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.
Maradona’s failed drug test
In a Group D match during the 1994 World Cup in the US, Nigeria’s Samson Siasia beat the Argentina offside trap to break the deadlock after eight minutes but the long-haired hero of the piece proved to be Claudio Caniggia.
He slammed into the net after Gabriel Batistuta’s free-kick was parried and Argentina was ahead within half an hour when Diego Maradona threaded a cute free-kick into the left channel for Caniggia to curl home a fine second.
However, it was Maradona who would sensationally dominate the post-match headlines. A failed drug test meant his World Cup ended in disgrace and one of the greatest international careers of all time came to an abrupt end.
Escobar shot dead
Few acts have the finality of an own goal in football.
Days after Colombia’s Andres Escobar inadvertently scored a self-goal against the US in the 1994 World Cup, he was shot dead for his mistake. Colombia was eliminated (US won 2-1), and perhaps huge amounts of drug cartels’ betting money went down the drain.
Escobar’s killer, a bodyguard of some members of the cartel, was sentenced to 43 years in jail, he served 11.
Jabulani all over the place
Jabulani - “to celebrate” in isiZulu. However, not many were in a celebratory mood when it came to the Adidas ball for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In fact, not only goalkeepers but strikers, defenders and midfielders too were lashing out at the ball even before the tournament had begun.
New ball introduced before every World Cup is mostly faster than that of the previous one and goalkeepers are the ones most affected by it. But this time, the livelier ball was causing problems to ﬁeld players too.
“It’s very weird,” Brazil striker Luis Fabiano had said. “All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It’s like it doesn’t want to be kicked. It’s incredible, it’s like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it’s supernatural, it’s very bad.”
Brazilian midfielder Julio Baptista said, “It’s bad for the goalkeepers and it’s bad for us. It’s really bad. The players try to cross it and it goes to the opposite direction they intended it to go.”
Lampard’s ghost goal
Germany’s thrilling strike force shredded old rival England into bits to reach the quarterfinals in a 4-1 win marked by a major blunder from the match officials who ruled out a good goal.
Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski took advantage of some pathetic defending by the Three Lions to put Germany 2-0 up after 32 minutes before Matthew Upson headed one back.
Minutes later, a shot by England’s Frank Lampard went over the goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, hit the bar and bounced behind the goal-line.
However, neither Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda nor his assistants saw the goal, and waved play on.
The sense of injustice burning among England’s legions of passionate fans dimmed, however, when Thomas Mueller scored twice in the second half.
Ronaldo, Nike and 1998 World Cup final
France was the 1998 World Cup host. Brazil was the reigning champion.
France topped Group C while Brazil finished at the top of Group A which meant both could not face each other before the summit clash.
Brazil rode on Ronaldo’s shoulders, looking qualified to defend its title. The burly striker lived up to his top billing ahead of the tournament, leading the attack from the front with four strikes before the final.
Ahead of the summit clash against the host at the Stade de France, he was believed to have suffered a fit, brought on by physical exhaustion and mental stress.
Replaced by Edmundo in the team list ahead of the match, Ronaldo, miraculously, was there in the starting line-up, rumours running amuck about sponsor Nike’s ultimatum to the team management on his selection.
Ronaldo was obviously out of sorts, and Zidane and Emanuel Petit had no problem in giving France its first World Cup title.
Latest on Sportstar
- Gagan Narang’s foundation ropes in shooter Peter Sidi as rifle coach
- Rohit Sharma ahead of WTC final: Want to win games and championships for India
- Australia coach Arnold wants ‘revenge’ over Messi’s Argentina
- Rohit Sharma suffers thumb injury in practice ahead of WTC final against Australia
- Ukrainian spectator has oversized flag cut in two at French Open