Four days away from the end of the 19th FIFA World Cup and Spain/Netherlands winning their first World Cup, we take a stroll through history lane and check out the previous World Cup Final matches from 1930 to 2006.
1930 – Uruguay vs Argentina
The first ever World Cup saw a repeat of the 1928 Olympics Final. The most memorable thing about this match is the argument over what ball to use, leading to the King Solomon type of decision – each half will be played with a different ball. Argentina provided one in the first half, and led 2-1 after 45 minutes (Carlos Peucelle, Guillermo Stabile). Uruguay provided the ball for the second half, and scored three goals through Pedro Cea, Santos Iriarte and Hector Castro. Both teams played in the (then) traditional 2-3-5 formation. 100 Years old Francisco Varallo of Argentina is the only player from the final who is still alive.
1934 – Italy vs Czechoslovakia
Vittorio Pozzo led Italy, hosting the World Cup, to the first of their back to back trophies, beating Czechoslovakia, despite the Czech’s taking the lead through Antonin Puc late in the match (76th minute). Raimundo Orsi equalized five minutes later and Angelo Schiavio of Bolonga scored the winning goal in extra time.
1938 – Italy vs Hungary
France hosted the last tournament before World War II, and Italy became the first nation to win multiple World Cups and consecutively as well. Gino Colaussi and Silvio Piola each scored two goals as Italy beat Hungary 4-2.
1950 – Brazil vs Uruguay
First of all, this wasn’t actually a final. The first World Cup after 12 years had a Finals group, with the Uruguay Brazil match, played at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, packed with 175,000-200,000 fans, who really knows, turning out to be the decider. Brazil only needed a draw to clinch their first World Cup trophy, but shattered the heart of a nation, losing 2-1, despite scoring first through Friaca in the 47th minute. Juan Alberto Schiaffino put Uruguay level, and Alcides Ghiggia ruined the home nation’s celebration plans with his 79th minute goal, making Uruguay two time World Champions. Brazil had to wait for a kid named Pele so they can taste World Cup glory.
1954 – West Germany vs Hungary
The “Miracle of Bern”. Switzerland hosted the first World Cup on European soil since World War II, with Hungary’s Mighty Magyars favored to win the trophy. They destroyed West Germany in the group stage, beating them 8-3.
Hungary were 2-0 up after eight minutes in the final, with Ferenc Puskas and Zoltan Czibor scoring. Two minutes later, the West Germans were back in the game after a Max Morlock goal. Eight minutes later – Helmut Rahn, legend in the making, made it 2-2. Hungary dominated the match but Germany’s Toni Turek stopped everything thrown his way. In the 84th minute, Helmut Rahn scored the winner for West Germany, that had a huge impact on the nation, sending it into euphoria for the first time since World War II.
1958 – Sweden vs Brazil
Pele arrived, and Brazil had its first World Cup trophy. Sweden hosted the tournament and made the final match that took place at the Rasunda Stadium in Solna. Sweden scored first, as runner ups tend to do, with AC Milan’s Nils Liedholm, the Swedish captain, making it 1-0 after 4 minutes. The next time Sweden scored was late in the second half, with Brazil already leading 4-1. Two goals by Vava, one by Pele and one by future Brazil coach Mario Zagallo preceded Ange Simonsson’s goal. Pele added his second goal in the 90th minute, and a legend was born. This is still the highest scoring final in World Cup history and Brazil are the only team to score five goals in a World Cup final.
1962 – Brazil vs Czechoslovakia
Pele was injured when Brazil and Czechoslovakia met during the group stage, drawing 0-0. His replacement, Amarildo, was more than enough. Garrincha himself was pretty much enough. Brazil, like four years earlier, conceded first, with Josef Masopust, maybe the greatest Czech player of all time, scoring after 15 minutes. Two minutes later, Amarildo made it 1-1. Zito and Vava (same one from before) made it 3-1, the final score, Brazil’s second World Cup.
1966 – England vs West Germany
Famous for three things – Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick, Geoff Hurst scoring the most controversial approved goal in World Cup history and England actually winning something.
England hosted the tournament, and made their way to the finals after conceding only once in their first five matches. The West Germany side, with a young Franz Beckenbauer boasted an explosive offense, crushing Uruguay 4-0 in the quarter finals and beating the Soviet Union 2-1 in the Semi Final.
The Final was also a high scoring affair, with both teams level after 90 minutes, 2-2. Helmut Haller put West Germany in front after 12 minutes, but Geoff Hurst equalized six minutes later. Martin Peters scored what appeared to be the winning goal 12 minutes from time, but Wolfgang Weber sent the match into extra time with an 89th minute goal.
101 – Geoff Hurst’s shot hit the crossbar, dropped down to the line and bounced out. The linesman told the referee it crossed the line. To this date, it’s unclear if it was a goal or not. Hurst added another one in the 120th minute, as England came out 4-2 winners.
1970 – Brazil vs Italy
Two legendary squads, and maybe the greatest Brazil side ever. Maybe the best national side ever. Pele won his third World Cup, the only player to win three. Mario Zagallo, the coach, became the first to win the World Cup as a player and a coach. Pele scored first, Roberto Boninsegna equalized, but Italy didn’t show up for the second half, and Gerson, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto made it 4-1 in what is also regarded as the best final ever.
Brazil became the first three time champions, earning the right to retain the Jules Rimet trophy permanently.
1974 – West Germany vs Netherlands
Cruyff vs Beckenbauer, “Total-Football” against German efficiency. Johan Neeskens put the Netherlands up after only 2 minutes, but by the end of the first half, the home team was winning, a lead the kept till the end of the match. Paul Breitner equalized in the 25th minute, and Gerd Muller scored the winning goal two minutes before the half time whistle.
1978 – Argentina vs Netherlands
The Dutch made their second consecutive World Cup Final, this time without Johan Cruyff, and again had to face the hosts, Argentina. The Dutch were managed by an Austrian, Ernst Happel, known for his short motivational pitch “Gentlemen, two points”. Mario Kempes scored first for Argentina but substitute Dick Nanninga made it 1-1 after 82 minutes, sending the game into extra time. Mario Kempes and Daniel Bertoni were there go give Argentina the 3-1 win and their first World Cup, in a tournament tainted by allegations of fixes (Argentina’s win over Peru) and a Final in which Argentina employed some-not-so-sportsman like tactics.
1982 – Italy vs West Germany
Paul Breitner scored again for West Germany in the final, but this time his goal came after Italy were already 3-0 ahead. Spain hosted the tournament but didn’t make it out of the second round group stage. Italy scored through Golden Boot winner Paolo Rossi, Marco Tardelli and Alessandro Altobelli, becoming the second nation to win three World Cups.
1986 – Argentina vs West Germany
Diego Maradona’s moment of bliss – he carried a mediocre Argentina squad on his back, carving his way into the history books. He didn’t score in the final, held at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, but was inspirational in their 3-2 win over West Germany. Argentina scored first through Jose Luis Brown and Jorge Valdano made it 2-0 in the second half. West Germany made an impressive comeback, scoring twice in six minutes through Karl Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller. Jorge Burruchaga scored the winner in the 83rd minute, giving Argentina its second World Cup in eight years.
1990 – West Germany vs Argentina
Italy, Stadio Olimpico, Rome – The worst World Cup tournament ended in one of the worst finals’ matches. West Germany made a final appearance separated from East Germany, and won the World Cup for the third time through Andreas Brheme’s penalty kick. There quite a few firsts in this final – This was the first time a European side beat a South American side in the World Cup Final match. It was the first time a team didn’t score in the final, and it was the first time a player (actually two Argentinians) got sent off in the final.
1994 – Brazil vs Italy
We said 1990 had the worst Final? Brazil and Italy beat that final, becoming the first teams to reach a penalty shoot out in a World Cup final after 120 scoreless minutes. Both teams missed their first penalties (Franco Baresi, Marcio Santos) and converted the next two (Demetrio Albertini, Romario, Alberigo Evani, Branco). AC Milan’s Daniele Massaro missed Italy’s fourth penalty and Dunga, yes, Dunga, gave Brazil a 3-2 edge. Roberto Baggio, who carried Italy through the knockout stages and was arguably the best in the world back then, missed, sending the ball flying high, and giving Brazil their fourth World Cup trophy and the neutral fans a chance to smile, thanking Baggio for ending the hellish match.
1998 – France vs Brazil
France hosted the World Cup for the second time, and looked convincing from the first moment, while Brazil, built with a mixture of 1994 heroes and a younger generation were still favored to win their fifth World Cup. Ronaldo played in the final, but it wasn’t really him. Whatever happened in the dressing room before the match, France came out confident and strong, with Zinadine Zidane scoring two almost identical goals, heading in in-swinging corners. France lost Marcel Desailly to a red card but that didn’t stop them from making it 3-0 in the closing minutes, scored by Emmanuel Petit.
2002 – Brazil vs Germany
Ronaldo’s redemption – Germany surprised many by making the final, for the first time as unified nation, while Brazil, well, they are always expected to make the finals, but weren’t very impressive on the way through. They got Ronaldinho back from suspension for the final, while Germany didn’t have Ballack, suspended for yellow cards, who scored the winner for them in the Semi Final against South Korea. Ronaldo scored two goals in the second half after Germany were the team to get the better chances, and Brazil won their fifth World Cup, still a World Cup best.
2006 – Italy vs France
Like the 1994 Final, won’t be remembered for the high quality of soccer demonstrated (there wasn’t any) but Zidane headbutting Marco Materazzi in his final match after the Italian called Zidane’s sister a whore (Exact quote : I prefer the whore that is your sister). I also remember the brawl the followed between Italians and French fans in the Panama bar I was watching the game in. Ironically, both players were the scorers in regulation. Zidane scored the opener after 7 minutes, successfully converting a penalty kick. Materazzi scored 12 minutes later. Italy scored all five penalties, while France’s David Trezeguet missed his shot, and after Fabio Grosso scored Italy’s fifth penalty, there was no need for a fifth French one. Italy were World champions for a fourth time, mostly due to an unbeatable defense and goalkeeper.