5 shocking moments in the history of football

5 shocking moments in the history of football
Photo: LS

Some moments perfectly capture the ups and downs of the feelings football fans experience and make us fall in love with the game all over again. No other sport can truly elicit such a wide range of feelings from its followers at every turn of the clock. The game's capacity to change tears into joy and vice versa at each move is what makes these moments historical. 

Here are 5 iconic moments in football history. 

Diego Maradona's 'Hand of 'God' goal

This is one moment that almost everyone has heard of even if they are not a football fan. About 36 years ago, in Mexico, Diego Maradona stunned the entire world with his act of audacious sportsmanship and breath-taking skill. Six minutes into the second half of Argentina versus England's 1986 World Cup quarter-final, Maradona scored by punching the ball over England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and into the net. Maradona later credited the 'Hand of God' for the goal, giving this moment its name.

This goal is so iconic and infamous today that the ball used in the 'Hand of God' was auctioned off in the United Kingdom in November 2022 by the referee from the match, Tunisian Ali Bin Nasser. The eventual hammer price was a staggering $2.4 million!

While the goal is controversial and Maradona's personality has been scrutinised from time to time, there is no denying the 'Hand of God' from the recognition it deserves in history pages. 

The Manchester United Team boarding their ill-fated flight

The plane carrying the 1958 Manchester United all-star squad known as "The Busby Babes" crashed in Munich, killing nearly all of the players. They were renamed 'Flowers of Manchester' after the tragic incident. 

In 1958, Europe's Manchester United had a young team stirring excitement across the continent. The team was filled with youthful exuberance and taking the football game by storm. The crash came just when the team was going into its most exciting stage and the players were at the peak of their careers. 

The players, journalists, fans, and staff were all on United's jet returning home from a European Cup quarterfinal in Belgrade. They boarded the aircraft thrice on the final leg of the journey because the first two attempted take-offs failed. In its third attempt and with everyone on board, the aircraft struggled to take off because of the accumulation of slush on the runway. The United dream and a number of the Busby's Babes perished as the jet plunged through the airport's outer gate and into a neighbouring house. 

The phrase "The Flowers of Manchester" was coined in the folk song performed by the group The Spinners in 1962, referring to those who died. 

Andres Escobar's death 

In 1994, drug lords controlled Colombia. At the 1994 World Cup Escobar scored an own goal in the match against the United States, which contributed to the team's elimination from the tournament. On 2 July 1994, Escobar was murdered, reportedly as retaliation for having scored the own goal. Andres Escobar had ironically said in an interview following the World Cup defeat, "Life doesn't end here."

FC Start at The Death Match of 1942

This chapter in history is a little dark. With World War II raging across the borders, Major General Eberhardt of Germany had the idea of arranging a football match to placate the people of Kiev. With the Nazi-sponsored German national team, Falkelf and a team of former football players from Ukraine who were now prisoners of war, the FC Start. The 1952 Death Match had more political affiliations than any other football match in history. The fact that these underfed convicts continued to pummel Flakelf in every match and rematch was severe damage to the Nazi reputation.

Zidane headbutting Marco Materazzi at the 2006 World Cup

Zinedine Zidane will always be regarded as one of the all-time greats of the game, but his final match in the most successful of careers was tainted by a red card while playing for France against Italy in the 2006 World Cup final. After headbutting Marco Materazzi on the field at the age of 34, the legendary Juventus and Real Madrid player announced his retirement.

This moment is quite controversial. However, it is an example of trash talk being taken a little too far and emotions getting in the way. Upon replaying footgates, the two players were seen to be talking and at the time, there were rumours that Materazzi had said something disparaging about Zidane's mother. However, he consistently denied these claims and, in an effort to clear his name, won a libel case against the British media in 2009. It was in 2020 that Materazzi added more insight into what had transpired between the two and it was likely that a comment about Zidane's sister had set him off.