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In Focus: The five most memorable World Cup games
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Toby Rathborne
Toni Kroos netted a brace in Germany's stunning 7-1 win against Brazil in 2014
Toni Kroos netted a brace in Germany's stunning 7-1 win against Brazil in 2014

As Qatar 2022 draws ever closer, excitement is building for the tournament that has provided the stage for some of the greatest matches in football history.

Spectacular goals, dramatic red cards, shocking scorelines — the 92-year-old competition has seen them all. 

Ahead of this year's global showpiece, LiveScore picks out the five greatest World Cup matches to have ever been played.

5. Semi-final, 2014: Brazil 1-7 Germany

The 2014 World Cup saw Brazil host the event for a second time after their previous disappointment in 1950, when they lost to South American rivals Uruguay in the final. 

This heavyweight semi-final clash was expected to be a close encounter, with both sides yet to lose a game at the tournament. 

Instead, Brazil suffered their most emphatic defeat for nearly a century. Germany scored five goals in the first 29 minutes before Andre Schurrle netted another two to add to the Selecao's humiliation. 

The hosts were completely dominated in their own backyard with the entire nation watching — truly one of the most shocking spectacles football has ever seen.

Germany captain Philipp Lahm comforts Brazil's Oscar after the game
Germany captain Philipp Lahm comforts Brazil's Oscar after the game

4. Semi-final, 1970: Italy 4-3 West Germany (aet)

In the first World Cup hosted outside of Europe or South America, Italy and West Germany produced one of the tournament's most explosive encounters in Mexico. 

Roberto Boninsegna scored early to give the Italians the lead for most of the match until defender Karl-Heinz Schnellinger equalised in the 92nd minute to force extra-time, where the game burst into life. 

First, Gerd Muller put West Germany in front, only for Tarcisio Burgnich to level the scores just four minutes later. 

Gigi Riva's stunning strike handed Italy the lead again — but the Germans responded once more with Muller's header restoring parity for a third time. 

Moments later, Gianni Rivera connected with Boninsegna's cross to net what would prove to be the winner. 

In commemoration of the match, a plaque outside the Estadio Azteca reads Partido Del Siglo (Game of the Century) to mark its deserved place in World Cup history.

3. Quarter-final, 1986: Argentina 2-1 England

Diego Maradona celebrates during Argentina's 2-1 win over England
Diego Maradona celebrates during Argentina's 2-1 win over England

This 1986 quarter-final produced one of the most stunning and polarising individual performances in World Cup history from Argentina's Diego Maradona. 

Six minutes into the second half, with the scoreline still 0-0, 5ft 5in Maradona launched himself into the air and beat goalkeeper Peter Shilton to the ball with his hand to score the opening goal infamously dubbed the Hand of God. 

Four minutes later, Maradona received the ball in his own half, drifted past five England defenders and side-stepped Shilton's outstretched arm to score a second in what was later referred to as the Goal of the Century. 

Argentina won the match 2-1 and would go on to taste World Cup glory — but this game stood out as the highlight following one of the greatest and most controversial encounters the World Cup has ever seen.

2. Final, 1954: West Germany 3-2 Hungary

The World Cup has seen plenty of upsets in its time but this final in Switzerland — dubbed the Miracle of Bern — trumps the lot. 

Hungary had been labelled the Golden Team for good reason, having gone 31 matches unbeaten over a span of five years. 

They boasted top professionals like Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis and Nandor Hidegkuti, while West Germany were a semi-professional side. 

The favourites raced into an early lead, with goals from Puskas and Zoltan Czibor inside the first eight minutes. 

It looked as though Hungary might beat their German counterparts by a humbling scoreline but just 10 minutes later, the underdogs were level. 

Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn were the scorers for West Germany, shocking their illustrious opposition. 

A stunned Hungary were unable to reclaim their lead and with six minutes remaining, Rahn completed the unlikeliest of comebacks to earn West Germany their first World Cup title.

1. Final, 1970: Brazil 4-1 Italy

The 1970 World Cup saw two former world champions face off in the final for the first time in the tournament’s history as Brazil took on Italy. 

The Selecao boasted a particularly star-studded side, boasting the talents of Pele, Tostao and Carlos Alberto, among others — and they won in a dazzling display of style. 

Pele opened the scoring by heading in from Rivellino's cross, before Boninsegna capitalised on a defensive miscue from the Selecao to equalise for Italy. 

Gerson thumped a powerful strike into the corner to give Brazil their lead back before creating his side’s third by launching a long pass to Pele, who headed the ball into the path of Jairzinho to finish. 

Carlos Alberto wrapped up the tie, hammering home a fourth after a flowing move involving seven of Brazil's outfield players. 

Coach Mario Zagallo became the first footballer to win the tournament as a player and manager, while Pele became a three-time World Cup winner — a record that still stands today.


World CupEnglandBrazilGermanyArgentinaHungaryItaly
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