10 Controversial and Unsportsmanlike Incidents In World Cup History That Are Hard To Forget

The World Cup has always been one of the most spectacular sporting events in the world as it occurs once every 4 years. One of the most wonderful aspects of the World Cup is that it brings people from all over the world together to share their passion for the game. The World Cup provides people a common ground and can connect them together in ways that politicians cannot. So far, no sporting event has more exemplified this than the World Cup.
The World Cup event brought us some of the most unforgettable memories, such as stunning goals, major surprises, and even some myths. However, there have been some bad sides, such as certain individuals and teams being excessive in their pursuit of achievement. They got extremely violent throughout the football game, causing major damage to other players, and even to the tournament. Some of those violent acts continue to have a detrimental impact on the sports business today.
We made this top 10 list of the bloodiest World Cup events in order to give you further information regarding these unsportsmanlike incidents. Read till the end to see how these ten contentious and unsportsmanlike incidents have affected the football world today.

#1 The Battle of Santiago - World Cup 1962

Source: Getty Images

Chile vs. Italy in the 1962 World Cup was dubbed the "Battle of Santiago." This match, which took place 52 years ago, was a nonstop battle with infrequent football moments. In addition, the other occurrences on this list were isolated incidents of aggressive play.
After barely five minutes of the game, the first brawl erupted, involving various behaviors that, in today's game, would have resulted in an ejection. Several times throughout the game, which BBC analyst David Coleman described as "the most stupid, appalling, disgusting, and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game,". The authorities had to intervene to prevent worse cases from occurring. The Battle of Santiago remains one of the most contentious World Cup games in history to date.

#2 Benjamin Massing on Claudio Caniggia - World Cup 1990

Source: Yahoo! Sport

While rooting for the underdog is fascinating to some people, the 1990 Cameroon squad made it difficult for outsiders to agree with this favor. Consider Benjamin Massing's aggressive start against Claudio Caniggia of Argentina during the group stage to see what the story was about.
Despite having previously gotten past two defenders, Massing was resolute that he would not be the third one to be defeated by Caniggia, rightly or wrongly. Caniggia was first to the ball, but Massing sprinted in his way, stomping on his foot and body-checking his opponent. Let's just say Massing was sent off, and Caniggia was out, Cameroon might overcome Argentina despite being reduced to nine men in the second half. The South American squad (Argentina), however, advanced to the World Cup final before losing to West Germany.

#3 Leonardo on Tab Ramos - World Cup 1994

Source: Youtube

A lot of the incidents displayed on this list may have been interpreted as ball challenges. However, Leonardo's elbow to Tab Ramos at the 1994 World Cup is not one of them.
Ramos and Leonardo engaged in a battle after Ramos backheeled the ball away from his opponent. After refusing to be dragged back, the Brazilian responded forcefully and recklessly by sharply elbowing Ramos in the face. As a result of the incident, Ramos was also taken from the game. Unfortunately, the Uruguayan midfielder spent weeks in the hospital after sustaining a skull fracture. He would not return to the football field until 1995. After the incident, he lost his performance quickly and never got back to his greatest form.

#4 João Morais on Pelé - World Cup 1966

We all know Pele is the football legend of not only Brazil but also the entire world. At this event, Pele was 25 years old and in his heyday for the 1966 World Cup. As a result, the opponent's approach was to take any and all feasible efforts to eliminate him from the game. So, when Portugal faced Brazil, Joao Morais injured the superstar Pele twice in quickly and it hurt the Brazilians so much.
The Portuguese's initial challenge was harmful enough on its own, but he swiftly followed it up with another. Morais escaped getting sent off in some way as Pelé continued to play. The Santos greatest, though, was plainly injured and could only run with his right foot. As the terrible acts persisted, Brazil would be eliminated during the group round as they missed their superstar Pele.

#5 Jose Batista on Gordon Strachan - World Cup 1986

Source: FIFA

The terrible scuffles began as soon as Uruguay met Scotland in the 1986 World Cup group stage. In reality, Jose Batista performed a scary tackle on Gordon Strachan in the opening minute of the match. Strachan touched a throw-in after around 37 seconds of a slow, uninspiring game, and Batista rushed on him from the side with both feet.
Additionally, when the players made contact, the ball had already left their feet. Batista grabbed Strachan high on the ankle, prompting referee Joel Quiniou to disqualify Batista. The athlete continues to insist on his innocence, claiming that "the referee overreacted." In the end, the viewers all agreed with the decision of the referee.

#6 Harald Schumacher on Patrick Battiston - World Cup 1982

Source: Getty Images

When talking about specific violent occurrences in the football industry, it's difficult to ignore Harald Schumacher's attack on Patrick Battiston in the 1982 World Cup semi-final game between West Germany and France. That semi-final was a very memorable game for a variety of reasons, the most heartbreaking of which was perhaps witnessing Battiston's body crushed as though in a car accident. As they raced for a ball from opposing directions, the Frenchman made the initial contact.
Schumacher jumped into the defender's face and hurled himself at his opponent. As a result, Battiston suffered a catastrophic injury, losing three teeth, breaking his back, and collapsing. He was still not moving when he was brought off the field on a stretcher. After rallying from a two-goal deficit in extra time, West Germany won the final shootout as Schumacher managed to stop two penalties.

#7 Joao Pinto on Park Ji-Sung - World Cup 2002


Several controversial judgments favored the co-hosts (Japan and Korea) at the 2002 World Cup. Angel Sanchez's decision to terminate Pinto, however, was not one of them. Portugal needed a win over South Korea in the last game of the 2002 World Cup group stage to advance to the next round.
The Portuguese midfielder made an erroneous challenge early on and seized the lead with both legs. Park grabbed the ball and turned as Pinto sprang into the air. Pinto scissored Park's leg and whacked him in the back of the knee before landing on his foot. It was remarkable that Park did not sustain a knee or ankle injury after that incident. He'd get the final laugh, after netting the game's lone goal in the 70th minute to secure South Korea's Group D triumph and eliminate the Portuguese from the tournament.

#8 Muhamed Mejic on Eduard Dubinski - World Cup 1962

Source: Anonymous/Associated Press

It's unusual to say that a football player died as a result of a tackle. Still, in the example of Muhamed Mujic's challenge against Eduard Dubinski, the allegation can be made in such a case. The 1962 World Cup group-stage match between Mujic's Yugoslavia and Dubinski's USSR would be pivotal for both countries. Despite the fact that Dubinski had to be carried off the field with a broken leg, the referee disregarded the Bosnian's crushing foul on his Russian opponent.
Mujic was eventually suspended for life by the Yugoslav Football Federation and would never play for his nation again. However, his destiny was nothing like that of Dubinski, who acquired a rare type of cancer, sarcoma, as a result of the football incident from that match, and died seven years later at the age of 34. It's no surprise that this was one of the worst FIFA World Cups ever with lots of unsportsmanlike cases.

#9 Zinedine Zidane on Marco Materazzi - World Cup 2006

Source: Twitter

As football fans, we all know how great Zinedine Zidane was when he won the World Cup with the France national team in 1998. Despite his major fame and talent, his controversial incident from the 2006 World Cup is terrible.
When Zinedine Zidane struck Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final, it became the most notorious headbutt in football history. After the midfielder was sent off, the French side was forced to play without its leader and tournament superstar.
This was for a cold-blooded, nasty headbutt to the sternum of an opponent. It will never be known what triggered Zidane's headbutt, but it would be his final act as a professional footballer. This incident was the most egregious blemish on one of the finest World Cups ever.

#10 Nigel de Jong versus Xabi Alonso - World Cup 2010

Source: 90min

Nigel de Jong lived true to his reputation as a tough-minded and usually aggressive player in the 2010 World Cup final. With just under 28 minutes remaining in the contest, De Jong and Alonso engaged in a passionate, physical struggle for a ball in the air. The Dutchman launched with his leg and used his studs to catch Alonso square in the chest, while the Spaniard led with his head and won the ball.
To be fair, the collision looked to be unintentional, as his gaze was continually fixed on the ball. That may have spared him from obtaining a red card, resulting in his receiving only a yellow one. Nonetheless, the challenge was haphazard, giving origin to the verb "de Jong."
To sum up, the World Cup is the most important sporting event in the world. As a result, both the stakes and the payoff are quite high. The strain on the players is great in certain circumstances, and they occasionally cave in. As a result, countless angry outbursts marred the football's faces. Hopefully, we won't see many of these at the forthcoming World Cups, particularly the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
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