Ultimate adrenaline-rushers

Ultimate adrenaline-rushers

Consider the following statistic: No goalkeeper from either side was able to keep a clean sheet in the first 13 Finals (1930-1986). However, since Italia 1990, six goalkeepers have been able to keep cleansheets. 

This in itself explains to an extent why the modern World Cups are not as enjoyable -- more importance is placed on results, and carefree has been replaced by careful. It's then not a surprise that some of the best matches played in the history of the Finals, came from a bygone era.
Italy vs West Germany, 1970

If this was a broadway game, they would still be playing it to a packed audience 34 years on. Five goals were scored after the beginning of extra-time, Germany's Franz Beckenbauer played on with a broken clavicle while Gianni Rivera scored the game's winning goal in the 111th minute even as television channels were showing replays of Gerd Muller equalising for Germany a minute earlier. 

The Estadio Azteca, where the match was played, has a commemorative plaque on the match: "The Azteca Stadium pays homage to the National Teams of Italy (4) and Germany (3), who starred in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, the "Game of the Century".
Brazil vs Italy, 1982

The equation was simple. The team that earnt its bread by the art of catenaccio needed a victory to advance to the last four. The team that lived and died by joga bonito needed only a point to advance. 

Italy’s biggest hope was Paolo Rossi. But he was on comeback trail after getting suspended for two years for his involvement in the Totonero betting scandal. Rossi’s last goal for the Azzurris had come 1,118 days previously. 

After Rossi had put the Azzurris in front, Zico and Socrates combined for Brazil’s leveller. Rossi again put the Italians in front before Falcao cancelled out his effort. But Rossi did have his match ball when he scored again to send Italy through to the semis. 
Hungary vs Uruguay, 1954

Even sixty years after, this edition of the World Cup is still the one with the most number of goals scored per match. Both Hungary and Uruguay came into the match with after-effects from the quarterfinals - Hungary, though they did beat Brazil 4-2, lost Ferenc Puskas to injury in the match that went down in history as the 'Battle of Bern." Uruguay, the defending champions, lost their captain Obdulio Varela.  Hungary, who had scored six goals in the first 20 minutes of matches in that tournament, stayed true to form with Zoltan Czibor opening the scoring in the 13th minute. Nandor Hidekuti multiplied the lead but a strong Uruguay came back to equalise before Sandor Kocsis scored twice in extra time, ensuring the match a permanent place in the folklore. 
Uruguay vs Brazil, 1950 

"When Ghiggia scored," wrote the Uruguayan poet Eduardo Galeano, "the silence in the Maracana was defeaning, the most raucous silence in the history of soccer."Maracana, the biggest stadium in the world, were owerflowing with Brazilians, some say more than 200,000. All had expected to witness a Brazilian victory which would have meant them becoming World Champions for the first time. 

They were on course too. Friaca had given them lead but second-half goals from Juan Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia silenced one of the biggest ever crowds that had come to witness a game of football. 

West Germany vs France, 1982

The match once again established Germany's indefatigable nature. They looked down and out when they were trailing 1-3 after just eight minutes of extra time but goals from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Klaus Fischer took the match to a penalty shoot out - the first in the history of the World Cup. Germany and penalties. You know the rest, don't you? 

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