There’s so much more to the World Cup than the soccer being played on the pitch. Being that it’s arguably the world’s biggest stage, every player is under the microscope, meaning we won’t miss much with TV cameras from around the world following all the action. So much can and has happened in the event’s history. This year’s World Cup is the 20th edition and there has been no shortage of ridiculous moments in those tournaments. No, we’re not necessarily talking about upsets, players under performing; these are events surrounding the game, or in the game that should have no part in the world’s best tournament.
The most memorable moments in a World Cup cover a wide range of emotions and themes. It ranges from the amazing to the despicable. Not all of these moments are despicable, but they sure are bizarre and memorable.
10) Holland vs. West Germany: Spit Projectile Reaches Mullet
Does it get much more degrading than this? Not once, but twice, in West Germany’s clash with the Netherlands at Italia 1990, Frank Rijkaard launched a hunk of saliva at Germany’s Rudi Voeller.
First, Rijkaard was booked a yellow card for a tackle. The frustrated Rijkarrd decided to take his frustration out on Voeller’s mullet and sent a lugie flying to the back of the German’s hair.
Voeller complained to the referee, even pointing to his hair, trying to prove he had been spit on. Instead, Voeller got booked himself for talking back to the referee.
Later on in the match, the two again rekindled their newfound friendship. Following some argument in Holland’s penalty area, Rijkaard is seen building up quite the bubble inside his mouth, much like Seabass did in Dumb and Dumber.
The events unfolded in the only way they possibly could. Both players were sent off and as they were jogging off the field together, Rijkaard took aim at Voeller’s mullet again. As the spit ricocheted off the mullet, you can see Voeller pretty much catching Rijkaard in the act, with Rijkaard jogging away with his head down as if nothing happened.
Clearly the adult side of Rijkaard has been exorcised out of his body. He was nothing more than a child that day.
9) Argentina and Germany Go 120 Minutes… And Want More
Germany’s surprise run to the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup as the host included a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Argentina, in what was a rematch of the 1990 World Cup final.
However, shortly after Jens Lehmann stopped Esteban Cambiasso’s penalty, the two teams continued the war they had just engaged in for 120 minutes. Instead of the conventional handshakes, hugs and trading of each other’s jerseys, the two teams had to be separated by coaches and officials.
It’s ridiculous because you just wouldn’t expect it on such a grand stage.
8) Dutch Fans Dressed Down
The dress code for Dutch fans at the 2006 World Cup in Germany involved a bright orange lederhosen, incorporating a Dutch twist on a traditionally German outfit.
However, these outfits bore the name of a Dutch beer company, Bavaria, who were not official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup. When Holland’s supporters showed up to watch their Oranje play the Ivory Coast, the fans were not allowed to wear these lederhosen into the stadium. So, what did FIFA decide was a better alternative? Why, have these fans watch the game in their underwear of course.
The chairman of Bavaria spoke to the Guardian about the incident shortly after the game. “They put our trousers in the bin,” said an aggrieved Peer Swinkels, the chairman of Bavaria, Holland’s second biggest brewery. “Fans going into the stadium had to dump them in a big container. Fifa said that the supporters could get them back afterwards. But the container was full of rubbish so most people didn’t bother. I understand that Fifa wants to protect its sponsors. But this is very strange.”
This even led to a World Cup sponsor, Heineken, a fellow Dutch beer company, suing Bavaria for distributing these trousers. However, the lawsuit was ruled in favour of Bavaria, citing fans could wear whatever they wanted.
Who knew orange lederhosen would be so offensive?
7) Diana Ross Makes The Net Explode. Or Does She?
Here it was; the United States’ first chance at hosting a World Cup. The country best equipped to host such a tournament, with an endless choice of worthy stadiums, a large, curious population and a chance to show the country does indeed have a passion for the world’s most popular sport.
While the tournament was indeed a huge success, as it was the most attended in World Cup history, it had to have the cheesiest opening ceremony with an epic failure to cap it all off.
Watch the whole ceremony somewhere on youtube; it’s quite the scene. This snippet takes the cake though. Diana Ross is clearly lip-syncing her famous hit, “I’m Coming Out” as you can hear singing when she’s not talking into the microphone. Finally she’s supposed to score on a penalty kick, causing the net to break in half.
She missed the net from six yards out, though it still broke and just looked terrible. Her bad omen would find Roberto Baggio to close the tournament. Italians have their scapegoat.
6) Chloroform Tumble
No footage exists of the incident, so this is all through hearsay. We’re going all the way back to the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup.
In the United States’ game against Argentina, American trainer Jack Coll ran onto the pitch to come to aid of a player, as was his job.
However, on the way he dropped a bottle of chloroform he had on him. He went to pick it up but he inhaled the fumes of the now open bottle, falling to the pitch himself. He would soon be stretchered off.
While part of you doesn’t ever want to see something like that happen, doesn’t a part of you want to see it happen in the era of high definition?
5) Rivaldo Wins An Oscar
No matter how great of a player Brazil’s Rivaldo was, this is the image that fans will remember him by forever.
In Brazil’s group game against what would be a surprising Turkey at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Rivaldo unjustifiably got Turkish player Hakan Unsal sent off in the game’s closing moments.
Brazil had a 2-1 lead in the game’s closing seconds and Rivaldo thought it’d be a good idea to fake getting a ball kicked to his face to get a player sent off. The ball hit his thigh, but him grabbing his face and collapsing to the turf somehow convinced the referee.
4) Blanc Suspended For Final… For This?
France was up 2-1 on Croatia in the 1998 World Cup semifinals, closing in on their first final.
All of a sudden, Laurent Blanc was sent off for the first time in his career. He would miss France’s final against Brazil. All for a little tap. You can make the argument that the intent is there, but what looks worse to you. Blanc’s contact or Slaven Bilic’s theatrical act?
In any case, it goaded the referee into sending Blanc off and the Frenchman was robbed of living his dream of playing in a World Cup final.
3) Nature Calls Gary Lineker
Imagine how uncomfortable Gary Lineker must’ve felt throughout this match.
It was a longtime rumour, but Lineker admitted to losing control of his bowels during England’s 1990 match against Ireland. Lineker, now a broadcaster, admitted the deed in an interview with the BBC a few years ago.
“The ball went down the left hand side, I did try to tackle someone, I stretched and then I relaxed myself. I was very fortunate it rained that night and I could do something about it. It was messy, it just came out, it happened. How much detail do you want?
“It’s true. You can see me rubbing the ground like a dog; it was the most horrendous experience of my life, but I tell you I never found so much space in a game than I did that night after that happened.”
That’s definitely one to tell your grandkids when they go through a similar accident. They’ll definitely feel better about themselves.
2) DaMarcus Beasley Can’t Seem To Find A Bathroom
Well, at least Lineker’s incident was an accident. DaMarcus Beasley simply didn’t want to take the time to run to a urinal, and relieved himself on the sidelines with the whole world watching.
Back at the 2002 World Cup, while waiting to check into the game as a substitute against Mexico, Beasley needed to make sure he was comfortable before taking the field.
With crystal clear footage, Beasley was seen reaching into his shorts, repositioning himself and letting loose. A large puddle formed around the US bench. Millions of viewers couldn’t quite digest what they had just seen.
1) Hand of God
Sure, we could put Zidane‘s headbutt, or Suarez‘s own version of the Hand of God on this list, but here’s the thing. Both of those players were caught in the act and paid the price. Diego Maradona scored a goal with his hand, in plain sight of everyone watching, except the referee.
This game also featured the Goal of the Century from Maradona, which proved to be the decisive one, but the Hand of God goal still proved to make the difference in a 2-1 Argentina win over England.
Argentina would also go on to win the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, making the goal all the more ridiculous, shocking and downright wrong. What’s even more ridiculous is how the goal is somehow celebrated.
All future World Cup will guarantee us is more stunning, ridiculous moments. It’s just a bonus along with the dramatic soccer being played.