Original Stories from Past Semi-Finals

A player’s shorts fell off as he was about to take a penalty

A president asked someone to be able to play the final

Gascoigne, Thuram, Ronaldo and Cannavaro all made headlines in the semi-finals

France 1938

Italy beat Brazil 2-1 to reach the deciding point, with Giuseppe Meazza scoring the winner from the spot. His nerve wasn’t the only thing ‘Il Balilla’ (The Little Boy) had to remember. As Meazza prepared to take the penalty, the elastic in his shorts, which had been torn earlier in the game, broke. The Inter Milan man duly held them with one hand as he stroked the ball past penalty shootout specialist Walter.

Chile 1962

Garrincha should have been public enemy number one in Santiago. The ungovernable winger tormented opponents throughout with his mesmerizing comic book tricks, scored twice, set up another and was sent off as Brazil beat the hosts 4-2. Yet Chileans returned home loving rather than hating “the joy of the people.” When they found out his red card would leave him suspended for the final, a public outcry ensued. No less than Chilean President Jorge Alessandri consequently led a petition to allow Garrincha to perform in the final. It was ultimately a success – a verdict Czechoslovakia would regret.

Spain 1982

Toni Schumacher charged from his goal and rammed maniacally into Patrick Battiston. The French No.3, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes, broke two teeth, cracked three ribs and damaged a vertebra, but the West German No.1 went unpunished . To increase the French fury, Schumacher, showing contempt for his stricken opponent, acted impatiently as Battiston was treated for several minutes before being stretched out. Schumacher then saved penalty kicks from Didier Six and Maxime Bossis in the shootout as West Germany reached the Bernabeu final.

Italy 1990

The nation that carried ‘Beatlemania’ was grappling with ‘Gazzamania’. Paul Gascoigne had been electrifying, inspiring the Three Lions to the semi-finals for the first time in 24 years. When he received the yellow card in the 98th minute against West Germany, realizing he would miss the final if England went through, ‘Gazza’ burst into tears. “When I was young and playing in my youth club, I dreamed every night of playing football in the World Cup. I lived this dream in Italy. When I was shown the yellow card, I I knew it was over.” My heart knocked my shoes,” added England manager Bobby Robson. “Because I realized instantly it was the final for Paul Gascoigne, out. a tragedy – for him, me, the team, the country, all of football. Because he was so good and he looked superb in that particular game. The incident nevertheless skyrocketed the popularity of Gascoigne. “Before Paul Gascoigne, did anyone ever become a national hero and a millionaire dead-cert by crying?” writes L’Indépendant. “Fabulous. Weep and the world weeps with you.

France 1998

Lilian Thuram has scored in just one of his 142 appearances for France – and surprisingly the man who was on his way to scoring just one goal in 11 seasons in all club competitions has netted twice! The right-back has certainly picked a perfect moment to pose as a sniper. Thuram scored once with his right foot and once with his left to give the Blues a 2-1 win over Croatia. “My mom was in the stands,” Thuram said. “They told her her son had scored the first goal – she couldn’t understand it. When they told her I had scored again, she fainted. I’m not kidding.” Curiously, when France faced Paraguay in the round of 16, the bookmakers offered Thuram odds of 40/1 to score anytime – more than six and a half times higher than the opposing goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert (6/1).

Korea/Japan 2002

“Everyone kept talking about my leg injury, wondering if I could play in the semi-finals,” Ronaldo recalled days after limping after a quarter-final win over England. “I was sick of hearing about it. So I cut my hair like that, I asked my teammates what they thought, and they said, ‘That’s horrible! You can’t not keep it like that. “I thought, ‘It might work’. Sure enough, the reporters immediately forgot about my injury. All they could ask for was my hair. I could relax. Get rid of the clips from reserve keeper Dida, Ronaldo scored the only goal against Turkey to send Brazil through to the final. “It was awful!” he later admitted. “I apologize to all the mothers who saw their sons with the same hairstyle.

Germany 2006

Fabio Cannavaro could have, in terms of height, probably pursued a career as the next Frankie Dettori. Per Mertesacker, aka ‘BFG’, wouldn’t have looked out of place next to Dirk Nowitzki on a basketball court. However, on the grass of the Westfalenstadion, the logic was denied. Cannavaro overcame a 22 centimeter height difference to earn a header against Mertesacker in stoppage time. The Neapolitan then made a career out of his own clearance, bravely flicking the ball away from Lukas Podolski to launch an Italian counterattack, which ended with Alessandro Del Piero scoring the final goal in a World Cup game and sealing the passage from the Nazionale to the final. .

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *