Top 10 Most Controversial World Cup Refereeing Decisions

Controversial World Cup Refereeing Decisions

World Cup is the grandest stage of all football competitions. FIFA always makes sure to bring the best referees for the final stages. However, sometimes, referees caught themselves in the controversies by allowing a foul goal, disallowing a valid goal, or booking a certain player. In the history of the World Cup, There are plenty of Controversial refereeing decisions. Today we conducted the list of most Controversial World Cup Refereeing Decisions.

Controversial World Cup Refereeing Decisions

Note: These decisions are far away from right or wrong. However, they raise a wave of controversy.

10). Josip Simunic Vs Australia, 2006

Controversial World Cup Refereeing Decisions

One of the Bizarre events that took place at the 2006 world cup came during a meeting between Croatia Vs Australia. Croatia’s Josep Simunic was shown a yellow card thrice in a match. The incident came in the In a deciding Group F tie between Australia and Croatia.

Simunic got his first yellow card in the 61st minute for a foul on Harry Kewell. He got his second yellow card in the 90th minute but surprisingly the referee did not give him a mandatory red card after the second yellow. After the final whistle, Simunic pushed the referee. As a result, a third yellow card was flashed at him along with a red card at last.

9). Portugal vs Netherland, 2006

Controversial World Cup Refereeing Decisions

Not just a player but this whole match was famous for multiple bookings and clashes. Portugal vs Netherland clash is firmly known as the Battle of Nuremberg. This 2006 World Cup Round of 16 ties will be remembered for a record number of bookings in a single world cup match.

The referee had shown a World Cup record of four red cards and 16 yellow cards in this fiercely contested game between the two teams. Costinha and Deco received red cards from the Portugal camp. Khalid Boulahrouz and Giovanni van Bronckhorst were sent off from the Dutch side. Last, Portugal won the tie, courtesy of a Maniche strike.

8). Claudio Marchisio Vs Uruguay, 2014

In the 2014 World cup, Italy needed a win or at least 1 point against Uruguay in order to qualify for the knockout stages. However, Italy fans saw Claudio Marchisio sent off in a group stage clash at the 2014 World Cup.

Marchisio was sent off in the 59th minute for a studs-up challenge. With one man down Italy fell at a disadvantage. Uruguay ultimately scored in the 81st minute and knocked Italy out of the World Cup.

7). Spain vs Yugoslavia, 1982

Only a 2-1 win over Yugoslavia saw them qualify for the second group phase, but this was secured in an infamous fashion. Trailing 1-0, Spain was awarded a penalty for a Yugoslavian foul that occurred clearly two yards outside the area. Ugarte struck his penalty wide, but the referee then demanded a retake which Juanito made no mistake from. Spain went on to win 2-1, while Yugoslavia would eventually be eliminated despite going into the tournament as one of the favorites.

Yugoslavia would earn their revenge eight years later at Italia ’90 when they defeated Spain 2-1 in the second phase, thanks to two brilliant goals from the legendary Dragan Stojkovic.

6). Rudi Voller’s dive – West Germany vs Argentina 1990

In the Rome showpiece against West Germany, the holders had again ridden their luck in arguably the dullest final of all time. But they were then undone by the referee in the closing stages. First Pedro Monzon became the first player in history to be red-carded in a World Cup final after a clear dive by Jurgen Klinsmann on his challenge.

Then, with five minutes remaining, the Germans were awarded a penalty when Rudi Voller went down far too easily in the box. Andreas Brehme converted the spot-kick and Germany was champion. Argentina cried foul, claiming that no one wanted them to win after they had knocked out hosts Italy in the semis.

5). Thierry Henry Vs Uruguay, 2002

The Arsenal striker was sent off in the 25th minute of a group match. The match was against Uruguay vs France in the 2002 world cup. France needed a win in order to proceed to the next round.

As the Les Bleus suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Senegal in their first game.  Unfortunately, Henry received a red card leads France towards a goalless draw which virtually knocked them out of the World Cup.

4). John Heitinga Vs Spain, World Cup Final 2010

World Cup Final, Match went into extra time, moments away from the penalties, But fate had a different opinion. During Netherland vs Spain, The Dutch midfielder, John Heitinga was booked twice at the 2010 World Cup final. John Heitinga got himself the first yellow in the 59th Minute.

11 minutes away from the extra time ending, He then got himself the second yellow In the 109th minute which reduced the Netherlands to 10-men. Just seven minutes later, Andres Iniesta scored the World Cup-winning goal to create history and break Dutch hearts.

3). Spain vs. South Korea, World Cup 2002

South Korea had a dream World Cup in 2002, but they were aided in no small part by the officials, who influenced the games against Spain and Italy to a great extent.

Spain was disallowed what looked like two perfectly legitimate goals, with the second blunder the worse of the two. The first one was disallowed for “pushing in the area,” while the second one was taken back because it was ruled that the ball had gone out of play before being crossed.

In the game against Italy, again another goal was wrongly not given because of an offside call. The Italians’ various penalty claims throughout the match were denied. Not to mention the fact that Francesco Totti was sent off for diving.

2). Zinedine Zidane Vs Italy, World Cup Final 2006

Guiding his team all the way to the final, Playing his final games, Zinedine was in the queue to write the fairy tale ending of his legendary career. However, Sometimes fate didn’t go along with your plans. Hence, the most famous and most dramatic Red Cards incidents happened in the final of the 2006 World Cup.

 Zinedine Zidane had almost single-handedly taken France to the final of the World Cup only to head-butt Marco Materazzi to the ground and earn a red card. France went on to lose the match on penalties.

The stunned audience later came to know that Materazzi had provoked Zidane with offensive comments about his sister. The Frenchman was praised for his performances in France despite this incident and his reputation has also remained unscathed. 

1) ‘Hand of God’ – Diego Maradona vs England 1986

The most infamous goal in World Cup history occurred during the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico between Argentina and England. With the score locked at 0-0 six minutes into the second half, Maradona chased a miss-hit clearance by England midfielder Steve Hodge and jumped above goalkeeper Peter Shilton before flicking it past the veteran with the outside of his left fist.

The referee failed to spot the infringement and Argentina took a one-goal lead. Minutes later, Maradona scored the ‘Goal of the Century’ after dribbling past half of the England team. Argentina won 2-1 and go on to lift the World Cup.

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