When Uruguay’s eccentric striker Luis Suarez once again once crossed the lines of sanity by biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in their final group game in the ongoing World Cup, it gave a sense of déjà-vu – a reminder of similar scandalous incidents that transpired in the past at football’s biggest stage.

Here are ten such infamous incidents in the World Cup that shook the entire footballing world.

Argentina knocks out Brazil out of 1978 WC but with Peru’s aid


The heated rivalry between South American footballing giants – Brazil and Argentina – is known to everyone but this enmity reached its nadir when La Albiceleste allegedly took Peru’s help to knock out the Selecao from the 1978 World Cup.

According to the format in the World Cup at that time, the second round of the tournament consisted of two groups of four teams each with winner of each group advancing to the finals.

With the last games of each team not being played at the same time during those days, several times teams did everything to benefit from this anomaly.

Argentina knew that in order to overcome Brazil for a place in the finals of the World Cup, it had to beat Peru by at least with a margin of four goals.

Leading 2-0 in the half time, Argentina cruised to a staggering 6-0 win with the Peruvian players making no real efforts to stop the carnage.

Consequently, Argentina reached the finals and it was alleged that they had bribed Peru for deliberately losing the game by a huge margin to stop Brazil from reaching the finals.

The ‘Battle of Berne’


     
Brazil were at the centre of a notorious brawl in Switzerland in 1954 when their quarter-final against Hungary became immortalised as the "Battle of Berne."

The result, a 4-2 victory for Hungary, has become a footnote of a match which is a strong contender for the dirtiest game in World Cup history.
     
The match was marred by three sendings off and several mass brawls and was interrupted by several invasions from Brazilian officials and media.

'Hand of God' strikes down the land of 'God Save the Queen'


     
The 1986 World Cup was all about Diego Maradona – the very good and the very bad side of him, both was seen in the quarter-final against England.

The very good being his extraordinary individual goal that put them 2-0 up in a game they would win 2-1.
     
However, his first goal is equally as famous but for all the wrong reasons as somehow he managed to beat the far taller England goalkeeper Peter Shilton in the air using his hands and the ball went into the net.
    
Schumacher's ‘night of shame’


    
To say that German goalkeeper Harald 'Toni' Schumacher left an indelible imprint on the 1982 tournament would be an understatement.

The curly-haired netminder became a hate figure in the 58th minute of the semi-final with France. During the game when the scoreline was level at 1-1, substitute Patrick Battiston had just shot at goal only for Schumacher to charge and elbow him deliberately in the head.
     
Battiston slumped unconscious to the ground and required minutes of treatment.  Battiston was stretchered off the pitch accompanied by his close friend Michel Platini. He suffered three broken teeth and a damaged vertebra.

"Tell him I'll pay for the crowns," was Schumacher's unrepentant response after the match.

Rijkaard and Voller’s ‘spit spat’


    
Matches between Germany and the Netherlands were always high-octane affairs dating back to the brutal Nazi Occupation during World War II.

This last 16 game in the 1990 finals was no exception as Dutch defender Frank Rijkaard and German striker Rudi Voller – two of the most respected players at the time had their moment of notoriety.
     
Tempers boiled over early on with Rijkaard being booked for a foul on Voller and the Dutchman reacted by spitting at the back of the perm-haired striker's head.
    
The shambles of Santiago



Some call it is a football match but some also address it as a ‘martial war’ and quite aptly so, as the match between Chile and Italy in the 1962 World Cup is still believed to be one of the most nasty matches in the history of the tournament.

With a red card being produced just in the 12th minute of the game to Giorgio Ferrini of Italy, the match saw scores of unashamed blows and kicks thrown at each other by players from the both the teams.

What else! The cops had to intervene as much as four times during the match to prevent players from beating the crap out of each other.

Zidane loses his head


     
Zinedine Zidane was seen as a role model and an icon in France. The 2006 World Cup final appeared to be the ideal setting for perhaps their greatest ever player to bid farewell and perhaps add a second World Cup to the one he had won in 1998.
     
All started well with him opening the scoring but Marco Materazzi levelled and an increasingly fractious game went into extra-time.

Materazzi, an old style hardman central defender with a penchant for provoking opponents with foul comments, finally 'scored' his second goal when Zidane got sick and tired of his remarks about his sister and headbutted him in the chest 10 minutes from the end of extra-time.

USSR’s Bakhramov allows Geoff Hurst’s controversial goal



The third and the decisive goal in the extra minutes of the 1966 World Cup finals by England’s Geoff Hurst against West Germany is still considered as one of the most controversial incidents to transpire at the football’s biggest spectacle.

The fiercely-contested final ended at 2-2 in the stipulated 90 minutes of the game and the match went into extra period.

After eleven minutes into the extra time, Hurst hit a shot on the goal. Peculiarly, the ball somehow hit the underside of the cross bar and did not completely entered into the net before it was cleared.

Match referee Gottfried Dienst, who wasn’t clear whether the ball had completely cleared the line or not, turned to the linesman - Tofik Bakhramov from the USSR – who dramatically signaled it as a goal.

The replays later on made it clear that the ball had actually not crossed the line fully and the controversial decision by the Soviet referee helped England win the finals by 4-2 to clinch their first and only World Cup till date.

The ‘Disgrace of Gijon’



The spectre of one of the most infamous episodes, also known as the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’, in World Cup history involves a game between Austria and West Germany in the 1982 World Cup.

There were quite a few stipulations before the match between Austria and West Germany to decide which team would be eliminated from the competition with Algeria being the third team in the reckoning.

A win for Germany by three or more goals would have ensured Austria’s elimination from the tournament while a draw of Austrian win would knock out the Germans. However, a German win by just one or two goals would make sure that the Arab nation of Algeria is sent packing out of the world.

That match in the Spanish city of Gijon ended in controversy after Austria and Germany effectively conspired to secure a 1-0 victory for the Germans, allowing them to qualify ahead of Algeria.

During the game Algerian fans were shown waving banknotes to signify the match-fixing during the game as during the entire match no genuine efforts were being put by both the teams to score goals after the Germans had opened the scoring in just ten minutes.

The shockwaves from that encounter continue to be felt today.  FIFA subsequently changed the rules, ordering that all final games in the group phase of the World Cup should kick-off simultaneously.

When Sheikh ‘Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’ vetoed referee decision



Only once in the history of football’s biggest tournament has a person from the crowd vetoed a referee decision. It happened during a game between France and Kuwait in the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

In one of the most extraordinary memories of the World Cup, Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the then president of the Kuwait Football Association, came out of his seat and stormed into the ground to protest against a goal scored by the French team when the scores were level at 1-1.

He claimed that the goal was only scored after one of the Kuwaiti players had heard a whistle being blown. In protest, he removed the players from the ground.

The match referee then succumbed to the pressure and reversed his original decision. However, the French team still went on to win the game 4-1.


JPN