Often finals can be a disappointment. Teams can be scared of making the mistake that costs them victory, have peaked too soon or just bottle it. Thankfully, the vast majority of the 18 World Cup Finals played so far have had more than their fair share drama, intrigue and classic football. Read about our favourites here…
A clip from our favourite, the Fateful Final of 1950.
England have a spectacular knack of putting their fans through an emotional World Cup mixer every four years (if they qualify) more so than any other nation. Hell, we even managed to write a whole book on it. Click here in shamless plug action:
Here’s a run through of some of the most memorable Three Lions matches from the World Cup in chronological order. Click on the links for the full stories and clips of the match action.
June 29th 1950 - The Miracle on Grass, as the USA hand England perhaps the most humiliating loss in their history. Expect to hear this game mentioned one or two times before the sides face off again this weekend in Rustenburg.
July 2nd 1950 – England go crashing out of their first World Cup, probably wishing they hadn’t bothered with it all.
June 10th 1962 – England lose to a Garrincha-inspired Brazil in a match more fondly remembered (by us at least) for Jimmy Greaves playing Pet Rescue with a stray dog.
June 7th 1970 – Classic Brazil versus England in a game that had just about everything. Apart from an England win, obviously.
June 14th 1970 - West Germany get their revenge for 1966, as the Three Lions blow a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes remaining in their quarter-final.
June 16th 1982 - After twelve years in the World Cup wilderness England roar back, scoring after just 27 seconds in their ’82 opener against France, with Bryan Robson remarkably managing to stay fit long enough to score the early opener.
June 26th 1990 – David Platt’s 119th-minute volley remains my favourite ever England goal. As an over-excited eight-year-old, for me it didn’t get any better than this wonder goal against Belgium in the second round of Italia ’90.
July 1st 1990 - More Italia ’90 goodness, as England end Cameroon’s fantastic tournament in the quarter-finals.
July 4th 1990 – Germans! Penalties! Goal off Paul Parker’s backside! Gazza’s tears! Argh!
July 7th 1990 – England’s most capped player Peter Shilton and manager Bobby Robson bow out in the Italia ’90 3rd/4th place game against Italy.
June 30th 1998 – On of the most epic England games of recent years, as Argentina break English hearts in St Etienne.
June 7th 2002 – Redemption day for Beckham, as his winning penalty banishes the demons of his red card against Argentina in ’98.
June 15th 2002 – England set up a quarter-final clash with Brazil and the nation starts to believe.
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about that sunny day in 1966. Join us tomorrow for our favourite World Cup Finals.
We’ve had a trawl through the OTFD archives to bring your some of our favourite World Cup games. We’ve got some of the greatest teams, the biggest upsets and most bitter rivals from the first ever game. Click on the dates for a link to the full stories. Coming later this week: England’s greatest ever games and the best ever Finals.
July 13th 1930 - The first ever World Cup games as France beat Mexico and the USA take on Belgium.
Footage from the first ever World Cup.
June 19th 1958 – Pele announces his arrival to send John Charles and Wales home.
July 19th 1966 - The greatest ever World Cup upset? North Korea shock Italy.
June 17th 1970 – The ‘game of the century’ as Italy and West Germany contest an epic semi-final.
June 11th 1978 – Archie Gemmill scores Mark Renton’s favourite ever goal.
July 5th 1982 – Paulo Rossi silences the naysayers in one of the greatest personal comebacks since Lazarus.
July 8th 1982 – Harald Schumacher commits the worst foul ever as West Germany and France clash in the semi-finals.
June 25th 1986 – Days after scoring perhaps the greatest ever World Cup goal against England, Diego Maradona does it again against Belgium. Also on that day in 1990 David O’Leary blasts home from the penalty spot against Romania.
June 8th 1990 - The greatest ever upset part two? The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, led by Roger Milla, aged 84, stun World Champions Argentina in the Italia ’90 opener.
June 24th 1990 – Forget the Anglo-German rivalry, the Dutch really hate Die Mannschaft.Frank Rijkaard in particular, as he gobs into Rudi Voller’s horrific perm.
June 23rd 1998 – Believe it or not, in the olden days Scotland used to qualify for the World Cup, but never troubled the knockout stages. Here’s the story of their last World Cup match when Morocco sent home.
June 12th 2002 – Sweden sent pre-tournament favourites Argentina crashing out in the group stage.
This is by no means anywhere near an exhaustive list, so let us know your favourite World Cup matches below.
It’s nearly time. You can’t open a newspaper or turn a television on without being deluged with World Cup fever, so we thought we’d better jump on the bandwagon and trawl through the On This Football Day archives to bring you some of our favourite World Cup stories.
Coming this week we’ll bring you the most captivating games, the best Finals, the most controversial moments and a greatest hits of England’s efforts on the world stage.
In the meantime all you England fans can order our latest book, England On This Day, a day-by-day history of the Three Lions: