With the World Cup in Qatar just around the corner, we decided to recall some of the legendary moments that have happened since the 1930s onwards. Most of us were not born at the time of the inaugural World Cup edition in 1930 in Uruguay. John Pentin, being an avid football fan and a football editor at Betting tips 4 you, has collected some fantastic memories of the competition from older people who watched the competition much before his birth.
We will thus go through some of the legendary moments, teams, and players who marked the biggest competition in football throughout history.
1930-1950 – All About Uruguay and Italy
Uruguay and Italy have claimed two titles apiece in the inaugural four editions of the tournament. The maiden, saw the Uruguayans claiming the title on home soil in 1930, beating Argentina 4-2 in the final in Montevideo. Four years later, Italy took the crown on their soil, courtesy of an extra-time win over Czechoslovakia in Rome. Azzurri defended the title in 1938 by beating Hungary 4-2 in Paris in 1938. Unfortunately, World War II prevented the following two editions as the World Cup returned to action in 1950 when Uruguay claimed their second title by beating hosts Brazil 2-1 after extra time at Estadio Maracana.
1954 – The miracle in Bern
Hungary were enormous favorites to win the 1954 tournament in Switzerland. They demolished West Germany 8-3 in the group phase of the competition but the Germans managed to pull off a massive shock and beat the Hungarians 3-2. It was a huge victory that helped the whole nation recover its spirits after World War II.
1958 & 1962 – Pele’s Brazil
While Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are still breaking records and pushing boundaries, there is one man who is still widely considered as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. His name is Pele. He is a Brazilian legend who was born at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Pele has shown his peculiar talent on the big stage on Swedish soil as the local fans applauded the Brazilian masterclass in the final (a 5-2 win for Brazil over Sweden). Selecao went on to win the competition four years later once again, this time beating Czechoslovakia 3-1 in Chile.
1966 – Lone English title
English people like to call themselves “football inventors”. If you ask any English citizen how they felt during the 1966 World Cup in England, the most common answer would be “It was the best moment of my life”. This is how big this game is in England. I was not there, I was not born at that time, but I can only imagine the atmosphere in the country that loves football so much. Pele’s Brazil fell to the Korea Republic, Eusebio had his moments of magic, but they all had to succumb eventually as it was England who lifted their inaugural trophy, beating West Germany 4-2 after extra-time in the final.
1970 – The best team in the history of the game
Brazil quickly returned to the throne. They have bounced back from the failure in England in some style, cruising past all rivals to an easy title won by arguably the best football team in history. Pele was the star man, but he had some fabulous company in the likes of Rivellino, Jairzinho, Tostao, Felix, Carlos Alberto, Edu, Gerson, etc. Italy were the victims in the final, losing 4-1 on the occasion.
1974 – The total football from Oranje
Although they fell to West German in the big final, the Netherlands certainly marked the 1974 World Cup. The Dutch had a golden generation featuring one-and-only Johan Cruyff, Ruud Krol, Johnny Rep, Johan Neeskens, and Rob Rensenbrink among others. This tournament gifted us the majestic Cruyff turn, a move even today’s kids are still trying to repeat in their backyards. We have to mention the Germans as well. They played completely opposite defensive-minded football but still had a star-studded lineup with Franz Beckenbauer in defense and Gerd Muller up front.
1978-1986 – Argentina emerging on the map with two titles in twelve years
Mario Kempes led Argentina to their maiden World Cup silverware in 1978 when Argentina took advantage of the home court. They saw off the Netherlands 2-1 after extra time in the final. We will never forget Argentina’s clash against Italy in the semifinal, easily one of the best games in the history of football. Speaking of the best matches in history, we have to mention the following clashes from the 1982 edition: West Germany vs France & Italy vs Brazil. Paolo Rossi’s Italy lifted the trophy in a tournament that featured the last strong Polish team, Platini, Tigana, and Giresse at the center of the park for France, as well as Zico, Falcao, and Socrates in Brazilian shirt. We come to the 1986 edition and a bag full of memories. Diego Armando Maradona and his Hand of God are the first synonyms, but we can’t forget Denmark’s impressive football, Gary Lineker’s hat-trick for England, or goals from Josimar and Negrete (among others) either. Most people will say that the 1986 World Cup in Mexico is the best in history.
1990 – Roger Milla, Toto Schillaci – West Germany win it in Italy
Roberto Baggio and Toto Schillaci were on fire for hosts Italy, but they could not take Azzurri beyond the semifinal. The 1990 tournament gave us more spectacular moments and players. Roger Milla’s Cameroon were one of the most pleasant surprises of the tournament, while Lotthat Matthaus notched one of the most spectacular goals in the history of the World Cup in the group stage against Yugoslavia. His West Germany eventually won the competition, beating Argentina 1-0 in the final.
1994 – Brazil win on penalties on US soil
We will finish the article with the tournament in the United States. Besides the legendary Roberto Baggio’s miss in the penalty shootout in the grand final against Brazil, we do have special mentions to the likes of Bulgaria, Sweden, and Romania who all conquered the world with some impressive performances in Pasadena.