The last step before the dream match. The World Cup semi-finals, just like in other big tournaments, are penultimate obstacle before the glory. The difference between disappointment and pride will become clear in this one match. Unbelievable results, incredible goals, penalty shoot-outs. Football history counts numerous events that have happened in the World Cup history.
Germany 7-1 Brazil (Brazil, 2014)
Brazil overcame the World Cup hitches. All they had to do was to shine in front of the fans, Scolari’s team were the major favourite for the title. Just Neymar’s injury brought some pessimism in the team that confronted the reality in the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte.
Within 30 minutes, the Germans scored five goals and the Canarinho didn’t know how to stop Low’s team. When the Germans scored seven goals, it became the biggest disappointment in their football history.
Puyol’s Header Kicked Germany Out (South Africa, 2010)
During the semi-final match Germany vs. Spain Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol were walking towards the dressing room talking. The two friends perfectly understood that one goal could be crucial. Thus, the defendor said that the ball should be shot in the middle, where it would be possible to kick it in the corner.
“Shoot the ball as if Capdevilla gets it”, Puyol said Xavi. Some time after the match Xavi revealed: “When I was going to make a corner kick, I knew it would be a goal”. Before shooting the corner kick the midfielder told him: “Find Puyi, so he does it”. Said and done. Xavi shot the ball in the centre and Puyol blew it with his head off into the back of the net. Spain got into the semi-final and one of the most important players in its history made a superb memory.
San Paolo Suffered from Maradona (Italy, 1990)
Maradona played in his favourite stadium. The Golden Boy was l in San Paolo in the 1990 World Cup semi-final in Italy. But this time Diego faced a tough situation with the host, because he didn’t have the fan’s support, to which he was accustomed in Naples.
Thanking to Schillaci’s goal the Brazilians started the match losing, but 20 minutes before the end, Caniggia hit the ball with his head, so at first the match was prolonged to extra time and then there were penalties. From the ominous point of view, Goycochea saved the goalposts from Donadoni´s and Serena´s shots leaving the way clear for Maradona and his teammates till the final.
France Finished off Best Team of Croatia in History (France, 1998)
Probably the World Cup history could have changed, because the all time best team of Croatia was in the 1998 World Cup semi-final. With Suker, Boban, Vlaovic and other teammates, the Balkans surprised the whole world. It was the first success after they had separated from Yugoslavia.
Former Real Madrid player, Davor Suker, moved the Balkans up, but amazing Thuram changed the score. Even though Miroslav Blazevic created a great defence against Henry, Zidane and Petit in the Saint Denis stadium.
Belgium Suffered from Maradona Hurricane (Mexico, 1986)
In the World Cup of Maradona, the Belgians fell prey to the best player in the world. After having left Spain behind, the European team seemed to surprise, but Diego put an end to their illusions.
The Golden Boy came to amaze the world with his two goals scored in the match with England. The hand of God and dribbles against the Englishmen were still clearly remembered.
The shot at the beginning of the second half and a great goal that a few minutes later send Belgium home advanced Bilardo’s team to the next stage. The whole world still remembers what happened next.
Shorty Made a Header (the United States, 1994)
Romario’s height was just 5 and a half feet, but it's been said that good things come in small packages. The Brazilian had a classy height and he proved this to the world. He marked more than 1000 goals during his career, but one of the most curious was scored with a head in the match against Sweden.
The 1994 World Cup semi-final in the US was getting complicated for Zagallo’s team, but in the second half owing to a right passing to the centre Romario shot a header into the back of the net. Ravelli was stunned and this goal let Zagallo’s team get into the final. Shorty rose above everyone despite his height.
Emergence of Supporting Actor (Germany, 2006)
Italy was in the last rounds of the World Cup, but they had a bad luck in the semi-final match against the hosts. It’s said that football is made for Germans to win, but when the World Cup is organized by them, the mission to win them seems to be impossible. The Italians wanted to wipe out the German team in Dortmund, even though every football poll predicted them to win the title.
Nobody scored during the first 90 minutes, so the match was led to extra time. The fear to fail boosted the players of both teams and having such footballers as Podolski, Ballack, Schneider, Klose, Schweinsteiger, Pirlo, Totti, Luca Toni and Del Piero on the pitch, the winger was the one to become his country’s hero.
A minute before the end of extra time, Grosso stunned Italy, which still had time for Del Piero to score another goal. The defender scored the goal of his life and brought his team to the final giving Italy that extra push for winning the fourth title in their history.
Roberto Baggio, First-class Footballer (the United States, 1994)
The best generation of Bulgarian footballers turned out in the World Cup semi-final thanking to Kostadinov and Balakos’ company and Stoichkov’s goals. The Bulgarians deprived France of the World Cup with their victory in the Parc des Princes and only Roberto Baggio left them out of the World Cup final.
The Italians scored two goals, the second one was made in a beautiful technique and brought Italy to the final match against Brazil. Bulgaria left with their head high, because only one of the best strikers of that time was on their way.
Flying Hit in Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium (Spain, 1982)
In the 1982 World Cup semi-final the paths of Germany and France crossed in the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. The Germans won the match. It went down in history, because the Germans won after losing 1-3.
Besides the scoreline and the goals, there was a moment that paralyzed the crowd of 70,000 spectators, which gathered in the Sevilian stadium. Schumacher left his area to catch the ball for which Battiston was running and in the moment when he tried to kick the ball, the goalkeeper hit the forward. The French footballer got a concussion, damaged vertebrae and two missing teeth, he left the pitch on a stretcher.
Afterwards the goalkeeper said: “I thought I got to the ball, but Battiston came a second earlier, I jumped without knowing where the ball was, with my knees in front, but I turned and hit him with my hip. I was sure I was late. If only I could change what I did when Patrick was lying unconscious. But I went to the goalposts and played with the ball, because I was scared”.
Pele, Magician that Didn’t Touch the Ball (Mexico, 1970)
The move didn’t result in a goal, but it was not necessary for Pele to write a new page in the football history. It was the last World Cup for the legend. Brazil managed to obtain another title.
In the semi-final against Uruguay, Pele got Tostao’s passing and without touching the ball he misled goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz and tried to score. His trick was made in such a masterly manner, so it brought a new meaning to the his nickname the King. Even though the goalposts were completely empty, he kicked the ball slightly diverted.