Qatar 2022 countdown: FIFA World Cup controversies I - From Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ to the Disgrace of Gijon

Leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on November 20, this series will take you through 25 controversies across the previous 21 editions.

Argentina player Diego Maradona outjumps England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score with his ‘Hand of God’ goal as England defenders Kenny Sansom (top) Gary Stevens (c) and Terry Fenwick look on during the 1986 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final at the Azteca Stadium on June 22, 1986 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Argentina player Diego Maradona outjumps England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score with his ‘Hand of God’ goal as England defenders Kenny Sansom (top) Gary Stevens (c) and Terry Fenwick look on during the 1986 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final at the Azteca Stadium on June 22, 1986 in Mexico City, Mexico. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on November 20, this series will take you through 25 controversies across the previous 21 editions.

Leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on November 20, this series will take you through 25 controversies across the previous 21 editions.

Disgrace of Gijon

The final match of Group Two between West Germany and Austria from the 1982 edition is one of the most unpalatable matches in the history of the World Cup.. While there is no proof that the two teams had agreed the result beforehand, but the way the midfield of the two sides played left nothing much to say.

Germany, had an embarrassing 1-2 loss to Algeria in its first group match and needed a win to progress, while Austria only needed to avoid defeat by four goals to join it.

Horst Hrubesch uses his height and power to maximum advantage and puts West Germany ahead in the World Cup tie against Austria with a header at Gijon, Spain on June 25, 1982.

Horst Hrubesch uses his height and power to maximum advantage and puts West Germany ahead in the World Cup tie against Austria with a header at Gijon, Spain on June 25, 1982.

After Horst Hrubesch’s put the Germans ahead with a header in the 11th minute, both teams sat back and failed to create another chance between them.

Both teams did progress to the knockout stage while the furious Algerians were knocked out. The match is famously known as the ‘Disgrace of Gijon.”

As a result of this, and similar events at the previous World Cup in Argentina, FIFA revised the group system for future tournaments, so that the final two games in each group would be played simultaneously.

Dubious officiating in Korea in 2002

Gianluca Zambrotta (left) and Cristiano Zanetti (right) of Italy protest to referee Byron Moreno of Ecuador after he awarded a penalty to South Korea during the FIFA World Cup second Round match played at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium, in Daejeon, South Korea on June 18, 2002.

Gianluca Zambrotta (left) and Cristiano Zanetti (right) of Italy protest to referee Byron Moreno of Ecuador after he awarded a penalty to South Korea during the FIFA World Cup second Round match played at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium, in Daejeon, South Korea on June 18, 2002. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Joint host South Korea’s fans both inside and outside its World Cup matches had a great time and the fact that the team reached the semifinals was generally welcomed by neutrals.

However, it was the beneficiary of some dubious refereeing decisions in both the second round and the quarterfinals. Italian striker Christian Vieri had a perfectly legal goal ruled out for off side as the Azzurri eventually lost 1-2 after an Ahn Jung-Hwan golden goal in extra-time.

Italian supporters back home protested that the referee had “stolen the game.” Perugia’s president Luciano Gaucci sacked Ahn, who had joined the Italian club on loan in 2000. Gaucci later approved the option to sign Ahn on a permanent basis but the player rejected the offer.

An even more outrageous mistake favoured the Koreans against Spain in the quarterfinal. Joaquin crossed for Fernando Morientes to head home, only for Egyptian official Gamal Ghandour to rule that the ball had crossed the touchline before Joaquin centred it. Replays suggested the ball was in play by about a foot.

France goal disallowed against Kuwait

Prince Fahad Al Sabah, President of the Kuwait Football Association and brother of Emir of Kuwait, center, alongside Soviet referee Marislov Stupar (centre) on the pitch at Valladolid in Spain on June 21, 1982. France’s fourth goal was ruled out which resulted in a mass argument between players and officials.

Prince Fahad Al Sabah, President of the Kuwait Football Association and brother of Emir of Kuwait, center, alongside Soviet referee Marislov Stupar (centre) on the pitch at Valladolid in Spain on June 21, 1982. France’s fourth goal was ruled out which resulted in a mass argument between players and officials. | Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Kuwait had drawn its first match against a spiritless Czechoslovakian side and kept a clean sheet for the first half-hour against a talented France side in its second Group B encounter in 1982.

However, France went 3-1 ahead and should have made it four, when Alain Giresse ran through the Kuwaiti defence and put the ball past Ahmad Al-Tarabulsi.

The Kuwaitis though were furious and insisted they had stopped because they had heard a whistle, which had actually been blown in the crowd. They surrounded Soviet referee Miroslav Stupar and team manager Sheikh Al Sabah appeared on the touchline to order his players off the pitch.

Incredibly, referee Stupar disallowed the goal, but France eventually did score a fourth goal through Maxime Bossis

Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’

The famous ‘Hand of God’ goal. Diego Maradona goes up with the England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, after outstripping the English defence. The Argentine put out his left hand to push the ball into the goal, and got away with it too.

The famous ‘Hand of God’ goal. Diego Maradona goes up with the England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, after outstripping the English defence. The Argentine put out his left hand to push the ball into the goal, and got away with it too. | Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

A talented Diego Maradona made Argentina’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory over England in 1986 one of the most memorable World Cup games.

England had held out to keep the score 0-0 until the 51st minute, although Bobby Robson’s decision not to play with a conventional winger did provided Maradona space.

After an untidy clearance from Steve Hodge, Maradona and England goalkeeper Peter Shilton leapt high for the ball close to the penalty box. Maradona made up for the height disadvantage by clearly raising his right hand above Shilton’s head and palming the ball into the net. Since none of the officials spotted the incident clearly, the goal was given.

“It was the Hand of God,” Maradona famously said afterwards.

The Argentine magician scored a stunning second goal four minutes later to be the villain and the hero on the same day.

Haitian horrors

Italy’s Gianni Rivera (R) shoots past Haiti’s Guy Francois and beats goalie Henri Francilion to score a goal in first round of 1974 World Cup in Munich on June 15.

Italy’s Gianni Rivera (R) shoots past Haiti’s Guy Francois and beats goalie Henri Francilion to score a goal in first round of 1974 World Cup in Munich on June 15. | Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The underdogs from Haiti hardly deserved to be in the 1974 World Cup finals in the first place. Under the terrifying regime of Papa Doc Duvalier, Haiti had played its final qualifying match at home, beating Trinidad, which had had no less than four goals disallowed.

Haiti’s courageous display in first group match against Italy, which it lost 3-1, was overshadowed afterwards when defender Ernst Jean Joseph became the first player in the World Cup to fail a dope test.

Jean-Joseph was hauled into his training camp, held against his will and beaten up by his own officials. Terrified, he contacted two neutral officials who attempted to intervene on his behalf. However, they themselves were reprimanded, and Jean-Joseph was flown home to Haiti.

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