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YMMV: The World Cup
  • Acceptable Targets: Many, throughout the long history of the tournament.
    • The vuvuzela and anyone that uses it. Facebook fanpages sprung up regarding it in seconds, several video games such as Garry's Mod soon ended up with the vuvuzela as an almost unstoppable weapon that killed the user, you get the gist of it.
    • 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 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 unacceptable 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.
    • Sepp Blatter for most European fans, with Qatar 2022 also a huge target.
    • Luis Suarez (from Uruguay) has been this since Africa 2010 after his blatant attempt to handball during a match. After that, his biting a player in 2014 was met with similar scorn and an avalanche of memes.
    • Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno for the Italians due his controversial decisions in the match between Italy and South Korea. He earned, among other shows of scorn, a song wishing him to get run over by a train, and a town named their public toilets after him.
  • Award Snub: The Golden Ball is voted before the final is played. Thus thrice they were given to a player who in the actual decision embarrassed himself (1998: Ronaldo, who had a convulsive fit in the matchday and performed badly; 2002: Oliver Kahn, who had only taken one goal that far but then gave in two, one a shameful rebound (though both happened after he broke a finger when his hand was kicked by accident during an earlier safe, so the question was more if he should have called for an substitute than the level of his abilities); 2014: Lionel Messi, who couldn't push Argentina to the title - and even Sepp Blatter and Diego Maradona thought he didn't do enough through the tournament to deserve the award). The only one who almost averted this despite losing the final was Zidane in 2006 - but when you get expelled in the final game of your career...
  • 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.
    • The "theme song" for lack of a better term for the 2014 cup, sung by Shakira.
    • This unofficial 2014 song, which is basically a tribute to Zinedine Zidane (amidst mentions of other footballing greats), complete with headbutt (most notably, it left Marco Materazzi out). It got popular enough for Vaudeville Smash to release an extended version.
  • 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!
    • In their second round match in Italy 1990, the Netherlands' Frank Rijkaard spat on West Germany's Rudi Völler's Funny Afro. Twice.note 
  • Broken Base: What is a great victory for one team is a harrowing defeat for the other. And those are just the victories that don't contain a big controversy of some kind.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • In England, the victorious Argentinians in 1986. After the whole Hand of God thing.
    • In spite of Suarez's blatant biting of an individual and a huge dose of Blatant Lies when he tried explaining what "really" happened, Uruguay will not take any criticism of him. Trying to criticise him in his home country is a very good way to be called a traitor or offensive foreign national, and also a good way to have death threats sent your way. Outside of Uruguay, his behaviour is considerably more hated.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Luis Suarez (Uruguay) became one near the end of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for his handball that resulted in Ghana losing a spot in the semifinals. He then bit an Italian player during the group stage during the 2014 Brazil World Cup (not to mention he has has an history of biting players, not counting the numerous controversies he is also associated with).
    • Juan Zuńiga of Colombia got this treatment in Brazil as soon as it was known that his kneeling of Neymar's back had broken a vertebra, forcing the striker to get sidelined. Having done this in the same game didn't help matters.
  • Dork Age: Some teams, or even the whole World Cup itself, are prone to fall to this on occassion. Only teams who've won the World Cup at least once are listed.
    • The World Cup did have its bad installments where almost nothing went right or things got weird. The first World Cup in 1930 was crippled by several teams unable or unwilling to travel to South America due to the world economy crisis. 1950 in Brazil was crippled by almost no European teams participating due to the burdens of WW II and a very strange tournament mode. 1962 in Chile was horrible due to bad matches and chaotic planning after a devastating earthquake two years prior. 1978 in Argentina suffered from being held by a military junta and highly suspected match-fixing. 1990 in Italy saw utterly destructive tactics, which resulted in a record low of goals, and Argentina trying to weasel their way to the title (that one didn't work).
    • Brazil: Even a five-times champion can hit bad lows. Brazil was irrelevent in World Cups prior to WW II (except 1938, but even then they couldn't eliminate the reigning champion without star Leonidas). Before their first title, there was what lead writer Nelson Rodrigues to coin the term "mongrel complex" ("Brazilians always put themselves in a inferiority when facing the rest of the world"), losing the 1950 final at home and losing their temper against Hungary four years later. 1974-1990 was a long and painful drought which saw them getting worse with each tournament, hitting a new low in 1990 with just earning 9th place. A new dork age started in 2006 and just when it looked like it was over in 2014, Germany and the Netherlands humiliated Brazil at home, ensuring that it either lasts longer or some action is taken to rehaul the country's football.
    • Germany: Even though one of the most consistent teams, they did suffer some bad World Cups. 1938 was the low point, where the team got screwed by the Nazis forcing freshly aquired Austrians into the team, causing chaos and losing in the Round of 16. 1962 was over in the quarterfinals, as was the one in 1978, the second one being called "Schmach von Cordoba" (embarrassment in Cordoba - the ones who won, however, describe it as the "Miracle of Cordoba"). 1994-1998 was perhaps the second low point, as chaos in the DFB, rampant egoism in German football and over-reliance on aged players caused losing in the quarterfinals two times in a row.
    • England: Here it is more the question when they're not in a dork age. England at the World Cup is a pretty much sad story. First they ignored it, and right the first time they did participate in 1950, they got humiliated. They won one title in 1966 on home soil note  and managed to reach the semifinals in 1990, but otherwise they never get further than the quarterfinals. The lowest were 1974, 1978 and 1994, where they even failed to qualify. Not to mention 2014, where they qualified but went home winless after the group stage.
    • Italy: Four titles don't protect from bad tounament performance, as their dork ages are particularly nasty. It helps the team has a tradition of both underperforming in the group stage and losing to lesser teams (best example being North Korea in 1966). 1950-1966 saw them getting humiliated constantly, one time not even qualifying. 1974, 1986 (just four years after a Cup) and 2002 also were embarrassments. Since 2010 they've hit another dry spell, being booted out of the tournament in the group phase two times in a row (the first time as the reigning champion!).
    • Argentina: Apart from the few times they managed to reach the finals, Argentina is defined by their dork ages. 1934-1974 was particularly nasty and saw Argentina as mostly irrelevant to the World Cup. 1982 was a humiliation and saw Maradona sent off. 1994-2010 was another very bad dry spell, failing 2002 in the group phase and getting trounced by Germany two times in a row in 2006 and 2010.
    • France: Either they're good, or they suffer from long periors of irrelevance. 1930-1954 they were pretty much irrelevant (even though they were hosts in 1938). 1962-1978 was horrible and they didn't even manage to qualify three times. They also managed to not qualify in 1990 and 1994. The champion got humiliated in the group phase in 2002, and they got hit by this fate again in 2010 (even more damning due to the "Fiasco of Knysna").
    • Spain: Pretty much their whole World Cup performance was a dork age apart from a fourth place in 1950. It seemed they'd finally put it behind them after winning the title in 2010, only to completely embarrass themselves in the group phase in 2014 and start the next dork age.
    • Uruguay: After their two titles they fell on hard times and only managed 4th place in 1954, 1970 and 2010, otherwise they're in a constant dork age, having failed to qualify six times. 2010 and 2014 was also nasty due to the Suarez incidents.
  • 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. Previously, he had suggested that the best way of making women's football more popular would be to make the strips smaller and tighter.
  • Ear Worm: The tournament's official song. Want proof?
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Every other Cup, some African team becomes this, ever since Cameroon in 1990. The latest one was Algeria in 2014.
    • In 1966 it was, amazingly, North Korea, who beat Italy in the group stage and nearly knocked Portugal out in the quarter-finals (they raced to a 3-0 lead but ultimately lost 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. Because neither team scored a single goal, the referee and most of the fans apparently wanted to award it the Man of the Match award, but by then it had flown off.
    • To some extent, the US team in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, being pitted against Ghana, Germany, and Portugal...and still advancing to the next stage. This group has aptly been named the "Second Group of Death". (The first one including Chile, Netherlands, Spain and Australia.)
    • The Australian team, getting the same group as Chile, Netherlands and Spain. Despite the disadvantage, they played exceptionally well in their first two games, with their match against the Netherlands considered by some as one of the best games of the tournament.
    • Costa Rica were seeded in the same group as Uruguay, Italy and England, all traditional powerhouses who were champions of the world at least once. No one expected the Costa Rican team to be anything but a punching bag, yet they were the first team of the group to qualify to the next round. Their initial win against Uruguay was already enough to earn them plenty of recognition, and even more so after beating Italy. A victory over Boring but Practical Greece to qualify Costa Rica to the quarterfinals got even more sympathizers.
  • 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 of 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.
    • 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 Park Ji-Sung, who would later go on to play for Manchester United and become one of the best Korean players ever.
    • During the 2014 World Cup, many Brazilians started to spread the Cup was "bought", given the bad officiating and favorites tanking. Of course, this lead to Memetic Mutation parodying the concept (all bad calls are "* bought the Cup!", and a blogger started to search for "evidence" of 13 and a star - symbols of the party of president Dilma Rouseff - in all games). This one came down in the knockout rounds, with Brazil struggling to beat Chile, losing both their captain (Thiago Silva) and star player (Neymar) against Colombia, and then being curbstomped by Germany in the semi-finals. The joke was still reinforced as the first goal was by #13, Thomas Muller. And in the third place match, they conceded their thirteenth goal of the tournament during a 3-0 to the Netherlands.
  • 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. 2014 has Luis Suarez's bite and Tim Howard's performance against Belgium.
  • Funny Moments: Has its own page.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Has its own page.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Simpsons had a World Cup episode in which Brazil's best player El Divo (based on Neymar) had a Game-Breaking Injury just before their match against Germany. Guess what happened to Neymar one match before facing Germany in real life.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The 2014 cup was accompanied by a German parody show called Hoeggschde Konzentration. The episode right before the match against Brazil had the Germans completely ridicule their opponents, expecting to win 6-0. They went on to win 7-1 in Real Life.
    • While probably not 'hilarious' in the usual sense, this deliberately Anvilicious warning against problem gambling definitely panned out differently than expected. It sure doesn't take long for internet to produce the new version after the final.
  • Hype Backlash:
    • Usually England, who are always painted as a favorite and have just won one Cup (in England 1966). One of their 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. They fared even worse in 2014, being ousted in the group stage for the first time in 56 years (1958).
    • Other common victims: Brazil (perennial favorite; loses sometimes playing well - 1982, 1986 - or really bad - 1974, 1990, 2006, 2010, 2014), 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), Italy (has a tradition of underperforming in the group stage - best shown by falling in the group stage twice in The New Tens) and Argentina (also fell in the group stage in 2002).
    • Spain in 2014. The defending champions of 2010 got destroyed by the Netherlands and then dealt the final blow by Chile. A poorly-received performance, only "salvaged" by their victory against Australia.
    • Every player who gets chosen as the best player of the year prior to the World Cup tends to not go well. While two managed to get to second place (Baggio in 1994 and Ronaldo in 1998), two barely did anything (Ronaldinho in 2006 and Messi in 2010) and the two Portuguese ones fell in the group stage (Figo in 2002 and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2014).
  • Internet Backdraft: Discounting the usual "my team has been eliminated, I hate the victors" backdraft, these notable examples stand out as of 2014.
    • While most victorious bidders tend to cause this from angry fans, Qatar's bid for 2022 has been particularly controversial, in no small part due to the country's homophobic policies, which has caused many gay rights groups to campaign for the bid not to be recognised and for the tournament to be held elsewhere. After the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and the massive anti-gay backlash in Russia, this has only escalated. Money has also been a major issue. There have also been various revelations about how Qatar is abusing foreign migrant workers in conditions that can accurately be described as near-slavery (resulting in multiple deaths), and many on the Internet are calling on FIFA to revoke Qatar's turn to host because of it, especially since there are a lot of countries that already have stadiums that can host the cup, and in climates that would actually be practical to play in.
    • Then there's Brazil 2014, which had protests/riots in the year leading to the Cup because the government was spending billions preparing for it while the country is already very far in the hole. (The protests did start in a minor key and for another reason, and once the tournament started things calmed down.)
    • While most incidents of foul play (rightly) cause an uproar, Luis Suarez got it particularly badly after he bit Italian player Giorgio Chiellini. The fact that his excuse was little more than Blatant Lies probably didn't help, whereas other cheaters have at least admitted to their wrongdoing.
  • 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.
    • The bird that sat on Algeria's goal during their match against England in 2010. Due to the match generally being rather boring, several thousand fans wanted it to get Man of the Match, although sadly it had flown off by the end of it.
    • Mexican goalie Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa became this fast after his impressive performance in the Mexico/Brazil match.
    • Robin van Persie became one in Brazil in 2014 for his very impressive header when the Netherlands faced Spain.
    • The US may have lost against Belgium, but the game made goalkeeper Tim Howard one of these for the Americans, in no small part due to his impressive saves which netted him man of the match and a new tournament record.
    • Suarez is something of a negative example. His appearance on anything online now has people accusing him of being an Ax-Crazy cannibal that can devour the entire world.
    • Manuel Neuer. After acting as sweeper keeper during the Germany/Algeria game, a lot of memes jokingly suggested to let him play on all the defensive positions of the German team alone.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misblamed: Many French people blamed the 2010 fiasco on Nicolas Anelka (due to his heated argument with coach Raymond Domenech, culminating in the now famous sentence from Anelka to Domenech: "Va te faire enculer, sale fils de pute"note ), Franck Ribéry (for unkowingly using a minor prostitute), Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri (for their close friendship with Ribéry) by accusing those four of hogging the games for themselves and not lifting a finger when playing in the national team in contrast to their brilliant performances in club matches. The real culprit ? The massive infighting in the team between players (bullying of the young players) and between the players and the coach, which took almost four whole years to clean up the act. People still think Ribéry being wounded and Nasri not being selected for the 2014 tournament was the only reason why Benzema was playing well during the cup, since he didn't have his buddies to back him up.
  • Moment Of Awesome: Has its own page.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • 2010 has 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 gave the press a statement that he did 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. The Brazil '14 organization also forbid the vuvuzela at its games.
    • In Brazil 2014, the Mexican fans' Catch Phrase "PUUUUTOOOOOOO!!" (Spanish for either "manwhore" or "fag") quickly became this.
  • Narm Charm: The official films from roughly the 1954-70 era. Includes one instance of a young boy entering the stadium without a ticket.
  • Nausea Fuel: There's an e-mail running through mailboxes which shows how African tribesmen use the vuvuzela. Let's just... not mention it here.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Zinedine Zidane - one of the few players to score in two finals, and he'll still be remembered more for getting sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 final.
    • 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. FIFA players were keen to ditch him from their teams after that.
    • 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 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), or Al-Ghandour (Egyptian referee of the Spain-South Korea quarterfinals game of South Korea-Japan 2002) is bound to elicit 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 linesmen blatantly favoured South Korea, calling for non-existent Spanish offsides, one notorious occasion in which one linesman said the ball had gone out of the field when it hadn't and, finally, not calling for a penalty kick to be repeated after the South Korean keeper moved before he was allowed to.
    • Mentioning Byron Moreno (referee of the South Korea vs. Italy mach in 2002) to any Italian is bound to piss them off. Similar to the Spain vs. South Korea game, the match was marred by controversial decisions that favored the Koreans (including ignoring several fouls by the Korean players, ruling a winning Italian goal offside, and giving Francesco Totti a second yellow card for allegedly diving). The hate for him is so great that it prompted such pearls:
      • Moreno was invited to the Carnival of Cento specifically to give people a chance to pelt him with rotten eggs. A few months later, the same people duped him into being a referee to an amateur match, with the pelting being repeated;
      • the parodistic group Gem Boy produced the song Schiatta Moreno. The title is translated as a somewhat vulgar way to say "Die, Moreno!", and the lyrics openly insult him and his looks and wish him to die, possibly ran over by a train;
      • the town Santa Teresa di Riva named their public toilets after him, complete with sign, picture and naming ceremony attended by reporters from major newspapers and broadcasted by the major networks (foreign press attended too, but it was more out of curiosity than anything). Said toilets have been removed in 2012 due being run-down.
    • 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. Being the team which ever got not just one but two red cards during a final game (1990) and causing a brawl on the pitch after loosing against host country Germany in 2006 certainly didn't help.
    • The defending champions, Spain, in their 2014 World Cup run. First was their loss to the Netherlands 5-1, and were subsequently knocked out with their 2-0 loss to Chile. No one's gonna forget that.
    • Brazil being thoroughly humiliated in the semi-finals of 2014 World Cup. The host country lost 1-7 to Germany, in their worst performance ever. One commentator mentioned that "It was said of the Brazil team that lost the 1950 final, 'You wouldn't be condemned for this long if you had committed any sort of crime'. In this case, it may well be a life sentence." They didn't even manage to secure 3rd place, instead losing to the Netherlands in an embarrassing 0-3 defeat. Fans reacted less with anger but by quickly switching allegiance to the Dutch, which is even more damning. With all that on mind, this will be forever remembered as the darkest moment of Brazil's national team history. To add insult to injury, Brazil saw, on the same Cup, their biggest rival, Argentina, reach the final. (but at least they lost to the Germans, who despite the defeat earned the Brazilians' sympathy)
  • Old Shame: There are incidents of which some teams might not want to be reminded of.
    • The Non-Agression Pact of Gijón of 1982 was one of the biggest disgraces for Germany and Austria. Strangely the Germans get more flak for it from other countries than the Austrians.
    • The 1982 tournament was marred for the Germans by the Schuhmacher incident. Thus the 1982 team was extremely unpopular in its own country despite reaching the final.
    • Brazil would prefer to not be reminded of the Maracanazo of 1950. To their bad luck they eventually got extra shame with the Mineirazo in 2014.
    • The French would rather forget the "Fiasco of Knysna", a bizarre soap opera surrounding their team in the 2010 World Cup with saw the team completely disintegrate.
  • Role Ending Misdemeanor:
    • Due to the players being Slave to PR, you might lose your place after doing something wrong before the Cup (Brazil has at least two cases: in 1986, the striker Renato Gaúcho was cut after escaping from the training facilitynote ; and striker Adriano wasn't called in 2010 because of bad behavior - going out with drug dealers, organizing bizarre orgies), or even during it (in 1994, Stefan Effenberg was dropped off the German team after Flipping the Bird to the booing audience; in 2014, Kevin-Prince Boateng argued with the Ghana coach following a game, and the federation sent him back home).
    • Not to be outdone, there's Uli Stein, who at the 1986 World Cup publicly called coach Franz Beckenbauer a "Suppenkasper" (can be roughly translated as "soup clown"), playing on some ads Beckenbauer made for instant soups ten years earlier. Beckenbauer obviously wasn't amused and threw Stein out of the team.
  • Tear Jerker: Given many defeats happen in a heartbreaking manner, we have a full page of them.
  • 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 thing, as he got fired.note  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.
    • In 2010, while Greece and Nigeria could add South Korea after being eliminated by them,note  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.
    • 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).
    • Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez became this during the Brazil 2014 qualifying rounds, as he didn't play at his best level, not to mention the whole Mexican team had to play a play-off round against New Zealand, thanks to the U.S team winning a hard game against Panama, despite Mexico losing a vital game against Costa Rica. Had not the U.S. won that game at the last minute, Mexico could have lost their last chance to qualify and most probably, it could've spelled the end of his career as a player in the Mexican team. Luckily for him, he managed to redeem himself after he scored against Croatia and advancing Mexico to the next round.
    • 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 (this was later referenced in a commercial for the 2014 World Cup: both Rossi and Zidane, crucial in the 98 final and 2006 quarterfinal defeats, visit a Brazilian barber, who clearly flinches at them).
    • 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 performances were lacklusture is an understatement at best. The press judged Rooney, Gerrard and Capello to be the Scrappys in the team. There's also their 2014 performance, where they got sent home in the group stage without even winning a single game.
    • The referees. Especially for Australia lately, with the Italian game in 2006, and the Kewell/Cahill red cards in 2010. Again in 2014 with poor calling of fouls and off-sides, while sometimes ignoring blatant fouls.
    • 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. He has also received a ton of backlash from fans (and especially Italy) in Brazil for biting Italian player Giorgio Chiellini during the group stage.
    • The 2014 World Cup has been admired for the high abundance of goals and exciting games. Nigeria vs. Iran, the first goalless game and the first draw, was mind-numbingly boring. Memetic Mutation kept it as a benchmark on bad football during the Cup (every dull game earned comparison to Iran-Nigeria), and afterwards (once the Cup ended and all Latin American tournaments resumed play, many a game earned "Even Nigeria-Iran was better!").
    • In 2014, Brazilians were fed up with the incompetence of strikers Fred and Hulk. The former - which was even nicknamed "Invisible Man" to complement the other - got hit the hardest as Brazil got destroyed by Germany in the semifinal: despite being in Fred's home state of Minas Gerais, his inneficiency to the point of Epic Fail earned him resounding boos and obscene chants.
    • Qatar 2022 has already earned a huge backlash from many LGBT and civil liberties groups, owing to the country's homophobic policies and abuse of migrant workers. It's also undergoing an investigation into both climate (since the summer would not be considered a good time to play owing to Qatar's already noticeable heat intensifying) and money. For context, the cup is eight years away.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • The defending champions (if you fall down in Round 1, like '66 Brazil, '02 France, '10 Italy and '14 Spain it really proves it). Also, any major team with their best player injured or retired.
    • 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 reached the semifinals, the latter were knocked out in the second round) didn't translate to 2006 (where both left in group stage), they both went to second stage again in 2010. Followed by quick exits again in 2014.
  • What an Idiot: Some players and teams really should have known better.
    • Two Argentinian players in the 1990 final pretty much doomed any chances the team could have with getting through with the tactic of getting to the penalties. After just playing for 20 minutes, Pedro Monzon fouled Jürgen Klinsmann so badly that he got a straight red card for it, severely weakening the team. In the 86th minute, with Argentina hard pressed to make a goal after Germany scored, Gustavo Dezotti choked Jürgen Kohler which netted him a red card as well and destroyed any hope of trying to equalize.
    • Again Argentina and again against Germany. After losing in the 2006 quarter-finals on penalties, they completely went bonkers and attacked the German team (with the most nasty scenes being a hard elbow check and a kick into the groin). The referee went down hard on them afterwards, giving the player Cufré the dubious honor of being the first player in a World Cup to get a straight red card despite having never played in the match in question.
    • The antics of the French team in the 2010 World Cup are legendary. Trying a revolt in the middle of the tournament is a very good way to lose in the most embarrassing way possible. France needed over two years to recover from this disaster.
  • 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 in the first stage, crushing them by an 8-3 score.
    • Also the Austrian "Miracle Team" in 1934, which was clearly robbed in the semi-final against Italy. It would not get another chance because of the Anschluss in 1938. Similarly with the 1954 Hungarian squad, after most of its stars defected to the West after the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.
    • 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.

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