Battle of Berne
Brazil were at the centre of a notorious brawl in Switzerland in 1954, when their quarter-final against Hungary became immortalised as the “Battle of Berne.” The result, a 4-2 victory for Hungary, has become a footnote of a match which is a strong contender for the dirtiest game in World Cup history.
The match was marred by three sendings off and several mass brawls, and was interrupted by several invasions from Brazilian officials and media.
To say that German goalkeeper Harald ‘Toni’ Schumacher left an indelible imprint on the 1982 tournament would be an understatement. The curly-haired netminder became a hate figure in the 58th minute of the semi-final with France with the match level at 1-1 substitute Patrick Battiston had just shot at goal only for Schumacher to charge and elbow him deliberately in the head.
Battiston slumped unconscious to the ground and required minutes of treatment.
Battiston was stretchered off the pitch accompanied by his close friend Michel Platini. He suffered three broken teeth and a damaged vertebra. “Tell him I’ll pay for the crowns,” was Schumacher’s unrepentant response after the match.
‘Hand of God’ strikes down the land of ‘God Save the Queen’
The 1986 World Cup was all about Diego Maradona, the very good and the very bad side of him. Both were seen in the quarter-final against England, the very good being his extraordinary individual goal that put them 2-0 up in a game they would win 2-1.
Rijkaard and Voller spit spat
Matches between Germany and the Netherlands were always high-octane affairs dating back to the brutal Nazi Occupation during World War II. This last 16 game in the 1990 finals was no exception as Dutch defender Frank Rijkaard and German striker Rudi Voller two of the most respected players at the time enjoyed their moment of notoriety.
Tempers boiled over early on with Rijkaard being booked for a foul on Voller, the Dutchman reacting by spitting at the back of the perm-haired striker’s head.
Zinedine Zidane was seen as a role model and an icon in France. The 2006 World Cup final appeared to be the ideal setting for perhaps their greatest ever player to bid farewell and perhaps add a second World Cup to the one he had won in 1998.
All started well with him opening the scoring but Marco Materazzi levelled and an increasingly fractious game went into extra-time. Materazzi an old style hardman central defender with a penchant for provoking opponents with foul comments finally ‘scored’ his second goal when Zidane unable to take any more of his remarks about his sister headbutted him in the chest 10 minutes from the end of extra-time.