“You will take the last penalty, because you have always been decisive so far.” This is what coach Marcello Lippi told Fabio Grosso before the penalty shootouts that determined the outcome of World Cup 2006 Final between Italy and France. Lippi’s choice to bet on a player who was not even part of his original starting lineup proved to be a winning one.
Sergio Goycoechea was not even supposed to play in World Cup 1990, as the starting goalkeeper of Argentina was undoubtedly Nery Pumpido. But when Pumpido suffered an injury, the first choice became this unknown goalie with a cowboy face, who ended up leading the Albiceleste up to the Final match, shattering Italy's Notti Magiche dreams along the way.
Scoring the decisive goal during a World Cup Final: Could you ask more from a 22-year-old boy? Mario Gotze is the man who in 2014 made Germany celebrate their fourth world title. Everybody would have bet on a shining future for him. Instead, Gotze slowly declined in the following four years, up to the point that he was not selected for the upcoming World Cup.
Scoring five goals in a single match surely is a heck of an exploit. Doing it in a world championship game makes it even more noteworthy. Indeed, this is something that has happened only once, as of today. The author of that astonishing glut was Oleg Salenko, Russia’s top striker during the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.A. It happened on June 28, in Stanford, California.
When you manage to give your name to a specific trick, it means you have made it to the history of football. Raise your hands, those who don’t remember the cuauhtemina, a feat that enabled you to dash past your opponents with the ball tied between your feet. This is what Mexican attacking midfielder Cuauhtémoc Blanco showed during World Cup 1998 in France.
"Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” British footballer Gary Lineker, the author of this famous quote, was not always right. Because during World Cup 1994, the incumbent World Champions were eliminated by a header by Yordan Letchkov, a Bulgarian striker who looked like a bookkeeper.
It is said that, just one moment before dying, a person relives their whole life in an instant. In the case of Asamoah Gyan, one of the top images will likely be that moment in which he hit the crossbar from a penalty kick that could have consigned him to the history of African football - making his native Ghana the first African Country to ever reach a World Cup Semi Final.
Sometimes, you make it to history not because of what you did, but of what you didn't do. The France squad that won World Cup 1998 featured strikers like Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet. Yet, their starting forward was Stephan Guivarc'h. Today's World Cup Meteor (Number 9 on the pitch, and in our countdown) is the striker who won a world title without scoring a goal.
In Italia, una “meteora” è quel giocatore che vive un breve periodo di gloria, prima di tornare nuovamente nell’anonimato. I Mondiali sono pieni di storie del genere, di giocatori che
There is one Italian National Team that made it to the football World Cup, even if we will have to wait one year to see it. Girl power restored our battered national pride yesterday as the Azzurre wrapped a sensational qualification to Women’s World Cup 2019 in France by beating Portugal 3-0, with goals by Cristiana Girelli, Cecilia Salvai, and Barbara Bonansea.
Football fans debate every summer about the potential new signings for their clubs, and whether they are good or not. But this was something completely unknown to Arsenal fans, at least for what concerns their manager, until Arsène Wenger decided to step down after 22 seasons. His substitute Unai Emery was once famous as a player for his Panini sticker being very hard to find.
Last Sunday marked the end of an era for Spanish football. Fernando Torres and Andrés Iniesta played their last games for their respective clubs. Torres said goodbye to his Atlético fans by scoring two goals in the beautiful new home of Los Colchoneros, the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Iniesta received his last homages from Barcelona supporters at the Camp Nou.