Leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on November 20, this series takes you through 25 memorable matches across the previous 21 editions.
FIFA World Cup 2010, Quarterfinals (Johannesburg) - Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (Uruguay won 4-2 on penalties)
Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan’s penalty miss in the dying seconds of extra time cost the African side a place in the World Cup semifinals and broke hearts across the continent.
Uruguay’s 4-2 shootout win after a 1-1 draw took it into the last four for the first time in 40 years and stopped Ghana becoming the first African side to reach the semis.
Ghana had taken the lead on the stroke of halftime when Sulley Muntari, restored to the starting lineup after an earlier bust-up with the coach, fired a speculative shot from long range that deceived Uruguay keeper Muslera.
Uruguay equalised 10 minutes into the second half when Forlan struck a wicked swerving free kick over the top of the defence and keeper Richard Kingson.
Late in extra time, Uruguay forward Luis Suarez was sent off after stopping a goal-bound header from Dominic Adiyiah’s with his hands. However, Gyan grazed the top of the crossbar with his penalty kick and then clutched his head in his hands as the opportunity of a lifetime slipped by.
FIFA World Cup 2014, Semifinals (Belo Horizonte) - Germany 7-1 Brazil
Germany inflicted the most shocking result in World Cup history when it thrashed host Brazil 7-1 in a semifinal that brought grief to millions of home fans and caused utter astonishment around the world.
Germans scored five goals in 18 first-half minutes to rewrite the record books as Brazil’s defence caved in to leave their dreams of a sixth world title in tatters. German striker Miroslav Klose became the tournament’s highest scorer of all time with his 16th World Cup goal to move one clear of Brazilian Ronaldo.
After a brief 10-minute spell when Brazil looked dangerous down the left flank, it began wobbling when Thomas Mueller opened the scoring after 11 minutes when he stole away from his marker David Luiz and volleyed home.
Klose made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute with his record-breaking goal after smacking in a rebound off goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Kroos scored with a sweet shot and the midfielder struck again to make it 4-0. Sami Khedira added the fifth before halftime after a smart one-two with Mesut Ozil.
After German goalkeeper Neuer was forced to make some saves, substitute Andre Schuerrle struck in the 69th and 79th minutes.
Brazil, playing without injured forward and talisman Neymar, and defender and captain Thiago Silva at the back, wilted. Oscar scored a last-minute consolation goal for the host nation.
FIFA World Cup 2018, Round of 16 (Kazan) - France 4-3 Argentina
No teenager had imposed such will on a World Cup match since Pele – just 17 – mesmerised the world with his wizardry in the 1958 finals in Sweden.
In the end, Argentina — and Lionel Messi — were sent packing.
Argentina’s suspect backline came to haunt it as early as the 12th minute when a tearing run by Mbappe was brought to a halt when Rojo, outpaced by the youngster, outmuscled him, conceding a penalty. Antoine Griezmann rolled the ball down the middle after Franco Armani had guessed the direction wrong, diving to his left.
The equaliser arrived against the run of play when Angel Di Maria — often unappreciated (he was considered surplus both in Real Madrid and Manchester United) — scored the longest-range goal (30 yards) of this World Cup with a left-footed snap shot that sailed past the outstretched Hugo Llloris with four minutes left for the fist half whistle. Fortune continued to favour Argentina after the break with Messi twisting and turning to unleash a low shot, which was diverted past a flummoxed Llloris by Gabriel Mercado, who was lucky to be at the right place. Argentina’s advantage, however, was short lived as Benjamin Pavard struck the sweetest right-footed volley from outside the box, after a botched up clearance, in the 58th minute.
A distressed Argentina, unable to come in terms with the quick change in fates, allowed France to muscle back into the game and soon paid the price when Mbappe reacted quickest to a blocked shot from Blaise Matuidi to drive a low shot across the goal to restore France’s lead in the 64th minute. The teenager, miraculously left unmarked, effectively closed the game, scoring his second of the night — four minutes later — after Giroud found him in space.
Sergio Aguero’s injury-time headed goal — from a left-footed Messi cross — created some last-minute mayhem but the result and the hero of the day remained unchanged.
FIFA World Cup 2018, Group Stage (Sochi) - Spain 3-3 Portugal
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo lit up the World Cup in his own inimitable style, curling in a late free kick to complete a remarkable hat-trick and earn his team a 3-3 draw in an enthralling clash with neighbour Spain.
Ronaldo twice put Portugal in front, Diego Costa replied each time, Nacho gave Spain the lead with a stunning volley and Ronaldo then had the last word with a superb free kick he won himself.
The match got off to an explosive start when Ronaldo beat Nacho on the left of the box with a stepover, was tripped and emphatically converted the penalty himself.
Spain quickly got into its stride and Costa equalised in the 24th minute as he latched onto a long ball forward by Sergio Busquets, bundled off a challenge from Pepe, slipped around two defenders and slotted his shot past Rui Patricio.
Spain appeared to be on top as Isco rifled a shot against the bar, only for Ronaldo to strike again one minute before halftime with the help of De Gea’s blunder as the ball hit his hand and slipped agonisingly into the net.
Costa levelled from close range 10 minutes after the break, Spain went ahead for the first time with a remarkable strike from Nacho, who met the ball on the volley at an awkward height and sent an inswinging shot in off the post.
Spain thought it had won the game but Portugal had other ideas as Ronaldo provided the perfect end to another extraordinary night in his career.
FIFA World Cup 2018, Round of 16 (Moscow) - Belgium 3-2 Japan
Belgium fought back from two goals down to beat Japan 3-2 with an added-time goal from substitute Nacer Chadli.
The first side to recover from a two-goal deficit to win a World Cup knockout match since Germany beat England 3-2 after extra time in Mexico in 1970, Belgium was run ragged by a Japan side solid in defence and willing to probe deep.
Belgium came out for the second half and soon found itself trailing to strikes from Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui.
But defender Jan Vertonghen made up for the error that cost the first Japanese goal, tucking away a looping header in the 69th minute and the towering Marouane Fellaini pulled Belgium level in the 74th, less than 10 minutes after coach Roberto Martinez threw him on in place of the frustrated Dries Mertens.
With Japan pressing for a winner, Belgium broke free in injury time and striker Romelu Lukaku dummied for the ball to run free to Chadli who slammed home the last-gasp winner.