Despite being a top notch tournament featuring the best of match officials, the Fifa World Cup had its share of controversies over the years. Those controversies are still discussed by fans today, and here we take a look at the three most controversial moments till date in the greatest show on earth.
1. Argentina v England, Diego Maradona, Mexico 1986
Argentina legend Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal makes it to the top of the list without any argument. In their quarter-final against England, Argentina looked in good shape from kick off but the English defence held firm in the face of adversity. With the score locked at 0-0, the English defence made a poor clearance just on the edge of the d-box and Maradona willingly raised his arm and shoved the ball past goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Referee Ali bin Nasser failed to see the handball by Maradona and eventually allowed the goal to stand. Argentina won 2-1 with Maradona also scoring the second, a slaloming run past the entire English defence. Argentine went on to lift the title after defeating West Germany in the final.
2. England v Germany, Frank Lampard, South Africa 2010
England were trailing arch-rival Germany 2-1 in the last 16 tie in Johannesburg. Half an hour into the game, Germany had taken a two-nil lead before Matthew Upson reduced the arrears for England. Moments later, controversy struck, and how! England midfielder Frank Lampard volleyed a shot towards goal in the 39th minute. The ball rattled the crossbar and landed inside the goalline before bouncing back outside. Referee Jorge Larrionda failed to see the ball cross the line and disallowed the goal, much to everyone’s utter disbelief. The decision did not make all that difference as Germany scored two more goals to qualify for the last eight. The incident is considered the biggest blunder by a referee at the 2010 edition. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer later admitted he had deceived the referee by claiming onto the ball as soon as it bounced back outside.
3. England v West Germany, Geoff Hurst, England 1966
England have won the World Cup only once so far, in 1966 beating West Germany in the final at Wembley. The glory however, was only achieved after a highly controversial decision by the linesman who awarded England their third goal. It was 2-2 after normal time, the game evenly poised. In the 103rd minute, English striker Geoff Hurst hit the crossbar and the ball bounced on the line before being cleared by an opposition defender. Referee Gottfried Dienst rushed to his assistant for a word before allowing the goal, despite protests by the West Germany players that the ball had not crossed the line. West Germany failed to script a comeback and Hurst went on to register the maiden hat-trick in the history of the World Cup as England clinched a 4-2 win, their only success till date in the greatest show on earth.