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Best World Cup moments of all time

Sat 29 May 2021 | 9:00

We've compiled a list of some of the Best World Cup moments of all time, those that can hardly be forgotten.

The World Cup, as the world's largest sporting event and one that started in 1930, has undoubtedly generated a variety of memorable moments over the years. Which ones, however, stand out as the best?

The Fifa World Cup conjures up images and memories that we'll recall for the rest of our lives – assuming we're old enough to remember them in the first place!

Whether it's a spectacular goal, an equally brilliant celebration, a gesture of brilliance, or even a bizarre moment, the FIFA World Cup never fails to entertain, and each edition of the tournament is eagerly anticipated around the world.

Every World Cup is a special occasion, but there's always one that you secretly prefer over the others, just like one's children.

Best World Cup moments of all time

As a result, we've compiled a list of the 12 Best moments in FIFA World Cup history

Dennis Bergkamp, 1998 World Cup

Some goals are so amazing that they are considered works of art rather than goals.

In the 1998 quarterfinals, Dennis Bergkamp scored a game-winning goal in the final minute of normal time.

The match, which took place in the sweltering heat of Marseille, was deadlocked at one apiece before Bergkamp scored a brilliant goal, one of the Best World Cup moments of all time.

His first touch was flawless, and the ball clung to his foot like glue.

Humans aren't meant to be able to control the ball with their feet as well as they do.

With his second touch, he was able to get past defender Roberto Ayala as he cut to the inside.

Bergkamp was one-on-one with Carlos Roa, the goalkeeper, and he made the finish look easy.

He hit the ball into the top corner with the outside of his foot.

It was a perfect goal on every level, and given the time of the game, it was an all-time classic and one of the Best moments in FIFA World Cup history.

Pele, 1970 World Cup

The Brazil team of 1970 was, in my opinion, the greatest ever.

They were such an amazing team to watch, even their misses impressed the crowds with their incredible talent.

The two that everyone recalls were both performed by Pele, one of the greatest players in history.

One of them was during the 1970 World Cup which was the first to be broadcast in color around the world.

The fans were enthralled by what they saw from the Brazilian team, especially the incredible audacity shown by players like Pele in pulling off plays that most people could only dream of, creating some of the

Best moments in FIFA World Cup history.

Brazil

was matched against Czechoslovakia in their first match. Pele got a pass inside his own half in the first half.

He wasn't under any duress and allowed himself to take a touch.

He looked up and saw Ivo Viktor, the goalkeeper, well off his side.

After seeing this, Pele attempted the unthinkable and struck from inside his own half.

He was on the verge of pulling it off. The ball was hit beautifully by Pele, and the shot seemed to be going in. Viktor tried to catch up, but he was outrun.

He got lucky, however, because the shot was a foot to the right of the goal.

The ball appeared to float in mid-air for an eternity, and the whole world seemed to come to a halt as everyone waited to see whether it would land, indeed one of the Best World Cup moments of all time.

Helmut Rahn, 1954 World Cup

Among the Best World Cup moments of all time, one took place when West Germany was placed against

Hungary

, the world's best team at the time.

Prior to that game, Hungary had won 32 consecutive matches and the gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics.

In addition, they had previously crushed West Germany 8-3 in a World Cup match. The German people had no faith in their country's ability to win.

West Germany's situation seemed to be getting worse after falling behind 2-0 after just eight minutes.

They did, however, continue not giving up. With goals from Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn, West Germany tied the game within 10 minutes.

The game would remain deadlocked until late in the second half.

With just six minutes left in normal time, Rahn did the impossible and put the Germans ahead, producing one of the Greatest World Cup moments of all time.

After the goal, the entire nation, including Herbert Zimmermann, the radio announcer, erupted in joy.

 Almost every German was listening to the game on the radio, and Zimermann's popular call of the play made him a national hero in the country.

Jorge Burruchaga, 1986 World Cup

Jorge Burruchaga was able to score a fantastic goal in 1986, fulfilling a dream shared by all young soccer fans around the world and making one of the Greatest World Cup moments of all time.

Argentina

faced off against West Germany in the final.

The match was supposed to be dominated by Maradona, the best player in the world.

Argentina took a 2-0 lead and all was going according to plan.

The Germans, on the other hand, were never counted out and made a bold comeback.

They equalized with two goals from corner kicks, and the game's momentum had shifted dramatically.

However, just three minutes after West Germany tied it, one of the most dramatic moments in World Cup history occurred.

Maradona was surrounded by Germans but was able to play a through ball to a wide-open Burruchaga. Burruchaga took a clean shot on target with just Harold Schumacher to beat.

As they saw Burruchaga run in on goal, the entire world came to a standstill.

Burrichaga moved ahead and beat Schumacher to the right.

In perhaps the best final in history, it was one of the Best World Cup moments of all time.

Johann Cruyff, 1974 World Cup

Johann Cruyff's performance in the 1974 World Cup was so spectacular that the trick is now named after him.

In the first round, the move was made against

Sweden

.

The game ended in a 0-0 draw, but Cruyff's brilliance was well worth the price of entry.

Cruyff collected the ball on the left side of the penalty area and initiated creating one of the

Greatest World Cup moments of all time.

The poor man in charge of defending Cruyff on the field was Jan Olsson.

Initially, Olsson did a good job of defending the play, forcing Cruyff to turn his back on the goal while in possession of the ball.

Cruyff had gained some room and seemed to be about to pass the ball to the top of the box.

However, he faked it and dragged the ball across his plant leg with the inside of his foot in the other direction.

Olsson was totally tricked by this move because it was executed too quickly and smoothly.

He was so taken aback by the turn that he initially looked to the top of the box to see where the ball had been played to, only to find Cruyff still in possession.

He knew Cruyff was already gone at that point and played in his cross, which no one could get on the end of.

Regardless, it was a magical moment, one of the Best World Cup moments of all time.

Andres Iniesta, 2010 World Cup

The game between

Spain

and Holland was extremely close and tense throughout.

It was a physical game, and neither side was able to produce any golden opportunities.

Spain got a big break in the 109th minute when John Heitinga collected his second yellow card for an attack on Iniesta.

With just 10 minutes remaining, Spain pushed on in pursuit of a win, not knowing that they’re about to give us one of the

Best World Cup moments of all time.

The Dutch, on the other hand, resisted and the game seemed to be heading to penalties.

Spain launched an attack with four minutes remaining.

The ball was passed to Fernando Torres, who attempted to cross it into Iniesta.

Iniesta was offsides, but fortunately for him, the ball did not go through and the game proceeded.

Cesc Fabregas received the ball, and Iniesta took a few steps back to regain possession.

The ball bounced up after one touch by Iniesta. Rafael van der Vaart dashed back in an attempt to stop Iniesta, but he was too late.

Iniesta snatched the ball from the air and sped past Maarten Stekelenburg.

For the Spanish players and fans, it was an unforgettable burst of joy, and they celebrated wildly, for it was one of the famous FIFA World Cup moments.

Saeed Al-Owarian, 1994 World Cup

Saeed Al-Owarian netted the World Cup's second-best individual goal in 1994, producing one of the famous FIFA World Cup moments.

 Al-Owarian came from one of the most unlikely positions for a player to come from if he wanted to score a goal like that.

That nation is

Saudi Arabia

, which was competing in their first World Cup.

The goal came against Belgium, who had gone undefeated in their first two games.

On this occasion, however, Al-Owarian embarrassed their defense by going on an epic solo run.

Before finally knocking it home, he weaved in and out of defender after defender.

Al-Owarian came close to repeating his wonder goal by making another brilliant run into the box but failing to finish.

Regardless, Saeed was noticed by the rest of the globe for he was able to make one of the Best World Cup moments of all time.

Al-Owarian became an instant celebrity in his homeland, earning the nickname "Maradona of the Arabs."

He was featured in several advertisements and received awards for his performance, which was fuelled by that incredible goal.

He was, however, a victim of his own success, and after violating Saudi law, he was sentenced to a year in prison.

Gordon Banks, 1970 World Cup

In 1970, Brazil and

England

were the two best teams, and their match served as the de facto final.

Brazil would defeat the reigning World Champions, but Banks' save was the game's most memorable moment and one of the

famous FIFA World Cup moments

. It happened in the first half of the game.

Jairzinho, who is simply incredible, got on the end of a pass and sent in a stunning cross from the end line.

Pele, the legendary Brazilian footballer, hurled the cross down with ferocity.

For all intents and purposes, the ball seemed to be going inside the left side.

Since the cross came from the right, banks was drawn to the other side.

Banks miraculously made it over in time and displayed cat-like reflexes to dive out and knock the ball away.

Banks had to dive not only across the line but also backwards to keep the ball from going in.

The most incredible aspect of the save was that Banks just got his thumb to the ball and somehow managed to flick it over the crossbar.

Without a doubt, one of the Best World Cup moments of all time.

It was, in Pele's opinion, the best save he had ever seen. He also acknowledged that that play is remembered by more people than all of his goals.

Banks, unfortunately, suffered from food poisoning and was forced to withdraw from the quarterfinal match against West Germany.

Paolo Rossi, 1982 World Cup

Paolo Rossi's story is one of the most impressive in World Cup history and one of the

Best World Cup moments of all time.

Rossi was known as one of the greatest strikers in the world in the late 1970s.

He would, however, become involved in one of soccer's greatest scandals in 1980.

Rossi had a rough start to the tournament, as his skills were rusty. 

He didn't score in any of

Italy

's first three games, and they barely made it to the second round.

People were angry that Bearzot had selected Rossi, putting a lot of pressure on him.

Italy's next match saw them put in a strong showing and defeat Argentina.

However, they would have to beat Brazil, the best team in the world, in their final match of the second round.

This is when Rossi's and the Italian team's fates would be decided.

Rossi's performance was one of the most unforgettable in World Cup history.

He won the match for Italy by himself, scoring a hat trick in a 3-2 victory.

No one could believe what they were hearing.

All were baffled as to where the performance had come from and how one of the World Cup amazing moments in history just took place.

Pele, 1958 World Cup

Pele during the 1958 FIFA World Cup. The world had heard a lot of good things about this 17-year-old Brazilian and was eager to see what he could do.

He didn't let anybody down, creating some of the

Best World Cup moments of all time.

Pele's time would come in the second half of the game between Brazil and

France

.

He wowed the world by scoring three goals and leading Brazil to their second-ever World Cup final.

Pele would then demonstrate that he had saved his best for last.

Pele was a nightmare in the final. In a 5-2 win over host nation Sweden, he scored two goals as Brazil won their first-ever World Cup.

Pele's goals were incredible, and a Swedish player even admitted that he considered applauding his performance for presenting to the world one of the World Cup amazing moments in history.

Pele's success in 1958 demonstrated to the rest of the world what a fantastic player he was.

It would be the first of several major events in his professional life.

Pele's post-game celebration after the World Cup final is another iconic image from the tournament.

Pele's eyes welled up with tears as he rejoiced at the moment.

Brazil, a sleeping giant of world football, was also awoken by the 1958 World Cup.

They have won four more World Cups since then, the most among all nations.

Diego Maradona, 1986 World Cup

A bad interception in this match between Argentina and England sent the ball enticingly up into the air between England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and Argentinian genius Maradona.

Maradona was the first to reach the ball, punching it into the net with his hand rather than his head,

making one of the

most memorable moments in World Cup history.

Despite the England players' protests, the goal was upheld because the referee had not seen the incident.

When England and Argentina met in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, they were fierce rivals on the pitch, thanks in part to the recent Falklands War.

Later, Maradona said the goal was scored "a little with Maradona's head and a little with God's hand."

This moment after all these years is still considered one of the most memorable moments in World Cup history.

Maradona, 1986 World Cup

Maradona's moment of magic came just minutes after the World Cup's most controversial goal, the hand of God which was also one of the

World Cup amazing moments in history.

England was also fuming because they believed the ball had been kicked in by a part of Maradona's anatomy that isn't supposed to be used in soccer.

The second goal, on the other hand, shocked the world, and for all the right reasons.

After the second goal, even English midfielder John Barnes admitted that it took all of his willpower to keep from jumping off the bench and applauding the goal. That was the case.

In his own half, Maradona picked up the ball and ran straight for the goal.

No matter how many Englishmen stood in his path, he was not going to be stopped.

As if they weren't even there, Maradona weaved in and out of defenders. The ball seemed to be stuck at his foot.

Player after player tried but failed, to take the ball away from him.

Finally, Maradona was in on the goalie, Peter Shilton, who was also peerless to stop him.

Maradona rounded him up and slipped the ball into the empty net before Terry Butcher could foul him from behind.

Argentina announcer Victor Morales started crying because it was just so perfect, unquestionably one of the most memorable moments in World Cup history.

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