of the Wales national team and was helping the team fulfill its potential with the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in the side.

Togo National Team Bus Attacked at 2010 African Cup of Nations

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    Two years ago, Togo's team bus was attacked before the beginning of the 2010 African Cup of Nations. Three people were killed and several more wounded in the incident.

    According to some reports, a rebel leader said that the team wasn't the intended target.

    The Togo team pulled out of the tournament  due to the wishes of Togolese government officials.

Andres Escobar Murdered After 1990 World Cup

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    If you've never watched ESPN's 30 for 30 series and specifically "The Two Escobars" you should.

    Andres Escobar will be always be linked with that own-goal against the USA which resulted in a loss for the talented Colombian side. Upon his return to Colombia, he was shot and killed.

    It is generally believed that he was murdered due to his own-goal.

Marc-Vivien Foe's Death

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    Marc-Vivien Foe(number 17 in this picture) collapsed in the middle of the pitch during a Confederations Cup semi-final between Cameroon and Colombia.

    Many attempts were made to resuscitate the player on the pitch and on the way to medical center in the stadium where he died.

    Foe was posthumously diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which increases the risk of sudden death during physical exercise.

Theirry Henry Handball vs. Ireland 2009

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    Thierry Henry shocked a lot of fans, and hurt a whole nation, with his actions in this incident.

    In the first half of extra-time in the pivotal game to decide a World Cup spot, Henry handled the ball and flicked it to William Gallas who scored what would be the game-winning goal.

Zidane Headbutt in the 2006 World Cup Final

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    One of the greatest players ever, Zinedine Zidane ended his career on the worst possible note. This didn't necessarily tarnish his reputation but it is something that not many will forget, especially non-football fans.

Eric Cantona's Kung-Fu Kick Against Crystal Palace Fan 1995

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    Eric Cantona's temper was well known and he showed it in one of his most infamous moments against Crystal Palace.

    Cantona reacted to some fan abuse with a kung-fu style kick into the crowd and received some hefty punishment for his actions.

Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" 1986 World Cup

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    Arguably the greatest player ever credited this first of his two most memorable goals to some divine inspiration.

    It is unclear how just about everyone else seemed to know what had happened except the referee at the time. Pictures like this and even video replays from a far out angle show that something was amiss.

    It was a shocking bit of play from the Argentine.

The "Battle of Santiago" 1962

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    As you can see from this video, the "Battle of Santiago" was definitely not about football. Apparently two Italian journalists made some not so nice comments about the state of Santiago prior to the World Cup which heightened the tension between the teams.

    Chile played Italy, if you can say the word played, in this game. Back then there not any red or yellow cards but thankfully the referee saw fit to send some players off. At the end of the game there were nine Italians and 11 Chileans playing.

149 Own Goals

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    Staging a protest is can be a good thing, depending on how you do it. Madascgar club Stade Olympique l'Emyrne probably chose the wrong way.

    In its final game of the season against AS Adema, Stade Olympique l'Emyrne's coach, Zaka Be, decided it was best for the club to humiliate itself due to one controversial call that may have cost them the title.

    The club did just that and Be was suspended for three years while some of his players were also suspended for shorter terms. Shocking decision from the coach there.

Calciopoli Scandal 2006

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    Big teams in Italy punished to varying degrees for their involvement in this match-fixing scandal in 2006.

    After some police investigation uncovered some scheming between various club officials and refereeing institutions. Clubs involved included Milan, Fiorentina, Reggina, Lazio and Juventus.

    Juventus came off the worse as the club was stripped of two Serie A titles, kicked out of the Champions League for the following season and relegated to Serie B. There were also fines and a lifetime ban as well as a jail sentence for then Juventus managing director, Luciano Moggi.

Marseille Scandal 1993

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    Marseille was once at the height of things in France and Europe. After hitting the highest of notes by beating AC Milan in the European Cup Final in 1993, it was reported that some Marseille officials had bribed players of their last league opponents, Valenciennes.

    The players were asked to throw the game and not injure any Marseille players as they had the European game to look forward too.

    The team was stripped of its previous league title, relegated to the second division and not allowed to participate in the upcoming Champions League nor to participate in the Intercontinental cup or the European Super Cup.