5 Most Controversial Goals in the History of the World Cup

When it comes to football competitions, the FIFA World Cup stands at the very top. This is the biggest football tournament in the world, so naturally, each squad gives it their all to win glory for their country.

We’ve seen some of the best goals ever scored in a football match at the World Cup. Many matches and even tournaments have been decided by controversial goals scored during the World Cup of football as well.

Both the referees and the goal scorers have come under fire for their roles in what has been called “the darkest chapter in World Cup history.” Undoubtedly, the “hand of God” episode is what most people recall, but was there anything else? Find out 5 Most Controversial Goals in the History of the World Cup.

Mexico World Cup 1996 – Diego Maradona vs. England (Hand of God)

The most well-known example, to begin with, is Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God,.”  It’s safe to say that the Hand of God is the most famous World Cup goal ever. Six minutes into the second half, they scored. After a zigzagging run, an English defender sliced the ball into the air, and Maradona punched it over an alert Peter Shilton to give Argentina the lead.

At first impression, it really would appear like Maradona headed the ball into the England net before anyone else.

It came out that Maradona had actually used his left arm to direct the ball into the net, but the referee insisted that there was no hand involvement and allowed the goal to stand, much to the surprise of the spectators. It was one of the most talked about goals that questioned Maradona’s sportsmanship.

England World Cup 1966 – Geoff Hurst vs. West Germany (Goal or no goal)

After a disputed goal against West Germany, Hurst became the first player in World Cup history to achieve a hat trick. This results in England’s first and only World Cup victory.

The game is tied at two goals each after the regular 90 minutes, going towards overtime. Hurst slipped into the penalty area in the eleventh minute of extra time and blasted a strong shot over the head of the German diving goalkeeper and into the crossbar.

Geoff Hurst swiveled and blasted a shot on goal after receiving a cross from Alan Ball. After rebounding off the underside of the bar, the ball was eventually cleared. There was a brief pause while the Swiss referee conferred with his linesman.

After a couple of seconds, the linesman signaled for the goal, and England went on to win 4-2. It’s debatable if the ball actually crossed the goal line, but this decisive play ultimately gave England the World Cup.

South Africa World Cup 2010 – Frank Lampard vs. Germany (Disallowed Goal)

In South Africa, England and Germany faced off in a match that counted as a knockout tie. The match took place in Johannesburg. Germany scored two goals in the opening half an hour of the match by Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, giving their team a two-goal lead.

When Frank Lampard scored a stunning goal from a long-range, it gave everyone in the crowd the impression that England had completed a remarkable comeback. After a deflection, the shot went over the bar and landed around one yard behind the goal line.

The referee ruled that the play should not count, and it did. It would have tied the game at 2-2, but the official ruled that the ball had crossed the line by more than a yard. Therefore, it was not counted.

South Africa World Cup Qualifier 2009 – Thierry Henry vs. Republic of Ireland (Double-handed assist)

In 2009, France halted Ireland’s growth in a contentious manner as the two countries were embroiled in a battle to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, which South Africa hosted. In the first leg of the qualifying competition, which took place in Dublin, France defeated the Republic of Ireland by a score of 1-0. The results of the second leg, which was scheduled to take place in Paris, would decide the match’s outcome.

The score was tied 1-1, and it appeared that neither team would be able to take the lead. However, in the 103rd minute, France won a free kick well beyond the halfway line. The shot was taken by Florent Malouda, who then lobbed the ball into the penalty area. Thierry Henry purposefully handled the ball to get control of it, then passed it to an unguarded William Gallas, who headed the ball into the back of the net.

South Africa World Cup 2010 – Carlos Tevez vs. Mexico (Offside Goal)

Even though Tevez was clearly offside, the referee gave Argentina a goal in the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup, and they went on to win 3-1.

Even while an offside goal isn’t necessarily problematic, the fact that it was shown on the stadium’s giant screen made matters much worse. With this score, supporters of introducing Goal Line technology at the World Cup had even more evidence to support their case.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports and Surprise Movies.


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