Top 10 Unforgettable World Cup Moments Of The Decade

As we approach a new decade, looks back at the Top 10 unforgettable World Cup moments of the noughties. 1) Zinedine Zidane’s Headbutt At No.1 it could only be France legend Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Italy’s Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final. With the score tied at 1-1 in extra time in Berlin, Zidane was infamously sent off after he head-butted the Inter hardman in the chest in extra time. This would be Zidane’s last act of his career as he retired after the game, while Italy would go on to win their fourth World Cup on penalties. There was much speculation over what Materazzi said to prompt this violent reaction, but it was eventually revealed that the stopper had insulted Zizou’s sister. The Matrix even successfully sued a number of English newspapers for libel. 2) Byron Moreno Italy were eliminated from the 2002 World Cup in the last 16 by co-hosts South Korea following former Perugia star Ahn Jung-Hwan’s extra time golden goal. However, this all happened after one of the most infamous matches in World Cup history. Giovanni Trapattoni’s men had a perfectly good golden goal disallowed by Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno, had Francesco Totti sent-off for diving when replays showed that he had only lost his footing, while South Korea were awarded a dubious penalty and continually went unpunished for foul play. After the match Italy declared that there had been a conspiracy against them, claims that were given strength by the fact that not only had they had four perfectly fair goals disallowed in their two previous matches against Croatia and Mexico, but by the refereeing errors that saw Korea eliminate Spain in the next round. Moreno would be the villainous symbol of 2002. Later that year he received a 20 match ban, after he played an extra 13 minutes of stoppage time during a match between Deportiva Universita de Quito and Barcelona Sporting Club. During this time Deportiva scored twice to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 victory. After retuning from his suspension, Moreno was suspended again after controversially sending off three players in one match. He retired from officiating shortly after. 3) Hand Of Henry Without doubt the most controversial moment of 2009, and the most infamous World Cup handball of all time after Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ in 1986. Ireland’s World Cup playoff against France was delicately balanced as the tie moved into extra time in Paris, with the score 1-1 on aggregate. Then, France striker Thierry Henry clearly handled the ball in the run-up to William Gallas's decisive equaliser on the night, but it was not seen by the referee or his assistants. The goal stood and the Irish went out, causing a furore after the game. The FAI later made a request to FIFA that the game be replayed, but FIFA turned them down. Henry was lambasted, and even unsuccessfully offered a replay himself after FIFA had made their decision. The FAI even asked to be admitted as the 33rd nation in South Africa. Unsurprisingly this was turned down too. 4) Ronaldinho’s Lob With the Top 3 dominated by depressing moments, Ronaldinho provides the most positive flash from the last 10 years – that is if you are not an England fan or David Seaman. The Brazilian magician settled the 2002 World Cup quarter final against England in Fukuroi with an outrageous 40-yard free kick that looped over veteran goalkeeper Seaman. To this day the debate still rages as to whether Ronnie attempted the lob or he was just crossing the ball. Either way, Brazil won the game 2-1 and although Ronaldinho would later be sent off in chaotic circumstances the Selecao went on to win their fifth World Cup trophy. 5) Diego Maradona’s Belly Slide When Peru's Hernan Rengifo scored an unlikely equaliser in the final minute of the penultimate 2010 World Cup qualifier against Argentina at the Monumental stadium, it seemed that Diego Maradona's and the Albicelestes’ World Cup dream had come to an abrupt end. So close, but now so far, coach Maradona's face said it all. Argentina's World Cup chances were practically over. The torrential rainfall didn't help one bit, it actually made things all the more depressing. To lose it to Peru was one thing, but to lose in this manner was nothing less than heartbreaking. But wait...all of a sudden, and pretty much out of nowhere, appeared Martin Palermo to hand Argentina a dramatic victory in the 93rd minute! The veteran fired the ball home at the back post after a deflection went into his path. Maradona's celebration said it all. 'El Pibe de Oro' dived along the touchline despite the storm to celebrate one of the most important goals in Argentine football history, one that paved the way for the nation to qualify for South Africa after they beat Uruguay in their final qualifier. 6) Fabio Grosso’s Scream The most famous World Cup celebration of all time has to be Marco Tardelli’s scream after scoring Italy's second goal in their 1982 World Cup final victory over West Germany. This iconic moment was copied by Azzurri full back Fabio Grosso in the epic semi final of Germany 2006 when he whipped home a dramatic winner against the hosts in the penultimate minute of extra time. Every Italian will tell you that they were overcome with tears of joy during this unforgettable moment. 7) The Good, Bad & The Ugly Of Argentina In the 2006 World Cup Argentina offered us a bit of everything. During the group stages they were absolutely sublime, putting on an exhibition of irrepressible football during their 6-0 dismantling of Serbia & Montenegro. Argentina were the hot favourites for the World Cup as they moved into the knockouts, but then in their quarter final against hosts Germany they got nervous. Coach Jose Pekerman made the fateful decision of substituting star man Juan Riquelme and leaving Lionel Messi on the bench, and Germany grabbed a late equaliser to force extra time and then penalties. The ice-cool Germans converted all their spot-kicks, which led to a riot after the game. There were flying-kicks and punches thrown as Argentina exited with their customary bang. (8) Graham Poll's Three Yellow Cards Former English referee Graham Poll already didn't have the best record in international tournaments going into the 2006 World Cup. He had been involved in controversial games at both Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002, in the latter competition he wrongly disallowed two valid Italy goals during a 2-1 defeat to Croatia. In 2006 he took charge of the decisive Group F clash between Australia and Croatia. The Europeans had to win to go through at the expense of the Socceroos. Croatia defender Josip Simunic was booked three times before Poll eventually sent him off, meaning a nervous finish for the Australians who held on for a 2-2 draw which booked their place in the knockouts. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said after the game that it is likely a replay would have been ordered had Croatia had won because of Poll's error. Did Blatter say the same about the 'Hand of Henry in 2009'? - scroll down to find out. 9) Rivaldo's Play-Acting At the turn of the century Rivaldo was one of top three players in the world, and although he was on the slide by 2002 he would offer one final hurrah at that year’s World Cup by scoring five goals and playing an influential role in the Selecao’s triumph. However, his tournament was somewhat marred by a playacting incident in the first group match against Turkey. Hakan Unsal kicked a ball that struck Rivaldo’s thigh, but the Brazilian went down clutching his face. The Galatasaray defender was sent off for a second yellow card, while Rivaldo was branded a cheat after the game. His punishment was a fine of 11,670 Swiss Francs. (10) Senegal Shock France Just like at Italia ’90, the 2002 World Cup began with a shock victory for an African nation over the holders. France, who were also the European champions, and contained the top scorers from the English, Italian and French leagues were stunned by Senegal. Papa Bouba Diop scored the winner on the half-hour mark, before Senegalese players joined together for a choreographed dance celebration. France would be eliminated first round without scoring a goal.


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