It’s a world cup year again and hopes are already running high. The stage is set once again for football biggest prize – The FIFA World Cup. This time, Russia is playing host to the 32 teams jostling to claim football’s most coveted crown.
However, uneasy lies the head that will wear the crown, as world cup glory isn’t for the weak or the fainthearted. Like the ancient knights of Camelot, our favorite football stars will be seeking to prove their mettle for bragging rights to football’s ultimate glory.
With the global mundial just around the corner, let’s take you down the memory lane with our list of 5 most epic World Cup final matches.
Spain 1-0 Netherland, 2010
Source: UK Mirror
Holland, FIFA World Cup’s most unlucky team, had a relatively easy ride to the finals. Smashing England and humiliating Argentina, Holland coasted to set up a final showdown with Spain. Wesley Sneijder showed his mercurial worth, inspiring his teammates into what looked like Holland’s World Cup year.
The Dutch team commanded dominance from the blast of the whistle. Setting up wonderful set-pieces and looking dangerous on the break, they literally had the Spanish team cowed for 90 minutes.
After a long and hard-fought encounter, the match drew on into extra time. Alas, Andreas Iniesta struck a dramatic goal at the dying minutes of extra time, leaving the Dutch to rue their barrages of missed chances and ultimately lick their wounds. And so it ended: first World Cup victory for Spain, and third defeat in a World Cup final for the Netherlands.
Argentina 3-2 West Germany, 1986
Argentina had enjoyed an easy ride through the tournament to set up a final with European football powerhouse — West Germany. Argentina showed dominance in the first half, scoring a goal to underline their intent, and adding another in the second half.
The German machine put up a gallant comeback and was rewarded with two goals for their efforts. With the scores even, they launched an onslaught on the Argentine defense in a desperate search for a winner.
Maradona, — determined there would be no celebrations in Berlin that night — found Burruchaga with a through ball, who made no mistake to punish the Germans and seal a victory for the Argentine side within regulation time.
Brazil 4-1 Italy, 1970
Source: The Sun (UK)
A match of two evenly-matched football powerhouses, the 1970 world cup final was a clash of titans in every conceivable way. Though Brazil would open the scoring from Pele’s opener, Italy would draw level before halftime with a Roberto Boninsegna strike having been gifted the ball from a back-heel by Clodoaldo.
However, Italy’s over-reliance on the catenaccio would prove a wrong tactic against a Brazilian side hungry for success.
Like legendary Troy, the rampaging Brazilians tore down Italy’s defence, scoring three more goals in the process. And yes, Pele shone like the lighthouse of Pharos during that epic encounter which would go down as one of the most epic World Cup final matches of all time.
England 4-2 West Germany, 1966
The match started with England the huge favorites to win this. Initially slipping behind by a goal, they put two sublime goals past the German keeper to make it 2-1, and looked on track to wrap up the tie. However, celebrations were halted by a German equalizer, drawing the game into extra time.
After regulation time, the England manager Alf Ramsey looked at the tired German legs and charged the Young Lions with the golden words, “You’ve won it once, now go and win it again.”
Hurst completed an amazing performance with a hat-trick, virtually the last kick of the game. 4-2 it ended in England’s favour. All hail England – World Cup champions, 1966.
West Germany 3-2 Hungary, 1954
This cracker – dubbed the “Miracle of Bern” – goes way back and as such, very few would remember it. So, let’s take you down memory lane a bit. In 1954, Hungary was deservedly the most feared team (unbeaten since 1950) in the world following a string of excellent performances that saw them brush aside Brazil and Uruguay on the way to the final.
The opening minutes were racy, with Hungary grabbing the double. Germany would fight back with Max Morlock pulling a goal back before Germany drew level thanks to a Helmut Rahn strike in the 18th minute. After another hour, the game looked to destined drag on into extra time. Then Rahn struck again, with 6 minutes on the clock, to hand Germany their first ever World Cup trophy. Glory! Glory!! Invincible German machine!!!
As expected, Russia 2018 will rekindle some of football’s greatest rivalries. You deserve a front seat in these month-long, adrenaline-pumping encounters. Don’t miss it for a thing.