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10 Best World Cup Moments

It is the stuff football trivia is made of. Who scored the first goal of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first time the tournament was held on the continent?

Siphiwe Tshabalala’s creamer against Mexico in the opener is one of the enduring memories of the 2010 World Cup.

Successive World Cup tournaments have served up some unforgettable moments, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Below, we look at some of them.

10. Brazil vs Italy (1982): Italy shocked the world when they eliminated tournament favourites Brazil who were displaying a good brand of attacking football. Paolo Rossi scored a memorable hat trick to give Azzurri a 2-3 win in a final second round group stage match. The Italians would go on to win the tournament.

9. Thierry Henry puts favourites Brazil out 2006: In a rather bizarre act, Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos decided to tie his shoelaces while France took a quick free-kick. Thierry Henry (unmarked) duly capitalised to eliminate the Brazilians from the tournament.

8. Argentina vs England: The “Hand of God” goal. One of the most famous moments in history was when Diego Maradona scored with his hand in the quarter finals of the 1986 World Cup to eliminate England. Argentina went on to win the World Cup after victories over Belgium and West Germany.

7. Carlos Alberto’s grass cutter: In arguably the best World Cup to date, Carlos Alberto finished with a grass cutting shot past goalkeeper Dino Zoff after a pass from the best player in the world at the time, Pele as Brazil beat Italy 4-1 to win the 1970 World Cup.

6. The Headbutt: In 2006, in a rush of blood to the head Zinedine Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi and was rightfully dismissed. That was to be the Frenchman’s last World Cup and the end of Zizou’s legendary international career.

5. Africa makes her mark: Cameroon put Africa on the map by defeating defending champions Argentina in the 1990 World Cup tournament. Francois Omam-Biyik’s goal was the difference as the Indomitable Lions overcame the dismissal of two players to prevail over much-fancied opponents.

4. Ronaldo fails Brazil after seizure: In the 1998 World Cup, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima led Brazil to the finals having scored four goals but suffered an epileptic seizure the night before the final against France. He was removed from the team sheet, but insisted on playing on the day of the game. His under-par performance was a factor is Brazil losing the final 3-0 as France were crowned champions.

3. Spain reign: Spain won the 2010 World Cup on African soil when they defeated Netherlands 1-0 with an extra time goal from Andres Iniesta. The Spanish lit up the tournament with a brand of football called tika tika, popularised by Barcelona.

2. Age does not matter: Michael Owen, at the tender age of 18, left Robert Ayala for dead before scoring a superb goal for England against Argentina. With that magical moment the young striker announced his arrival on the international stage.

1. Goal of the Century:  The 1986 World Cup. A few minutes after the ‘The hand of God’, Maradona was at it again, this time dribbling past four England defenders from his own half before slotting the ball into the net past Shilton. Argentina won the match 2-1.

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