Maradona's Hand of God, Lampard's 'ghost' Goal & the 4 Biggest Controversies in World Cup History

Maradona's Hand of God, Lampard's 'ghost' Goal & the 4 Biggest Controversies in World Cup History

Rene Otinga
November 4, 2022 at 12:56 PM
  • The largest sporting event in the world is less than three weeks away
  • Over the years, the different World Cup editions have been marred by different slices of controversy
  • Ahead of the 2022 edition, we take a look at some of the biggest controversies that rocked the global spectacle

The World Cup has an extremely rich history of producing some of the greatest and most memorable moments in sports.

From incredible goals to world-class saves to upsets in the tournament, the World Cup almost guarantees to be the pinnacle of entertainment in sports.

Similarly, there are also moments throughout World Cup history that always threaten to dampen the beautiful game.

World Cup, Controversy Maradona, Hand of God.
Maradona's Hand of God and Lampard's 'ghost' Goal are some of the biggest controversies in the history of the World Cup. Photo:Archivo El Grafico/Cameron Spencer.
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief makes a pick of some of the biggest controversies in World Cup history:

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1. The Hand of God (1986 World Cup)

It is no surprise that this comes first in the list.

This is a particularly painful topic for England fans as the late Diego Maradona scored arguably the most controversial goal in World up history to ensure Argentina knocked out The Three Lions.

The Argentine football legend scored with his hand and the goal somehow stood, much to the dismay of England fans.

To add insult to injury, Maradona then scored a worldie as he tore through five England players before killing the game off with a memorable goal past Peter Shilton, who is still bitter to this day.

2. South Korea 2002 controversy

South Korea were one of the hosts for the 2002 World Cup.

As hosts, there was pressure on the South Koreans to put up a good performance and make significant progress in the competition.

So much, in fact, that it became blatant that the match officials were determined to see the nation progress to the latter stages of the competition.

Italy fans will bear witness to this, as they felt extremely hard-done by referee Byron Moreno of Ecuador, who seemed determined to see South Korea progress.

In that particular game, Moreno somehow disallowed a fine goal from Italy and went on to send off Francesco Totti for diving.

South Korea went on to win the game 2-1 thanks to a golden goal by Ahn Jung-Hwan.

3. Lampard’s Ghost goal (2010 World Cup)

The date was June 27 in Bloemfontein, and England, as usual, had the expectation of the entire nation weighing on their shoulders to go all the way in the World Cup.

It was a game against Germany in the round of 16 and Die Mannschaft had done excellently in the first half thanks to goals from Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski.

Matthew Upson however pulled one back for England, who suddenly had a chance to save their World Cup campaign amid talks of the dying ‘Golden Generation’.

Frank Lampard looked to have bagged the equalizer for England after a stunning shot came off the bar and bounced just inside the goal line, but the referee somehow missed it and play went on.

Germany eventually won the game 4-1, to the discontent of England players and fans.

4. Ronaldo’s fitness (1998)

An interesting story is told about the great Ronaldo Nazario, and how his fitness came into question in 1998.

Rumours to date are still rife that everything was set up to have France win the 1998 edition of the tournament.

Ahead of the 1998 final, Ronaldo was left off Brazil’s team sheet, only to appear in the eleventh hour.

It has since emerged that Ronaldo suffered convulsion in his sleep and had to be rushed to hospital. The more sensational allegations are that Ronaldo was forced to play in the final regardless of how he was feeling to improve the ratings of that World Cup.

France went on to thrash Brazil 3-0.

Important World Cup 2022 dates

Sports Brief also reported on some significant dates to keep in mind ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

The competition will officially kick off on November 20 and the hosts Qatar, who are in Group A, will curtain-raise the event against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Group games will conclude on Friday, December 2 when Portugal, Ghana and Brazil will all be in action.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
HOD- EPL I Serie A
Frank LampardRonaldo de LimaWorld Cup