5. Harald Schumacher – 1982 World Cup
In the 1982 World Cup semi-final between West Germany and France, German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher committed one of the most shocking fouls in World Cup history. In the 57th minute, French player Patrick Battiston broke through the German defense and raced towards goal. As he approached the ball, Schumacher came charging out of his goal and launched himself into Battiston, knocking him unconscious and breaking several of his teeth. The referee failed to show Schumacher a red card, and the match went on to extra time before West Germany eventually won on penalties. The incident remains one of the most controversial in World Cup history, and Schumacher’s tackle is often cited.
4. David Beckham – 1998 World Cup
In the 1998 World Cup match between England and Argentina, David Beckham was sent off in the 47th minute for a petulant kick at Argentine midfielder Diego Simeone. The incident occurred after Simeone had fouled Beckham, and the English midfielder lashed out in frustration. Beckham’s red card proved costly, as England went on to lose the match on penalties. The incident earned Beckham widespread criticism from fans and the media, but he would go on to redeem himself in later World Cups.
3. Diego Maradona – 1982 World Cup
Diego Maradona is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but his career was not without controversy. In the 1982 World Cup, Maradona was sent off in Argentina’s second group stage match against Brazil for a brutal tackle on Brazilian player Batista. The tackle was so bad that it left Batista writhing on the ground in pain, and Maradona was shown a straight red card. Argentina went on to lose the match 3-1, and Maradona’s moment of madness remains one of the most shocking red card moments in World Cup history.
2. Nigel de Jong – 2010 World Cup Final
In the 2010 World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain, Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong committed one of the most shocking tackles ever seen in a World Cup match. In the 28th minute, de Jong flew into a challenge on Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso, raising his foot and planting it straight into Alonso’s chest. The referee immediately showed de Jong a red card, but the damage had already been done. The Netherlands went on to lose the match 1-0, and de Jong’s reckless tackle has been widely criticized as one of the dirtiest in World Cup history.
1. Zinedine Zidane – 2006 World Cup Final
The most famous red card moment in World Cup history undoubtedly belongs to French midfielder Zinedine Zidane. In the 2006 World Cup final against Italy, Zidane was sent off in the 110th minute for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi. The incident occurred after Materazzi had apparently insulted Zidane’s sister, and Zidane reacted in the heat of the moment. The red card proved costly for France, as they went on to lose the match on penalties. madness remains one of the most memorable and controversial in World Cup history, and his headbutt has been replayed countless times in the years since.
The World Cup is the biggest and most prestigious tournament in football, and it has provided us with countless moments of drama and excitement over the years. However, some of the most memorable moments have been red card incidents, where players have let their emotions get the better of them and paid the ultimate price. From Harald Schumacher’s infamous kung-fu kick to Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt, these incidents have become part of World Cup folklore and will be remembered for years to come.