We’re officially on the countdown for Qatar 2022! Although it will be a World Cup literally unlike any other, it is a World Cup, and immediately your mind will be casted back to memorable World Cup games of yesteryear. So while we count down the days to the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador, we take a look back at the most memorable game from each World Cup! Starting up with 1930 to 1962 – with parts two and three soon to follow!
1930. Uruguay 4 – Argentina 2
We start the list with the first-ever final in front of a packed crowd of 68,346 at Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario. Despite being the first FIFA World Cup final, the game was effectively a rematch between the two best teams in the world, as both teams contested the 1928 Olympic Gold medal game – the precursor to the FIFA World Cup.
The silver medalists from 1928 – Argentina actually had a 2-1 lead going into half time thanks to goals from Carlos Peucelle and Guillermo Stábile. But the home side were not to be denied. Goals from Pedro Cea, Santos Iriarte gave Uruguay and the lead and as the clock winded down, Héctor Castro made it 3-1 to secure the win for Uruguay, who became the first ever FIFA World Cup champions!
1934. Austria 3 – France 2
In 1934, the football landscape was a lot different, Austria were considered one of the best teams in the world as much of Europe’s best talent was concentrated in Central European nations such as Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Nonetheless, France was also a talented team which set up a very intriguing quarter-final match up between the two at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino in Turin, Italy.
France took the lead early through Jean Nicolas, but Austria would equalise just before halftime from a strike by Austria Vienna striker Matthias Sindelar. After no more scoring, the game officially became the first FIFA World Cup game to go to extra time, and while extra time is typically seen as cagey and boring, this certainly wasn’t. Anton Schall Broke the deadlock on the ninety-third minute, and the game look sealed when Josef Bican made it 3-1 on the one hundred and ninth minute. But with four minutes left, a goal from the penalty spot from France’ Georges Verriest gave us a grandstand finish, but Austria held onto win an instant classic! Austria would make it as far as the Semi-Final, and if perhaps the political circumstances in Europe were different in the thirties, they perhaps would have had more during their golden era.
1938. Brazil 6 – Poland 5
Just one look at this scoreline is probably all the reasoning you need to know for why it’s included. Going into this round of sixteen tie in Strasbourg France, Brazil were the favourites going into at having featured at the 1930 and ‘34 World Cups. As for Poland, this was their first ever FIFA World Cup game, and their team that was cobbled together at the last minute was expected to lose against the South Americans. The first half went to script, as goals from Leônidas, Romeu and José Perácio gave the blue kitted Brazil side a 3-1 lead.
But to the shock of the 13,452 in attendance, Poland were able to tale full advantage of the rainy conditions in Strasbourg to equalise through goals from Ruch Chorzów striker Ernst Wilimowski, it was now Brazil 3 – Poland 3 an hour into the game. As the rain stopped, Brazil began asserting their dominance again – Perácio scored his second goal for the today this give what looked like Brazil the win but with a minute to go… Wilimowski scored his third goal of the game to make or 4-4, and send us to extra time! Leônidas would be the hero for Brazil in extra time, scoring twice to secure his own hattrick and giving his side a 6-4 lead before Wilimowski would score his fourth on the day to make it 6-5. Brazil would hold on, and to this day it is still the second highest FIFA World Cup game of all time!
1950. United States 1 – England 0
It was very tempting to go with Uruguay and Alcides Ghiggi silencing the 200,000 crowed at the Maracanä, but as much as it was a shock – Uruguay are a team filled with football pedigree and followed it up with Copa America titles in the fifties. Meanwhile, there was a much more lopsided game played at the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the USA vs England. The U.S were a team made up of amateurs that has only ever trained once together and in their seven outings at the World Cup and Olympics, they had lost them all by a combined score of 45-2. England meanwhile where considered the best in Europe, lead by Stan Mortensen, Tom Finney and Billy Wright, they were one of the favourites to win the competition, and the game over the U.S would be an easy win.
At Estádio Independência stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. A large crowd of 13,000 fans were in attendance to watch as England made a strong start, creating lots of good goal scoring chances and being considerably unlucky not to have scored. Then, thirty-seven minutes into the match, Walter Bahri’s long range shot was directed goal bound by Joe Gaetjens to give the Americans a shock 1-0 lead going into halftime! England had their chances, but the Americans held on to secure arguably the biggest World Cup upset of all time! The result was actually not that well publicised in the U.S and England, but seventy years on, both countries and FIFA fully acknowledge the U.S heroics on the day.
Another 2-4: Canada Sent Packing – FC13 Podcast
1954. West Germany 3 – Hungary 2
In 2022, this result seems like a shock in the sense that Hungary got to a World Cup final, but in 1954, West Germany beating Hungary in the 1954 final in Bern Switzerland was an almost unthinkable upset! It had only been nine years since Germany was decimated by the end of World War Two, and the West Germany team went into the World Cup with little expectation and a team full of semi-professionals. Meanwhile, this was the best team Hungary had ever put together; stars like Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, József Bozsik were part of a team collectively known as the ‘golden team’. Going into the 1954 World Cup final, Hungary hadn’t lost a game since 1950, including a 6-3 win at Wembley over England, an Olympic Gold in 1952, and a 8-3 win over West Germany in the 1954 World Cup group stage! A victory for Hungary in the final was as close to an assumed guaranteed win as it could have possibly have been.
The match started off as many assumed it would, just six minutes in Kocsis‘s deflected effort fell to the feet of Puskás and the Hungarian talisman made it 1-0 to the favourites. It went from bad to worse for the Germans, as a defensive mixup allowed Zoltán Czibor to tap the ball into a virtually empty net, making it 2-0 Hungary with less than ten minutes on the clock! But incredibly, Germany struck back! First from a sliding effort from Max Morlock to cut the deficit in the tenth minute, and then from a corner, Helmut Rahn found himself in space at the back post to equalise for West Germany – four goals in just eighteen minutes! Hungary from this point would dominate the match, creating many clear cut chances and even having two efforts cleared off the line as the Germans struggled to create chances in the second half. Then incredibly, with eighty-four minutes on the clock, Rahn was first on the ball from a poor Hungary clearance, and after working some space for himself he slotted the ball passed Gyula Grosics to give the underdogs the lead. Hungary weren’t done yet, with Puskás appearing to have scored the equaliser, only for it to be controversially given offside. After surfing one more close effort from Hungary, the final whistle had went and the ‘Miracle of Bern’ was cemented in legend! West Germany have stunned everyone to become World Cup champions for the first time. For hungry, it was an unfortunate black mark on what is consider by many to be the greatest international team of all time.
1958. Brazil 5 – Sweden 2
In 1950, the entire nation of Brazil entered an almost mourning like state after losing the de facto 1950 final to Uruguay. Now, eight years later – they had a secret weapon up their sleeve, a seventeen year old striker called Edson Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pele! Going into the final, Pele had scored four goals, including a hattrick in the semi final against France, and was ready to take on the hosts Sweden in the final. Brazil had Pele and fellow legend Garrincha in their side, but after just four minutes Sweden took the lead through a brilliant solo effort from captain Nils Liedholm, but it wouldn’t last long and soon the Samba boys would take control!
Brazil striker Vavá scored a brave in the first half, which gave Brazil a 2-1 lead going into half time and then just ten minutes into the second half – Pele fully announced himself on the world stage! Pele took one touch to control a ball in from the left, and then with another touch perfectly lobbed the ball over the defenders head before calmly slotting the ball passed Kalle Svensson to make it 3-1, and scoring one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time! Alongside future World Cup 1970 manager Mário Zagallo getting on the scoresheet, Pele scored again to make the final score Brazil 5 – Sweden 2 and Brazil finally exercised the ghosts of 1950! It was the first time a team won the World Cup outside their home continent, and to this day the only time a South American side has won the tournament in Europe! It would be the start of a run of dominance not seen sicne in the World Cup, as Pelé and Brazil went onto win three of four World Cups! Interestingly, Brazil had to improvise their blue kits on the day as their yellow home kit clashed with Sweden, and ever since – they’ve worn the iconic blue shirts as their official away kit.
1962. Chile 2 – Italy 0
For those who know this game, this inclusion is no surprise, but for those who don’t, prepare to be amazed! This only a group stage match, but after some harsh words in the media were exchanged by Italian and Chilean journalists about each country, tensions were high going into the game at Chile’s Estadio Nacional in Santiago. Just twelve seconds in, an Italian committed the first foul, and just eight minutes we had the first sending off, as Italys Giorgio Ferrini was shown a red card for a foul on Honorino Landa! This was just the start of a mad game, that was famously played before the introduction of yellow cards.
What followed throughout was both teams persistently fouling, border-line assaults including punching and kicking, and multiple fights and flashpoints that had to be broken up by police! Italy would eventually get another player sent off when Mario David was dismissed for kicking Chile’s Leonel Sánchez – this was not long after Sánchez himself punched David in the face! During all the literal fighting, a football game was still played. Chile won the game 2-0, thanks to goals from winger Jaime Ramírez, and Jorge Toro, the result eventually lead to Italy being eliminated at the group stage, meanwhile Chile would go onto to secure a third place finish, their best World Cup performance to date! In an interview with The Guardian, the games referee Ken Aston Was quoted saying “I wasn’t reffing a football match, I was acting as an umpire in military maneuvers” which sums up the battle of Santiago very well!
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