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Top 7 Most Controversial FIFA World Cup Matches of All Time

  • Post category:Football
  • Reading time:10 mins read
  • Post last modified:May 19, 2023

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In this post, we will check out the top 7 most controversial FIFA World Cup matches of all time.

FIFA Worldcup has always been the laser focus event of all fans worldwide. Every four years, the best of the best soccer nations gather to face each other in the mega-sporting event, from some memorable and emotional moments from the cup to the most notorious and controversial matches that are not hidden from the eyes of the public.

Here are seven of the most contentious world cup matches of all time that are remembered for their notorious controversies.

Most Controversial FIFA World Cup Matches of All Time

  7. Croatia vs. Australia – 2006 FIFA Worldcup

Image Credit- SBS TV

Something different happened in the 2006 FIFA World Cup group match between Croatia and Australia. In the 61st minute of the game, Graham Poll booked Croatian forward Simunic for the first foul against Harry Kewell.

Later in the 90th minute of the match, Simunic conceded a foul and was booked with another yellow card. However, this time not result in a red card.

Just three minutes later in the game, the Croatian forward made yet another foul over Harry Kewell, resulting in a red card.

This match has been remembered for English referee Graham Poll and Simunic’s decision to receive three consecutive yellow cards.

  6. England vs. Germany – 1996 FIFA Worldcup

Image Credit- Goal

The 1966 World Cup witnessed a legendary incident. The match was between England and Germany, tied at 2-2. In the 101st minute, the English attacker Geoff Hurst shot toward the goal.

The ball hit the crossbar, bounced down, and went out of the goal. Initially, the referees didn’t consider it, but the goal was later judged valid.

Therefore, England was able to take the lead, winning the 1996 World Cup that year. The real question raised by the public was that if it was really a reasonable goal or not.

  5. Chile vs. Italy – 1962 FIFA Worldcup

Image Credit- Telegraph India

The 1962 world cup match between Chile and Italy is one of the most infamous due to its sheer level of violent acts on the field. Let us dig into some previous events.

In 1962, Chile organized the World Cup while the country was recovering from a disastrous earthquake. Italian journalist called Santiago a dump after the discomfort due to the earthquake.

The Chileans didn’t take that well, and the first foul after 12 seconds and the first red card followed 12 minutes later. Both sides went violent against each other and tried to hurt in any possible way.

The police were called and intervened three times during the match. The Chilean side eventually won the game 2-0.

  4. South Korea vs. Italy – 2002 FIFA Worldcup

Image Credit- Vice

One of the most controversial games happened in 2002 during the World Cup of Japan and South Korea match.

The South Korean side became highly contentious and performed way better than they expected. Due to some controversial decisions in this awful match, the South Koreans were able to advance far toward the elimination stage.

In the final against Italy, referee Byron disallowed a common goal and gave a red card to Francesco Totti for a dive that referee said was not existing.

Later, Koreans also committed many brutal and violent fouls without being booked by the referee. Not surprisingly, South Korea won due to the golden rule.

In the quarter-final against Spain, a similar thing happened where the referee ultimately favored Korea and denied two clear goals to the Spanish side.

But the good thing was that both referees were forced to retire soon after the match due to their actions and decisions on the field.

  3. Argentina vs. Peru – 1978 FIFA Worldcup

most controversial fifa world cup
Image Credit- FIFA

The victory of Argentina in the 1978 world cup was filled with controversies and rumors that the world cup had been fixed. It is believed that military dictatorship was behind the controversial victory of Argentina.

The most controversial game of the tournament was Argentina vs. Peru. Argentina, at that time, needed a four-goal win to proceed to the finals and drop the chances of Brazil.

To our surprise, The match ended with a score of 6-0 for the Argentinian side, and eventually, people thought it was indeed fixed. However, Brazil was unlucky and demotivated then, seeing them lose in 2014 against Germany.

The Brazilian side now seems more competent and promising for the next world cup ahead cannot be missed, and this FIFA world cup live stream can be enjoyed anywhere in the world and especially for the Brazilian fans to support their national team

  2. France vs. West Germany – 1982 FIFA Worldcup

most controversial fifa world cup
Image Credit- FIFA

One of the most infamous 1982 world cup semi-finals between France and Germany proved to be a target of horrific injuries.

German attacker Harald Schumacher collided with French Battinson, which resulted in a dirty injury caused to Frenchman, breaking his teeth, damaging vertebrae, and separating him from his consciousness.

He was immediately sent out of the field, but to our surprise, the German forward did not receive a penalty for almost ending his life of Patrick.

West Germany won that match and proceeded to the finals, but they lost that match and the world cup to Italy.

  1. England vs. Germany – 2010 FIFA Worldcup

most controversial fifa world cup
Image Credit- Zimbio

It was the 2010 World Cup quarter-final match between England and Germany, which seemed poised at 2-1. Frank Lampard then hit a shot from just outside the box, which directly hit the crossbar and appeared to have crossed the line partially.

The ball rebounded over the line, and Neuer caught the ball and carried the game on. Everyone in the stadium knew the ball went inside, and it was a clear goal, but unlike in 1966, the referee did not give the goal. It was this time when everyone was forced to implement recording technology.


Sometimes, it’s about the ethics in the game, and that generates the interest of the public to know more about the controversial matches. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the most controversial matches in the world cup.

The matches have been ranked according to the controversies and their scale of conspiracies of brutality and violence that destroyed the integrity of the world cup.

But we have to remain optimistic for future games because, in the end, everyone loves to support their national teams in their ups and downs.

Kamran Khan

A geek, who just loves to update sports, gaming, and tech updates from around the world to the other geeks out there. A passionate sports lover, a tech geek from the mind, and a gamer from the heart.

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