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2-min read

FIFA World Cup history: The beautiful game has had its ugly moments

Be it France legend Zidane's infamous 'headbutt' or Nigel de Jong's lunge on Xabi Alonso, the beautiful game has had its share of ugly moments.

Puja Menon | IBNLive Sports

Updated:July 7, 2014, 4:01 PM IST
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FIFA World Cup history: The beautiful game has had its ugly moments
Be it France legend Zidane's infamous 'headbutt' or Nigel de Jong's lunge on Xabi Alonso, the beautiful game has had its share of ugly moments.

The whole world felt the agony when Brazil star Neymar was stretchered out of the ground after a ghastly foul by Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga in the quarter-final of FIFA 2014, which left the 22-year-old with a broken vertebra, while ending his World Cup and putting Brazil's chances of another world cup glory in jeopardy.

Be it France legend Zinedine Zidane's infamous 'headbutt' on Italy's Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final or Dutch Midfielder Nigel de Jong's lunge on Spain's Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final, the beautiful game has had some of its most ugliest moments at the biggest stage.

Carrying expectations of the millions, players in pursuit of sporting glory have at times resorted to desperate measures that has left a dark spot on world's most followed game.

The Brazil versus Colombia quarter-final was brutal from the very beginning, witnessing an incredible 54 fouls. With Brazil mourning Neymar's unfortunate departure from the World Cup, Neymar had difficulties fighting off his tears as he addressed his countrymen and team-mates asking them to complete their quest for a sixth world title.

The pressure to succeed and compete at the top level has often led to players adopting brutal tackles, crossing the line at times.

When Uruguay took on Scotland in the 1986 World Cup group stage, it didn't take long for the horrible challenges to fly in as Uruguay defender Jose Batista made a nightmarish tackle on Scottish player Gordon Strachan within the opening minute, which resulted in Batista's exit from the tournament.

During the 1966 World Cup, the Portuguese team attacked Brazilian star Pele as a pack of wolves with Joao Morais hacking the legend twice in rapid succession. Due to the brutality of those tackles, Pele was so seriously hurt that he had to play the rest of the game on virtually one leg.

One of the most blatant and gruesome red cards in World Cup history came along when Ramos suffered a skull fracture in this 1994 World Cup game after the Brazilian Leonardo swung his elbow into his head.

Comparatively, one of the rarest tackle is allegedly said to have directly contributed to the death of a footballer when Bosnia's Muhamed Mujic's threw in a challenge on Russia's Eduard Dubinski. As a result of the collision, Dubinski developed a rare form of cancer and died seven years later at the age of 34.

Identical examples of reckless violence were in the case of Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher flying into France's Patrick Battiston in the 1982 semi-final, an event that left the defender comatose.

Glimpses of shocking football have been witnessed in FIFA 2014 as well, as the Uruguay striker Luis Suarez bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, inviting a ban of 9 matches for the Liverpool striker.

Notwithstanding its ugly side, football remains the biggest rage among all sports, though it can do without such incidents that tarnish its image of 'The Beautiful Game'.

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