The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of the planet’s most popular game. From a relatively inauspicious start when just 13 countries gathered in Uruguay in 1930 to the 2018 tournament when over 200 countries entered the qualifying stages, the event is now, by some considerable distance, the world’s largest and most important single sporting event. To whet your appetite as the 20th edition of the event in Russia this summer looms large, Sportsvibe takes a look back at its favourite seven World Cup Finals – to save any accusations of bias they appear in strictly date order, starting in 1954 with a match featuring what many experts believe is the best team never to have won the tournament. So take a seat and enjoy Sportsvibe’s seven wonders of the World Cup Final.
1954 – Switzerland
Hungary v West Germany
Hungary had beaten West Germany 8-3 in the Group stages of the 1954 World Cup before fate drew them back together for a memorable final in Berne. The match was an incredible end to end affair with most commentators at the time coming away saying that the best team had lost.
1958 – Sweden
Sweden v Brazil
Brazil had been left heartbroken in 1950 when they failed to win the World Cup in their own country, losing the last game of the one-off Final Pool against Uruguay when a draw would have seen them life the Jules Rimet trophy for the first time. Redemption came eight years later and was provided by the feet and hands of a precocious 17 year old future world superstar – Pele.
1966 – England
England v West Germany
The finest hour for the country that invented the modern game, in the summer of 1966 football came home and as Alf Ramsey bravely predicted on Saturday July 30th 1966 at Wembley Stadium, Bobby Moore received the Jules Rimet Trophy from HM Queen Elizabeth II. The game was as memorable as the occasion with the hosts ultimately having to ‘win the match twice’.
1970 – Mexico
Brazil v Italy
The greatest World Cup Final of all time? History has a way of shining a very intense light on events from the past. Bad things seem even worse, good things seem even better. Maybe that it the case when it comes to the final of the 1970 FIFA World Cup…..or maybe not! Take a look and make your own mind up.
1982 – Spain
Italy v West Germany
The first of the newly extended 24 team tournaments with a second group stage for the first and only time. Espana ’82 was another edition where the pundits will tell you that the best team didn’t win – take a separate look at the Brazilian vintage that included Zico, Socrates and Falcao. But the tournament will forever be remembered for the return from disgrace of Paolo Rossi and the most intense goal celebration ever seen in a FIFA World Cup Final.
France – 1998
France v Brazil
This was the tournament that united a country. France had been torn apart by racial, political and social division throughout the preceeding decade, but a combination of players of every race, of every creed and from every background gelled together during the long hot summer of 1998. All culminating in the unforgettable Sunday night in Paris’s Stade de France. Incroyable…..!
2010 – South Africa
Spain v The Netherlands
Africa’s first FIFA World Cup. Wonderful colour, wonderful atmosphere…….but oh those awful vuvuzelas!! The tournament confirmed Spain’s position as the new superpower of world football, but the final will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Many have blamed English referee for letting the game get out of control, but in reality, the Dutch team, previously known for their beautiful ‘Total Football’ was a little short of a disgrace. They came with no intention of playing and the football world breathed a collective sigh of relief as Los Roja became only the eighth nation to become crowned FIFA World Champions.