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11 Most Controversial Moments in World Cup History

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Last Updated: Jul 1, 2014

So far, Luis Suarez’ Mike Tyson move against Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, with bite mark still obvious in the photos released, is the most controversial moment in the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

But for the entire history of the World Cup, Suarez unsurprisingly manage to join the list.

Here are the top 11 most controversial moments in the history of World Cup:

  1. Zidane head butts Materazzi. In the 2006 Berlin World Cup final, France captain Zinedine Zidane gave Italy’s Marco Materazzi a furious headbutt to the chest. According to reports, the root of the hostility started when Materazzi insulted Zidane’s sister before the controversial incident happened.
  2. Carlos fouls Bellone. During the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, Brazil Goalkeeper fouled Brazilian striker Bruno Bellone, but the referee didn’t give a free-kick. That controversial call was considered by members of the media as an extreme mistake.
  3. Antonio Rattin refuses sent off decision. In the 1966 England World Cup quarter-final, Argentina captain Antonio Rattin was sent off by referee Rudolf Kreitlein. However, the captain refused to leave, which lead to a long delay to the game.
  4. Harald knocked Battinson out. In the 1982 World Cup semi-final, France’s Patrick Battinson was fouled by West Germany goalkeeper Herald Schumacher. Battinson got knocked out cold and was even given oxygen, however, referee Charles Corver still decided to give Germany a goal-kick.
  5. Rijkaard spits at Voller. In the 1990 last 16 West Germany’s Rudi Voller and Netherlands’ midfielder Frank Rijkaard got into a heated encounter. When they were sent off, Rijkaard spat on Voller.
  6. Maradona’s “Hand of God.” In the 1986 quarter-final, Argentina’s Diego Maradona used his hand to score a goal, however, officials failed to spot it. Later, Maradona claimed, it was the hand of God that helped him score.
  7. Suarez handles the ball. Luis Suarez is a favourite when it comes to controversies. In the 2010 quarter-final he handled the ball, which later on led to events that made Uruguay win against Ghana 4-2.
  8. Battle of Nuremberg. In 2006, Portugal’s victory against the Netherlands was not without bad temper. The game had 16 yellow cards and 4 sent offs.
  9. De Jong’s Krate Kick. In the 2010 final Netherlands’ Nigel de Jong gave Spain’s Xabi Webb a Van Damme karate kick to the chest, but de Jong only got a yellow card.
  10. Rivaldo’s play acting injury. In the 2002 World Cup, Brazil’s Rivaldo was hit in the leg by the ball after Turkey defender Hakan Unsal gave the ball a kick. The referee sent Unsal off, but the cameras saw Rivaldo’s acting.
  11. Battle of Santiago. The 1962 World Cup was probably the most controversial when Santiago and Chile got into a hostile encounter with the officials sending off two men.

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