These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Argentina, after Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" in the 1986 quarterfinals against England. Argentina went on to win that year.
Hilariously, during the 2010 cup, Maradona said the following line in a press conference "Que la sigan chupando" (Keep sucking it.). It displaced everything else in the news in Argentina for almost a full week, everyone was talking about that and nothing else.
France, after Thierry Henry's "Hand of Frog" during qualifying in 2010 against Ireland; eliminating them in the process. France went on to be eliminated in the Group Stage - after a complete team meltdown in which the players, manager, and coaches ended up refusing to have anything to do with each other in a mutual hatefest that resulted in government investigation. Newspapers in France said about this that "Bad enough that we have the worst team in the tournament, we also have the stupidest." Three years on, Henry himself is still acceptable in Ireland, and right after the initial match, received death threats from Irish people in the crowd. Although if their performance in the next World Cup was anything to go by, we'd have sucked anyway.
Awesome Music: It's done before any international match, but when you listen to two countries' national anthems before a World Cup match, it becomes abundantly clear that this is not just a game, it's a matter of the utmost national pride.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In France 4-1 Kuwait (1982), a goal was annulled because a Sheikh convinced the Soviet referee that the Kuwaiti team stopped after hearing a whistle!
Portugal were losing 3-0 against North Korea in the 1966 quarter-finals. They recovered and wound up winning 5-3.
Gordon Banks' legendary save against Pelé in 1970.
Yugoslavian (Croatian, actually) goalkeeper Tomislav Ivkovic saving a penalty kick from Maradona in 1990.
Several goals: Maradona's second against England in 1986, Hagi's against Colombia in 1994, Owen's against Argentina in 1998, etc.
Colombian fan's remember four goals in particular for tremendously different reasons: Coll's first and only ever Olympic Goal (from a corner kick) in a World Cup against USSR in 1962; Rincon's awesome equalizer against powerhouse Germany from the 1990 tournament; (a sad subversion) Escobar's own-goal against the USA in 1994, and (a bittersweet subversion) Preciado's goal against Tunisia in 1998, which turned to be the last goal ever scored by a Colombian team in the World Cup. Needless to say, it has been rough for Colombia at the World Cups.
The infamous 5-0 of Colombia vs. Argentina in 1994's classifications. Colombia won against the then two-times champion in their own territory. Also keep in mind that Argentina had an impecable record of 0 defeats for six years until said match. It is something worth to be seen.
Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: When the players in the quarter-finals of 2006 and 2010 took a moment before the game to hold a banner together that read "SAY NO TO RACISM" - especially given the history of racism in the game. Unfortunately under FIFA directive!
After scoring the winning goal in the 2010 final, Andres Iniesta takes his shirt off and reveals the message "Dani Jarque siempre con nosotros"Eng Dani Jarque, always with us in tribute to his friend, who died a year before the tournament during training.note And Iniesta was promptly booked for it, since players aren't allowed to take their shirt off during a goal celebration.
Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas kissed his journalist girlfriend on live TV after winning the World Cup, possibly in response to some idiot that had accused her of "distracting" him during the first match that Spain lost to Switzerland. (see Mis-blamed)
USA v. Iran in 1998. Especially considering the diplomatic rivalry between both countries. The starters for both teams posed together for a photo, and played straight the Fair Play spirit.
Japan pulling off a stunning underdog victory in the 2011 Women's World Cup by defeating two-time defending champion Germany on their home turf in the quarterfinals, then beating Sweden decisively in the semifinals, and finally upsetting the United States in the finals. Keep in mind that this all occurred when their home country was still recovering from a devastating earthquake and tsunami, and that they held up a banner reading "To our friends around the world — Thank you for your support" after every one of their matches.
Colombia finally coming back to the world cup in 2014, breaking a 16 year absence from the tournament. Doubles as a Tear Jerker and Crowning Moment of Awesome when you realize the joy of the country for this event is so big that a documentary of the team's history and route to that moment was made, called "Diario de un Sueńo: así clasificamos a Brasil 2014"
Dude, Not Funny!: After Qatar was chosen as host for the 2022 championship, Sepp Blatter joked that foreign gay fans should abstain from sex while it was going on (homosexuality is illegal in Qatar). Nobody was amused.
Ensemble Dark Horse: every other Cup, some African team becomes this, ever since Cameroon in 1990. The latest one was Ghana in 2010. And in 1966 it was, amazingly, North Korea, which beat Italy on the first stage and nearly knocked Portugal out at the quarter-finals (started 3-0, then conceded a defeat 5-3). North Korea qualified again in 2010, but not with that much support (though after losing 2-1 to Brazil, 7-0 to Portugal and 3-0 to Côte d'Ivoire, they certainly drew some compassion...).
Also, some Eastern European teams, like Bulgaria and Romania in 1994, and Croatia in 1998.
A non team example. Due to England's poor performance in 2010, a bird that casually sat on Algeria's goal in their match quickly gained its own following on Facebook and Twitter.
Epileptic Trees: The "Miracle of Bern" in 1954 (in which it was supposed that the Germans had been playing under influence of drugs, but there was no antidoping at the time, so no proof on this) and Ronaldo's convulsion fit in 1998 (that it all may have been a cover-up commissioned by Nike to ensure Brazil could win the next tournament and they would host one of the later tournaments) led to a few.
Not to mention the controversial 1978 World Cup, and not just because of the Argentinian military regime at the time of the cup. It doesn't help that the Peruvian then-goalkeeper, Ramón Quiroga, was born in Argentina...
And again involving Argentina, the alledged poisoning of Brazilian defenders during their match in Italy '90. (Maradona and the team's doctor kinda confirmed this.)
Hungary's shocking 6-0 loss against the USSR (on the 1986 World Cup hosted by Mexico) also spawned a few in Hungary, the most popular of which is "The Pasta Theory" - a speculation about pasta having curious dominance in the various dishes players ate during the preparation to the World Cup. So much so, that every major defeat the national team suffers since 1986 yields numerous cryptic remarks about pasta amongst the fans of the team... No wonder this happened, because the official explanation by the manager of the team was along the lines of "the climate was too hot" and "they scored the first two too early", and all of the players reported experiencing "unexplainable fatigue" before the match started. It's easy to see why this is a breeding ground of conspiracy theories and ridiculous explanation attempts.
You'll be hard pressed to find a Portuguese, Spanish or Italian fan who thinks Korea's victories in 2002 were not the result of some massive conspiracy. While there were questionable decisions they also seem to ignore facts like all three teams missing multiple easy chances or downright dirty play like Joao Pinto damn near destroying the knees of a Korean player.
Fountain of Memes: Many memes have their origin in this cup, such as the infamous headbutt from Zinedine Zidane to Marco Materazzi in the end of the 2006 edition. And the 2010 edition just pushed this to the limits. God knows what memes will await in 2014.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In South Africa, FIFA President Sepp Blatter is extremely popular since he delivered on his promise to take the tournament to Africa. In Europe, it could be said that he is less than popular.
The 1982 World Cup is still in the heart of all Italians, as their national team CRUSHED West Germany in the final with the purest form of fair play.
Hype Backlash: Usually England, who are always painted as a favorite and have just won one Cup (in England 1966). Worst so far was in 2010, due to them being the seen as the "Golden Generation" of English Premier League players. The team consisted of some of the best and most experienced players in the world with most of the starting 11 having known success at the highest levels of club football. They went on to barely get out of the group stage, with two draws and one win, then crashed out to a 4-1 defeat to Germany.
Other common victims: Brazil (perennial favorite; loses sometimes playing well - 1982, 1986 - or really bad - 1974, 1990, 2006, 2010), France (with Platini, lost two straight semifinals in the 80's; fell in the group stage in 2002 and 2010, as reigning champions in the former), and Argentina (also fell in the group stage in 2002).
Love It or Hate It: The vuvuzela horn of South Africa. Some people complain it makes the games unwatchable. Other people say they can just tune it out and it just shows the passion of the fans. It has generated a lot of interest and sales of the horns have skyrocketed...
Incredibly, YouTube put up a vuvuzela horn button in the bottom right corner of every video...
Memetic Badass: Saeed Al-Owairan of Saudi Arabia. What he did: he scored an amazing goal in USA 1994 against Belgium and then nothing else worth noting. But then he became known as the "Maradona of the Arabs" and FIFA also included him as one of the 22 top players of the tournament.
In Brazil, Brazilian-born Japanese defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka received his own version of the Chuck Norris Facts after breaking Didier Drogba's arm in a friendly match shortly before the 2010 WC.
Most Annoying Sound: 2010 gave us the "joy" of the vuvuzela, a very loud horn that sounds en masse like a deadly bee weapon. Bees...my god. It drowns out all other sound and seemingly never ends.
Thankfully, British Olympic Committee's Sebastian Coe recently gave the press a statement that he does not want vuvuzelas at the 2012 Olympic Games, in London, pointing out that it distracts the athletes during the periods where they need the most of their concentration, like before the 100m finals.
Narm Charm: The official films from roughly 1954-70 era. Includes one instance of a young boy entering the stadium without a ticket...
Thierry Henry's likely tainted his career with his handball against Ireland in the qualifiers.
Robert Green's gaffe allowing an easy American ball through, giving them the draw.
Also the Dutch team: played three finals and lost all three ('74 to West Germany, '78 to Argentina and now 2010 to Spain).
Nigel de Jong will be remembered by his kick to Xabi Alonso at the 2010 finals. Especially by the Spanish fans. More so due to the fact that he should have got a straight red for it; Alonso could have been killed given where de Jong kicked him.
Subverted with Yakubu of Nigeria who made a big miss against South Korea which would've equalized the match. However, he made it up when he later equalized the match through a penalty kick.
In Spain, mentioning Sandor Puhl (referee at the Spain-Italy quarterfinals game of USA '94), Tassotti (Italian player in that same game), which should have gotten him sent off) or Al-Ghandour (Egyptian referee of the Spain-South Korea quarterfinals game of South Korea-Japan 2002) is bound to ellicit some foul words over how they screwed Spanish chances (in '94, Tassotti blatantly broke Luis Enrique's nose with his elbow, and Sandor Puhl didn't send Tassotti off despite seeing how Luis Enrique was profusely bleeding, and in 2002 Al-Ghandour and his liniers blatantly favoured South Korea, calling for non-existant Spanish offsides, one notorious occasion in which one linier said the ball had gone out of the field when it had stayed within the field and, finally, not calling for a penalty kick to be repeated after the South Korean keeper moved before he was allowed to.
Evidently, the inventor of the Vuvuzela apologized to the world about his creation.
Argentina will never live down the Hand of God incident, or Simeone getting David Beckham sent off in 1998. They are considered memetic bad losers and cheats in Europe and especially England for this reason.
The Scrappy: South Korea in 2002. Ask any Italian or Spaniard. Not for the South Koreans though. (Korean forward Ahn Jung-Hwan discovered firsthand that scoring Italy's elimination goal while you're in an Italian team is a bad thingnote Ahn was promptly sacked. The team's owner changed his mind, but Ahn (understandably) refused to return)
In 2010, while Greece and Nigeria could add South Korea after being eliminated by them,note Though Nigeria should add their own players to their hatelist, because of all the easy goals they missed. the Koreans had their own hatelist in 2010; (some of) its own players and manager. Yeom Ki-Hoon performed extremely poorly in the three matches (that's all of the group stage matches) he was in, and yet the manager, Heo Jung-Moo, keeps using him, leading many South Koreans to think that there might be some corruption in the team.
Not without reason, prior to 2002 the South Korean team was rife with corruption and favoritism to the point that quite a few analysts attribute Korea's good result in 2002 to Guus Hiddink selecting players purely on talent and skill.
The same goes for Mexican striker Guillermo Franco, and manager Javier Aguirre for keeping him in the field (and pulling Andrés Guardado and Giovanni dos Santos out, both acknowledged by Mexican fans and media to have played much, much better).
Recently, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is becoming this during the Brazil 2014 qualifying rounds, as he's not playing at his best level, not to mention the whole Mexican team now has to play a play-off round against New Zealand, thanks to the U.S team winning a hard game against Panama, despise Mexico losing a vital game against Costa Rica. Haven't the U.S. won that game at the last minute, Mexico could be ended lost their last chance to qualify and most probably, it could spelled the end of his career as a player in the Mexican team.
The 1990 World Cup as a whole counts as this - it was dour and defensive and considered easily the worst tournament ever. Case in point is Group F in group stage, with five draws (three 1-1 and two 0-0) and only one win (England 1-0 Egypt).
In Brazil, Italian player Paolo Rossi (see Tear Jerker). While visiting Săo Paulo, a taxi driver recognized Rossi and kicked him out of his car!
The match of Japan vs. Paraguay in the 2010 World Cup, where the South African fans slept while watching the game. That's right, the enthusiastic South Africans slept through the game because it was so boring. BBC or whatever even said that the cursed videotapes in Japanese horror movie The Ring contained the footage of this match. Korean fans also ridiculed the match as a cure for insomnia.
Switzerland vs. Ukraine (2006) is widely seen as the most boring game ever played in a World Cup, beating even Japan vs. Paraguay. No goals after 120 mn, and only 3 miserable penalties shootout (for Ukraine) scored.
The entire England team in South Africa, to say their preformances were lacklusture is an understatement at best. The press judged Rooney, Gerrard and Capello to be the Scrappys in the team.
The referees. Especially for Australia lately, with the Italian game in 2006, and the Kewell/Cahill red cards in 2010.
One fan's reaction to the 2010 final, which received decidedly mixed reviews:
Anonymous: yeah this has been real exciting so far, I'm looking forward to 45 more mins of nothing and diving!
Brazil's women's squad, especially Marta, in the 2011 Women's World Cup. See Call It Karma on the main page.
Luis Suarez became this in Africa after his handball against Ghana.
The most notable example is the Maracanazo of 1950. That Cup was hosted by Brazil, and home team were by far the favourites to win it. They had to play the last match (though not technically the final) against Uruguay needing only a draw to be the champions. While Uruguay took the easy way (they only played one match in the group stage, beating Bolivia 8-0), Brazil had taken the regular three-match course. In the final stage, Uruguay's results were average at best (2-2 on Spain and 3-2 on Sweden) while Brazil were spectacular at the very least (7-1 on Sweden and 6-1 on Spain). This final match filled Maracană stadium (hence the name Maracanazo) with a crowd that reached nearly 200.000 people, a world record to this day. And after Brazil scored the first goal, the crowd was in heaven. But Uruguay then scored two goals, and won that match and the Cup. The disappointment of the Brazilians reached levels never seen before or after. There were cases of heart attacks among the crowd, and some people committed suicide...
The 1954 final was a great shock for Hungarians. In the '50s, Hungary was one of the harshest dictatorships in Europe, the standard of living was awful, but people were forced to pretend to love the system. The football team was pretty much the only thing that was actually good at this period; in the '50s, the Hungarian team was widely considered to be the best in the world (with reference players like Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis, Nandor Hidegkuti and Zoltan Czibor) and it was expected to win the World Cup. After the loss, there were riots in Budapest. The match is still a bitter memory for Hungarians, because the team has gotten progressively worse since then, and it hasn't got much of a chance to get to a World Cup final again (their last participation was in 1986).
It didn't help that the match featured several controversial refereeing decisions, most of which went in West Germany's favour. Most notably, Ferenc Puskas scored an equalising goal in the 89th minute, but linesman Ben Griffiths had raised his flag, and after consulting with him, referee William Ling ruled the goal offside; in the years since, the majority opinion has been that the goal should have stood.
The match proved to be a literal Tear Jerker in the press box; although Herbert Zimmermann's ecstatic commentary "Rahn schiesst!... TOR! TOR! TOR! TOR!" ("Rahn shoots!... GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL!") when Helmut Rahn scored the winning goal is well known among German fans, Zimmermann's Hungarian counterpart, reporter Gyorgy Szepesi, burst into tears.
The 1982 semi-final between France and Germany. It is still remembered even by people not from the two countries, because of suspense, injustice, and almost tragedy (French player Patrick Battiston went into a coma thanks to a head-on collision caused by West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher). See the official FIFA telling here. Also of note is that this was the first match to end in penalty shootouts.
Also in 1982, Brazil vs. Italy, the "Disaster of Sarriŕ". Brazil had a wonderful team, and winning or drawing would lead them to the semifinals. Too bad Paolo Rossi scored three goals in Italy's 3-2 victory, turning this into a horrible memory to Brazilians. Of note is that Paolo Rossi was just coming back from suspension after a match fixing scandal got him out of the sport in 1980, and the Italian team was less than spectacular - they only beat Cameroon out of the second stage because they scored two goals, one more than the African team (both had three draws). And Rossi, who would go on to win the Golden Shoe that year, had scored neither in the three group matches nor in the match against Argentina (which they played before Brazil).
In 2010, the quarterfinal between Uruguay and Ghana was heading to penalties when Luis Suarez, a Uruguayan player, illegally handled the ball on the goal line. Asamoah Gyan of Ghana steps up, to send Ghana and Africa for the first time to the semifinals, but hits the bar. Uruguay later won on penalties. And all of Africa wept.
Also, many times a considerably small team that does better in a tournament cannot repeat the performance in the next. An example would be Cameroon which, after finishing in the final eight in 1990, was flushed out in group stage in the following four tournaments (Côte d'Ivoire knocked them out from the 2006 World Cup).
While some teams may avert it, they might end up playing it straight (see Nigeria; Round of 16 in 1994 and 1998, first stage exit in 2002 and 2010).
Zigzagged with South Korea and Japan; while their 2002 success (the former to the semifinals, the latter stopping on the second round) didn't translate to 2006 (where both left in group stage - though, to be fair to Korea, their elimination was narrow), they both went to second stage again in 2010.
Many African teams tend to have European coaches. All of the African teams in the 2010 World Cup had European coaches with the exception of Algeria. Which happened to be the only non-black African country to qualify.
The Woobie: The Dutch are widely regarded as the one team that hasn't yet won a World Cup but definitely deserves one. The most famous example was them losing the 1974 final to West Germany, after making a name for themselves with the "Clockwork Orange" team which had Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Ruud Krol, Johnny Rep, Rob Rensenbrink and others. Cruyff however would not come back for the next tournament (which they lost again, to Argentina). And in 2010, they became the only team to reach three finals and lose them all. Sometimes mixed with Jerkass Woobie, especially in 2010, where, upon realizing they couldn't beat the Spanish by playing beautiful football, tried to beat them by playing very ugly football instead.
Hungary in 1954 may have also been an example of this. Like the Netherlands, they had a star team (Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis etc.). And like the Netherlands again, they lost the final to West Germany. Even more interesting is the fact that Hungary had played against the Germans on the first stage, crushing them by an 8-3 score.
Japan's women's team at the 2011 Women's World Cup definitely qualified, as they were playing just months after the massive earthquake that had devastated their country. You had to feel for them, because they were playing for more than just national pride, they were playing to help heal their country. Even better yet, they managed to win it all. Quite a great moment.