Bill Shankly once famously said that football is more than just a matter of life and death. Such is the level of passion involved that the players often give more than their life on the pitch. Sometimes passion takes an ugly turn, when players resort to foul-play to win the match. This is when referees come handy. The referees are as important as the players. Imagine a match without a referee…you could see players kicking the shit out of opponents a la Nigel DeJong! Check out these World Cup finals where it rained cards!
2010 Final: Spain vs Holland
Spain was like a flowing river while Holland a rigid mountain. Ref Howard Webb brandished a record 12 yellow cards. 8 to Holland and 5 to Spain. Here 2 yellows culminated in a red for John Heitinga of Holland. Robben, Heitinga, Van Der Wiel, Mathijsen, Van Bronckhorst, Van Bommel, De Jong, Van Persie, Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Capdevila, Xavi and Iniesta all managed to get their names written in the referee’s book. Final score: Spain 1-0 Holland.
1986 Final: Argentina vs West Germany
This match saw the referee Romualdo Filho dish out 6 yellow cards, a record until the 2010 WC Final. 4 cards to Argentina and 2 to German players. A topsy turvy affair, Jorge Burruchaga’s winner meant Argentina lifted their second World Cup. Final score: Arg 3- 2 West Germany.
1990 Final: West Germany vs Argentina
The first World Cup final in which players were sent off. A dubious distinction indeed! The match was refereed by Edgardo Codesa of Mexico. Argentina’s Pedro Monzon was shown a straight red card and Gustavo Dezotti was sent off in 87th minute after a second yellow card. Maradona, Troglio and Rudi Voeller were shown yellow cards. It was Germany’s chance to take revenge and they came out victors. Final score: West Germany 1- 0 Argentina.
1998 Final: Brazil vs France
A match were Zenedine Zidane’s head won the cup for France,scoring two headed goals! France defender Marcel Desailly was sent off in the 68th minute after referee Said Belqola produced him a second yellow card. Didier Deschamps and Christian Karembeu outplayed the Brazilian midfield but it came at the cost of yellow cards for both. Junior Baiano of Brazil was shown a yellow too.
Final Score: Brazil 0-3 France.
2006 Final: Italy vs France
The match where Zidane turned out to become the villain. Referee Horacio gave a direct red and thus marching order to Zidane after the latter head-butted Italy defender Marco Matterazzi while extra time was being played. This evidently slowed down slowed down France’s play and took the match to penalty shootout. Other players shown yellow were: G Zambrotta of Italy, Sagnol, Makelele and Malouda of France. Final Score Italy 1- 1 France. Italy won on penalties.
The World Cup Finals from 1930 to 1966 saw not a single card being shown! Bizzare, isn’t it?