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Top 5 Biggest Feuds in FIFA World Cup History

Here are some of the biggest and controversial feuds of FIFA World Cup History.

Football as a sport is filled with tension. The players, money, fine margin of errors and bodies on the line create a degree of pressure that culminated to feuds and rivalries that take years to resolve if at all resolved. These might include the players, coaches, referees, clubs or even the governing bodies of the sport. Today we present you with the 5 Biggest Feuds in FIFA World Cup History.

5. Nicolas Anelka vs Raymond Domenech

To put it mildly, France’s World Cup campaign in 2010 did not go well. After a tactical disagreement during halftime of the game against Mexico, Nicolas Anelka’s spat with Raymond Domenech escalated into a serious catastrophe when the French players refused to attend training following Anelka’s expulsion from the squad.

The French Federation banned Anelka for 18, a ban that was initially meant to stop Anelka from playing for France. Anelka considered the ban as a joke as he had already decided to retire from the national team and admitted that he does not miss playing for Les Blues.

It’s obvious that many French fans were rightfully displeased with the striker’s behaviour and same can be said for the French football association.

To know why Brighton midfielder Enock Mwepu had to retire at the age of 24, click here.

4. Zinedine Zidane vs Marco Materazzi

Among the most famous feuds in world football, this incident took only a minute to intensify into physical violence.

Zinedine Zidane, one of football’s all-time geniuses, was enraged by Marco Materazzi’s comments about his sister. The former decided to respond with a headbutt to the chest that has since become an iconic image around the world.

Understandably, Zidane is called into question about the incident and has refused to apologise, despite admitting he should have been sent off.

Read More: Top Five South American players with most appearances in Serie A

3. Roy Keane vs Mick McCarthy

Ireland’s manager and captain Roy Keane‘s public spat instantly became one of the most noteworthy episodes of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

On the eve of the tournament, Keane, then 30, gave a concussive interview in which he critiqued his team’s preparation, culminating in an atrocious head-to-head with McCarthy in which the Manchester United midfielder didn’t hold back, punctuated with “you can stick your World Cup up your bollocks.”

Understandably, Keane was sent home and did not feature for Ireland, who advanced to the last 16 for the second time under McCarthy.

2. Suarez vs Ghana

With the Uruguay goalkeeper beat, Suarez used his knee to block the ball during the dying minutes. Dominic Adiyiah then headed the rebound on goal, where Suarez blocked it again, this time with both hands.

Suarez’s intentional handball resulted in an immediate red card and a penalty for Ghana. With a chance to win the game, Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan’s penalty attempt hit the crossbar. Meanwhile, Suarez celebrated the miss behind the benches.

The match went to a penalty-kick shootout, where Uruguay triumphed 4-2, which Suarez later remarked as “the save of the tournament.” Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac instead described Suarez’s actions as an “injustice”.

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1. Battle of Santiago

The match is globally remarked by spectators as the ugliest, most malicious and disgraceful in soccer history. This was one of the Biggest Feuds in FIFA World Cup History.

Apparently, some Italian journalists wrote unflattering articles about the host country and its capital city called Santiago. Describing Santiago as a “proudly backward and poverty-stricken dump full of prostitution and crime”, added with, “the phones don’t work, taxis are as rare as faithful husbands, a cable to Europe costs an arm and a leg and a letter takes five days to turn up”.

The Chilean felt disrespected as they had gone through immense turmoil to get the tournament up and running. However, they were mocked by a nation they had worked hard to impress in the first place.

Tensions arose across the fans and the players before the match and it showed on the field as this turned out to be the most gruesome and horrifying displays throughout the history of the sport. As the match between Italy and Chile began punches were thrown, players were kicked and deadly tackles were thrown. It was far from sportsmanship and far from a game of football. It took 12 seconds for the first foul to be awarded. While a player got sent of after just 4 minutes and police interference was needed. English Referee Ken Aston who was appointed for this match. Its Ironic how he took inspiration from this match and later went on to invent the yellow and red card.

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Harmanpreet Singh
Harmanpreet Singh
With humble and passion in his heart, Harmanpreet Singh is graduate who spends his time watching European football and cherishes old memories of the sport. Coming from Kolkata, the hub of Indian football, he is a die-hard football fanatic with FC Barcelona deep in his root and considers himself as one of kind in terms of trivia. Harmanpreet loves to write about the daily ongoing and historical events in the world of football.

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