Looking back at the history of World Cup editions is a way of passing through the history of football. The most prestigious competition in football has always been the stage for creating the most glorious and memorable moments in the game’s history. In this article, we take a look at the best matches in World Cup history.
Twenty-two editions of the World Cup have been held so far. There are a total of 946 games played in this competition, but here are just ten of them to discuss.
It will be fun!
Best Matches in World Cup History
We’ve compiled a top-ten list of the best matches in World Cup history.
Our selections were based on specific factors and criteria. The fame of a game and its importance in the history of football, its level of attraction and excitement, the number of goals, the presence of dramatic elements in the match, and, of course, the superstars on the field are some of these factors. You’ll find some iconic matches in this article.
What is the highest scoring game in World Cup history? It was a very fascinating match between Austria and Switzerland in the 1954 World Cup quarterfinals. The host lost the game 7-5. Surprisingly, the match is not on our list, But we honorably mentioned it just now!
So, which World Cup game was the best? What are the best matches in World Cup history?
- Austria 7-5 Switzerland – 1954
- Brazil 4-1 Italy – 1970
- Romania 3-2 Argentina – 1994
- Argentina 2-2 England – 1998
- Italy 2-0 Germany – 2006
Portugal 5 – 3 North Korea
They had eliminated Italy from the tournament. Azzurri stood off the Yellow Storm with Sandro Mazzola, Gianni Rivera, Giacinto Facchetti, and all his stars, and fell 1-0. North Korea was the first Asian side to appear in the World Cup knockout stage. Within 25 minutes, they were ahead of Portugal 3-0.
They were the most underdog team in the tournament by some heavy distances. Standing against them stood one of the greatest players of all time: The Black Pearl, the great Eusebio.
The Portuguese striker made the game 4-3. Eusebio scored two goals in the first half and two in the second, making a dream comeback for Portugal. Jose Augusto scored the fifth goal in the 80th minute. But the Yellow Storm had immortalized its name already.
Thousands of English spectators at Goodison Park Stadium watched one of the best matches in World Cup history.
Read More: Best Players of the 1960s
Germany 7 – 1 Brazil
It’s still hard to believe. Germany scored seven goals against the Selecao in Brazil. They suffered the biggest humiliation of their history at home. It looked like a tragic theater. Sixty thousand people at the Mineirao Stadium witnessed this tragedy.
The wounds were burning like the suns
Ah, that fatal five in the afternoon
It was five by all the clocks
It was five in the shade of the afternoon…Spanish Poet, Federico Garcia Lorca
Germany went ahead 5-0 inside thirty minutes. The Brazilians seem to have forgotten how to play football. On the other hand, the Germans were all brutally cool, fit, lively, and admirable. Toni Kroos played the best game of his career. Perhaps one of the best individual performances in World Cup history.
They scored two more goals in the second half. Nobody celebrated when Oscar scored Brazil’s only goal in the 90th minute. Brazil crushed, fell to its knees, broke, flew…
The most shocking image of the match was the picture of the old man holding his fake cup tightly. He dreamed of playing against Argentina in the final in Maracana. It would be a historic victory and a celebration for a lifetime. The result of his life… The old man didn’t want to believe it.
Read More: Interesting Facts about Toni Kroos
West Germany 3 – 3 France
Two great European sides played one of the best matches in World Cup history in the semi-finals. On July 8, 1982, West Germany and France faced each other at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium. Michel Platini, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Paul Breitner, Felix Magath, Jean Tigana, Pierre Littbarski, and Klaus Fischer were among the stars on the field.
With two goals from Littbarski and Platini, the match was 1-1 at the end of normal time. Four goals were scored in extra time. At first, France scored two goals and reached the dream of the final. But only a dream. Rummenigge made the match 3-2 to keep German hopes alive.
Then, the most historic and famous goal in the history of Mannschaft was scored. With a perfect assist from Horst Hrubesch, one of the most beautiful goals in World Cup history was scored. Klaus Fischer created an unforgettable moment for the Germans with a beautiful, spectacular overhead kick.
You can’t expect to win a penalty shootout against the Germans. It’s just too much! This was a trailing penalty shootout, though. Fifteen penalties were kicked. West Germany won 8-7 on penalties. They went to the final and lost to Italy.
England 4 – 2 West Germany
The most historic Wembley match. The home of football and the classic clash between West Germany and England. With Bobby Charlton, Franz Beckenbauer, Uwe Seeler, Bobby Moore, Gordon Banks, Wolfgang Overath, Geoff Hurst, and more. It was one of the greatest World Cup games of all time, indeed!
What is the best World Cup in history? Well, this edition was a special one, in any case. It was a memorable month in England, July 1966.
Of course, there is always only one Final match. All the ways lead to Wembley.
The hosts were going to win 2-1 at normal time. But Wolfgang Weber’s ninety-minute goal saw the game continue in extra time. An exciting extra time.
Geoff Hurst scored one of the most controversial goals ever in the 101st minute. Did the whole of the ball pass the line? Still, no one can confirm or deny it. Either way, England took the lead 3-2.
The Germans tried hard to score in the final minutes of this thrilling match. In the very last seconds, Bobby Moore won the ball and passed it to Geoff Hurst, with all of Germany’s defenders joining the attack. Hurst wanted to shoot the ball as far into the Wembley stands as possible to waste time. But the ball went to the top corner of West Germany’s goal, finding the net. Geoff Hurst completed his historic hat-trick as England won their only major trophy.
Queen Elizabeth herself handed it to Bobby Moore.
Read More: Best English Footballers of All Time
Argentina 3 – 3 France
Fifty-six years after the Wembley final, far away from England, another of the best matches in World Cup history was held at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. Captaining his side, Lionel Messi led Argentina to the final. Captaining his side, Kylian Mbappe was unstoppable.
Argentina scored two goals in the first half. They dominated the game and saw themselves as world champions until the 80th minute. But does Kylian Mbappe allow it?
Two goals from the French superstar in the 80th and 81st minutes brought the match back to level. An exciting extra time, again!
Messi took the lead again for Albiceleste in the 108th minute. But Mbappe was not giving up. A penalty kick in the 108th minute made the match 3-3. Randal Kolo Muani could snatch the trophy for his side in the very last seconds. But he didn’t.
Mbappe scored his penalty. But Messi was supposed to be the world champion. He deserved that.
Read More: Interesting Facts about Lionel Messi
Italy 3 – 2 Brazil
This is not only one of the best matches in World Cup history but also one of the most important and determining matches in the game’s history.
They played the best and most beautiful football ever, they say. With Socrates, Falcao, and Zico in midfield. With Tele Santana sitting on the bench. The great side of Jogo Bonito.
On the other hand, Italy had put up an iron defensive line in front of Dino Zoof’s net. They were playing with their Catenaccio style. Jogo Bonito (which means the beautiful game) was a completely aggressive style: Attack and Attack.
The importance of this match in the history of football comes back to this concentration. Offense versus defense. Beauty versus resilience. Quality against the result.
Paolo Rossi scored his famous hat-trick in this match. Two goals from Socrates and Falcao were not enough. One of the best teams in football history achieved nothing. The beauty had failed, and the Beautiful Game got thrown out of the game.
Read More: Best Brazilian Footballers of All Time
West Germany 3 – 2 Hungary
This match is known as the Miracle of Bern. One of the greatest games in World Cup history. It was a historical shock to the world of football.
Hungary was the greatest side of the era. With a legendary squad and a legendary captain: Ferenc Puskas!
They were undefeated for over four years. Hungary was shattering all of its opponents. They scored six goals against England in November 1953 and then seven in May 1954. The Mighty Magyars beat South Korea 9-0 in their opening match at the 1954 World Cup. They thrashed West Germany 8-3 in their second game.
Hungary then beat its two main rivals, Brazil and Uruguay, in the knockout stage, both 4-2. They reached the final with 25 goals scored in four games. Everyone was waiting for the Golden Team to humiliate West Germany again and get the place it deserved: The World Champion.
On July 4, 1954, the World Cup final took place at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland. Hungary took the lead 2-0 inside ten minutes. The Mighty Magyars were going to win the trophy, authoritative. It would have been the same if the Miracle of Bern didn’t happen.
Sepp Herberger’s side managed to make a comeback. Hungary invaded West Germany’s gaol countless times, all of them fruitless. Germans won the match 3-2, miraculously.
The Golden Team deserved more than a silver medal.
Read More: Best Players of the 1950s
Argentina 2 – 1 England
It’s all about one man: Diego Armando Maradona.
The match between Argentina and England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals was played with a political background, just a few years after the Falklands War between the two countries. It’s one of the best matches in World Cup history.
Maradona created several chances for his teammates in the first half, which they didn’t take. In the second half, the captain himself got to business and suddenly split football history into two parts, before and after himself.
In the 51st minute, the Hand of God goal was scored, and in the 55th minute, the Goal of the Century. Two of the most famous goals of all time were scored by one player within minutes of each other. Everything must have a god, and Maradona is the god of football.
For the first goal, Maradona simulated a header with his left hand, and for the second, he dribbled the whole England team to score one of the most amazing goals in football history: The Goal of the Century!
Diego Armando Maradona danced lightly, balanced, and beautifully on the Aztec field and was immortalized. Like a kite among the galaxies…
Read More: Top 10 Iconic Goals of All Time
Italy 1 – 1 France
The legend’s staunch opposition with surrendering, that effort to reach infinity, that eager fluttering and continuing the path in the dead end, which will lead to nothing but destruction and perdition, all and all trying to help the tragedy to engrave the sign of eternity on human experiences. Our longing to watch the legend’s standing stature is rooted in the fact that he shows us the eternal pleasure of playfully creating and then destroying.
Legend is the dense image of the world. And the force that shapes the world is like the hands of that playful child who picks up stones and builds pillars of sand, only to destroy them again.
Let’s talk about a legend: Zinedine Zidane.
It was a World Cup final. Is the World Cup final a place to do a chip penalty? You have to be a fool or a genius to do foolish things. Zizou was not a fool. In the seventh minute, he stood against Gigi Buffon and proved that even a penalty can be one of the most beautiful goals ever. One-of-a-kind panenka. Unrepeatable, like Zizou.
Tragedy is always shaped by a hero who steadily continues his path on the deadly roads. Everything is against him. Everyone tells him to stop. But the hero is always a free man. He doesn’t care what others say, and he doesn’t care about any law or order. He has his own law, and he makes his own destiny.
A lot of questions were left unanswered when Zizou hit Materazzi’s chest with a headbutt and left forever. What do you think? Why did he do that?
Read More: Zinedine Zidane Biography
Italy 4 – 3 West Germany
They called this match the Game of the Century. So let’s end this list of the best matches in World Cup history with the eventful battle between West Germany and Italy in the 1970 World Cup semi-final.
Italy opened Sepp Maier’s goal in the first few minutes and defended it well for over eighty minutes. But in added time, the AC Milan defender Karl-Heinz Schnellinger brought the Germans back to the game. It meant the one hundred thousand audiences at Aztec Stadium would have to wait for the extra time. It was the most thrilling and exciting extra time ever.
First, West Germany was ahead with Gerd Muller’s goal. But then Italy scored two goals and took the lead again. Then Muller scored again, and the match was back to level. While live television was replaying Muller’s goal, Gianni Rivera made it 4-3. Goal after goal in the World Cup semi-final, in extra time.
Italy won the Game of the Century and went to the final. However, Brazil defeated them heavily in the final. But the sweetness of winning the exciting match against West Germany will always remain in the memory of Italian fans.
Five goals in extra time! Of course, this is the record for the most goals scored in extra time in a World Cup match!
It was suffered by El Salvador against Hungary in the 1982 World Cup: 10 to 1!
The record belongs to Just Fontaine, who scored 13 goals for France in the 1958 World Cup.