1st June 2014

Top Ten World Cup lows from over the years!  

Our nod to the World Cup which kicks off today comes from Emily Cox of Cox Communications and it's entitled 'Playing For Your Life — Top Ten World Cup Lows'. We found it interesting, hopefully you will too.

With World Cup 2014 just underway, nostalgic memories of Italia ’90 and USA ’94 are top of mind for many an Irish supporter as they reflect on the highs the fans from the Emerald Isle will be missing out on this year!

But remember there are also many Lows ahead for the teams that have qualified! 

And to cheer up the Irish fans, online insurance company Low.ie have decided to compile a list of the Top Ten World Cup lows from over the years!
 In no particular order, here they are:

1. 2002: Where’s the ball - coach?! Who could ever forget the split in the Irish nation and the devastation following disagreements in Saipan between Roy Keane and the FAI, and ultimately Mick McCarthy, about not investing in the players and leaving them to fly coach whilst the officials flew business class? Not to mention the missing balls during training! Not for 8 decades had the country been so divided by a Cork man 

2. Italia ‘90: Wetting the player’s head: It’s one of those moments most of us recall in slow motion – the spit from Dutch player Frank Rijkaard’s angry mouth travelling (quite a distance) through the air to land neatly on West German player, Rudi Völler’s long curly hair… did that really happen? Repeat slow motion replays throughout the match, the tournament and in every TV review of Italia ’90 worth its salt, made sure it would go down in history!

3. USA ’94 A Minute Changes Everything…. Another big Low for the Irish as we screamed at the Fourth official to let John Aldridge on in the game against Mexico. Patience may be a virtue – and pernickety rules about procedure on are all very well…. when it’s consistent with all officials across all matches! We were robbed - Aldridge was on top form and scored straight away… if they hadn’t dallied in letting him on, we might just have equalised with Mexico

4. USA ’94 Playing for your life… Still, Aldridgegate pales in comparison to another incident that occurred during the 1994 World Cup. While we were justifiably upset, we knew it was only a game and not a matter of life and death… unlike for poor Colombian player, Andres Escobar, who it turns out may have literally been playing for his life. Apparently a big gambler in his native Colombia lost a lot of money when Escobar scored an own goal against the USA, and he was shot dead just after the 1994 World Cup. Having said that – the rumour has been dismissed by any who say Escobar’s shooting was completely unrelated … made for a great story at the time though!

5. Spain ‘82 A German that breaks ze rules? Is Europe just as open to corruption as other continents? Rumour has it the Germans and the Austrians had a little ‘Herz to Herz’ in advance of the last game of the first round of Group 2. The other teams in the group had already played and simple arithmetic meant that if Germany beat Austria by one goal, both teams would go through – Germany at Algeria’s expense as Algeria had beaten them in the first round. Sceptical onlookers thought it was suspicious that after Germany scored one goal, both teams relaxed and did not appear to make much effort to score any more, contrary to previous performances. As a result of this and similar events, FIFA changed the rules so that the final two games in any group would be played at the same time.

6. Germany ‘06 Don’t insult me Ma! The Italians love their Mammas; but it seems they have no problem when it comes to insulting other nation’s mothers, especially when their second love football is at stake… Turns out the French also possess that fiery Latin temper. With just ten minutes to go in the 2006 World Cup final and Zidane’s last international ever, it all became too much for the French player. Allegedly he could no longer tolerate Materazzi’s repeated insults and violently headbutted the Italian player to the ground, resulting in an instant red card for one of the world’s best players, a move that many believe cost France the cup! 

7. Italia ’90 They call me Mel-LOW Yel-LOW – Yes it was a very LOW Mellow moment for Gazza when England’s best performance in the World Cup in 24 years abruptly ended in a yellow card, robbing him of his last chance to play and possibly win a World Cup final. Like in the case of Zidane, he was on top form and his sending off might just have cost his entire team both the semi-final and the chance to play in… and even win the 1990 World Cup. His lip trembled like a lost little boy as he cried his eyes out

8. Spain ‘82 The Magic Whistle It all got very confusing when members of the Kuwait team stopped playing and France scored a goal. Apparently the Kuwait players had heard a whistle – but the ref hadn’t blown the whistle. When the goal was awarded the Kuwait team walked off the pitch in protest but after a little intervention from a Kuwaiti representative, the French goal was disallowed

9. Mexico ’86 La mano de Dios – the controversial goal Maradona scored with his hand against England in the quarter final, which went unnoticed by the referee, leading to a 2-1 victory for Argentina. At the press conference afterwards Maradona told the media the goal was scored ‘a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God’.

10. South Africa ’10 La main de Dieu – Subtitled “Thierry Robbed Us” – yes we had our very own ‘hand of God moment’ in the 2009 play-offs against France. Another very low moment for the Irish football fans, which eliminated us from the World Cup finals in South Africa. The international sympathy was immense – sure everyone loves the Irish and the the fans’ unwavering support for our team whether they win or lose. No matter how low the Irish World Cup moments have been, you can guarantee that seconds later the sweet sounds of ‘Ole Ole Ole Ole’ will rise in support and before long even our opponents’ fans will be joining in. At Low.ie, we’re supporting Germany… Why? Well guess who manages them…Joachim Löw!


This article oroginally appeared in the Liffey Champion Facebook page