10 Best FIFA World Cups That Will Be Remembered Forever

FIFA World Cup 2022 is finally upon us, kicking off with Qatar vs Ecuador. Although we don’t know how it’s going to go, it’s such a meaningful World Cup season as we’ve waited for it for a long time due to the pandemic. And now, we once again enjoy top-notch matches from the best football team around the world.

Since 1930, the World Cup has garnered massive attention around the world. It’s regarded as the biggest sports celebration that attracts even football non-fans. There have been 21 World Cup tournaments so far. Although all of them have had millions and millions of people watched, they’re not the same. Many of them leave marks with arrays of the greatest moment, yet certain disappoint football lovers with controversy and backlash.

Today, we would like to highlight 10 incredible and indelible FIFA World Cups. They made significant years for football aficionados. Keep scrolling down to explore.

#1 World Cup USA 1994 – A Real Superstar Festival

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World Cup 1994 was hosted by the United States. That initially ignited suspicion worldwide as soccer wasn't favored in the States. But after all, football lovers had an incredible World Cup season this year with the appearances of many soccer legends and (of course) top-notch matches.

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Almost 70.000 viewers watched every game, and they witnessed the most memorable moments in their life. From Brazil demonstrating explosives, and attacking soccer to Italians showing their defense art, they thrilled anyone watching. Besides, the goal of Roger Milla at 42, Russia trashing Cameron 6-1, Saudi Arabia advancing from the group stage, and mighty Argentina led by Diego Maradona are also what put World Cup USA 1994 at the center of attention. Brazil's final victory (with a very young Ronaldo) was underwhelming, but the 1994 World Cup remains the gold standard! Oh, and who can forget the infamous penalty miss?

#2 World Cup Mexico 1970 – Pelé and The Strongest Team Ever

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This was the final tournament in which the Jules Rimet trophy was awarded, and it was certainly the best at the time. Once again, 16 teams competed for the championship, with eight teams progressing from the group stages to the quarterfinals. While many feared that the high heat and altitude would degrade soccer quality, there were nearly three goals per game. Despite the fact that the tournament brought back all previous champions, no one doubted that Brazil was the overwhelming favorite.

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When Pelé agreed to return, the dream team was complete. This Brazilian team, which averaged more than three goals each game, is the main reason Mexico 1970 is ranked so high. Jairzinho, their attacker, made history by scoring in every match, which has never been repeated. Finally, this was the first World Cup tournament to be broadcast in color!

#3 World Cup Spain 1982 - The Surprising Triumph

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Kuwait was one of the 24 teams who qualified for the World Cup for the first time; this feat was never repeated by Kuwait. Kuwait was one of the 24 teams who qualified for the World Cup for the first time; this feat was never repeated by Kuwait. This was one of the strongest tournaments on the basis of the teams and players who competed. Maradona was finally made known to the world, but the dominant Brazilian team was the talk of the town. Many football fans compare this team to the one that won the championship in 1970.

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But it wasn't to be as Italy unexpectedly eliminated them following the second group round, going on to capture the trophy no one predicted. Paolo Rossi, who scored six goals to lead the team, was the hero. Why then isn't this competition at the top? There are several factors, including the dishonorable, fixed match between Germany and Austria and the egregious referee calls in the host nation's games.

#4 World Cup Brazil 2014 – Brazilian Tears

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2014 saw the return of soccer to Brazil, and everyone had great expectations. After the infamous setback to Uruguay 64 years ago, fervent local supporters flooded stadiums in the hopes that their team would win the trophy. Almost all of the top teams, including every World Cup champion from the past, made it through the qualifying rounds. The biggest upset of the tournament was the expulsion of the defending champions, Spain, who were sent home after dropping the opening two games. Costa Rica won their group, making it embarrassing for Italy and England as well.

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Even then, the knockout round provided us with almost as many surprises, with medal winners Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, and Argentina. The final wasn't especially noteworthy, but Germany's 7-0 thrashing of Brazil was incredible! Another surprise was that Leo Messi, who played poorly and lost the championship match, was named the competition's top player.

#5 World Cup France 1998 – Fan Favorite Final

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The new system was first used in France in 1998 when 32 teams could compete for the championship. We saw Croatia, Jamaica, Japan, South Africa, and FR Yugoslavia for the first time. After the 1994 edition, the teams' quality was arguably the highest in history. The favorites were Brazil and France, but we also saw players from the new generations of England, Argentinian, and Dutch teams. Numerous people mentioned FR Yugoslavia as having the greatest team in history. But in the end, they lost in the round of 16.

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Other favorites made steady progress, with Croatia being the lone unexpected winner of the bronze. One of the most unforgettable moments was France's 3-0 victory over Brazil in the championship match, but there are so many more games we'd like to watch repeatedly. Despite the ridiculous and transient Golden Goal rule being imposed, it was a truly fantastic World Cup.

#6 World Cup Mexico 1986 – One Man Show

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The World Cup was originally given to Colombia, but it was transferred to Mexico, making it the first nation to host it twice. It presented a significant challenge to the country, which had just experienced a catastrophic earthquake. However, in the year of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Disaster, they heroically managed to plan for the occasion. A new format was also used for the competition. 24 teams competed, just as in the last competition, although this time 16 teams advanced to the knockout rounds. This also meant that Bulgaria and Uruguay, who only finished with two points in their groups, qualified for the elimination round.

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But the player regarded as the finest ever is what made this tournament legendary. No other World Cup player in history played such a significant role. Diego Armando Maradona. He scored five goals and contributed as many assists in seven games, with the last one helping his team win the championship. Even still, many people will recall his contentious performance against England in the quarterfinals. Prior to scoring the best goal in history, he first scored the most hideous goal in history (with his hand!). He passed five players after receiving the ball in his half before scoring. No individual has ever played so godlike in the history of the World Cup!

#7 World Cup Russia 2018 – The Croatian Sensation

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The first World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe was met with some skepticism, but Russia proved to be the ideal host. Italy, the United States, and the Netherlands were not able to participate since they did not meet the requirements. Iceland and Panama, on the other hand, made their debuts. In the first round, there was only one surprise, but it was the largest one possible! Germany lost two games and was eliminated in the first round, just like Spain had been four years before.

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The miracle occurred in the knockout rounds when England finally defeated an opponent on penalties! However, Croatia, the biggest surprise of the competition, ended their chances of winning the championship once they advanced to the semifinals. They were unable to match France in the championship game, which featured six goals. Let's not forget the outstanding Belgian Red Devils, who prevailed in the third-place match. Despite the lack of particularly memorable moments, Russia 2018 provided us with top-notch soccer and competitive games. All we have ever needed is that!

#8 World Cup Germany 2006 – The Tale of Two Dark Horses

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Because the 2002 FIFA World Cup was such a letdown, everyone had high hopes for the first tournament in undivided Germany. The hosts were not among the favorites this time, but they made their presence known. Eight nations made their World Cup debuts, including exotic sides like Togo and Trinidad and Tobago. Nobody mentioned former World Cup champions Italy or France. Both teams were not regarded as favorites, with almost everyone focusing on one side - Brazil.

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Still, these were the teams we saw in the dramatic final, which saw Italy win their fourth title after great Zinedine Zidane was sent out for headbutting. This tournament provided us with many classics, many magnificent long-distance goals, and a fairytale story of two titans regaining their dominance. Oh, and this World Cup had a very weird moment when Switzerland was eliminated after not conceding a goal in all four games!

#9 World Cup Switzerland 1954 – High-Scoring Festival


The 1954 FIFA World Cup was the first competition that mirrored modern FIFA World Cups. For the first time since 1934, 16 teams competed, divided into four groups, with the top two teams advancing to the quarterfinals. However, because of the unusual round-robin arrangement, the two top-seeded teams never played each other!

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With over 5.5 goals scored each game, this World Cup is also by far the highest-scoring one. But that's mostly because of some rather feeble sides. For instance, South Korea managed to surrender 16 goals in just two games! It's also difficult to forget the quarterfinal, in which Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5. The biggest thrill, nevertheless, occurred in the final when West Germany shocked everyone by defeating the favorite, Hungary. Even though they were down 2-0 after just eight minutes of play, this still occurred! As a result, Germany eventually emerged at this tournament as titans, while Hungary gradually vanished into obscurity.

#10 World Cup West Germany 1974 – The Cradle of Football

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We got the new FIFA World Cup trophy in 1974, which is still in use today. Once again, 16 teams competed, including debutants from East Germany, Haiti, and Zaire (now DR Kongo). East and West Germany even competed in the same group, and the hosts were defeated. Despite the defeat, West Germany was still seen as the second favorite, trailing only the strong Dutch team. The Netherlands displayed Total Football, led by their superstar Johan Cruyff.

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Because of this unconventional tactic, any outfielder could play any position, creating an unsolvable puzzle for the competitors. The Netherlands scored 14 goals before the final while conceding only one, making it one of the most dominant teams in World Cup history. However, after the Netherlands gained an early lead, West Germany scored two goals and won the championship. Cruyff & Co are the most powerful team ever to win the trophy.
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