There are some things in life which are surprising. Jack-in-a-boxes, finding a fly in your soup, the sustained success of The Big Bang Theory.

One thing which is completely unsurprising is the World Cup producing classic, memorable games. When the world’s best 32 teams gather for football’s grandest prize, it is almost inevitable at least one game of the many throughout the tournament will go down in history. So sit back, adjust your reclining, comfy chair and get ready for some nostalgia, as The Football Sack takes you through five classic World Cup games.

England 4-2 West Germany 1966

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The game which heralded the beginning of 52 years of pain in major tournaments for England. Alf Ramsey’s Wingless Wonders had captured the nation’s hearts and arrived at Wembley Stadium full of confidence.

Helmut Haller dampened the host’s enthusiasm when he opened the scoring after 12 minutes for West Germany, before Geoff Hurst headed home an equaliser. Martin Peters thought he’d won it for England with a late strike, but Wolfgang Weber responded in the final minute to send the game into extra time.

Then came the moment still debated to this day, when Hurst shot on the swivel and his shot crashed off the bar and bounced down. Despite German protests, linesman Tofiq Bahramov deemed the ball crossed the line and the refereee awarded the goal. Hurst sealed his hat-trick deep into injury time as commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme delivered his famous call, “They think it’s all over…it is now!”

Argentina 2-1 England 1986

England called it a great injustice. Argentina called it revenge for The Falklands War. The 1986 quarter final between the two sides featured two of the most famous goals in football history, two goals which encapsulated the essence of Diego Maradona in his entirety.

After a goalless first half, a miscued English clearance saw Maradona outjump Peter Shilton and knock the ball into an empty net with his fist (Maradona later remarked he had help from “the hand of God”). If his first was cheeky (read: illegal), his second was sublime, as Maradona collected the ball near halfway and slalomed past six English defenders before slotting home what became known as “The Goal of the Century”. Gary Linekar pulled back a consolation, but Maradona had made his mark.

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France 3-0 Brazil 1998

The 1998 World Cup final was meant to be all about Ronaldo, after the then-21 year-old scored four goals and three assists on the way to the showpiece event. But hours before the game, he suffered an apparent convulsive fit which allegedly left him frothing at the mouth.

Despite initially being named on the bench, he convinced coach Mario Zagallo to let him start. However, the final was dominated by another star, Zinedine Zidane. The maestro headed home Emmanuel Petit’s corner just before the half-hour mark and then doubled France’s lead with another header on the cusp of half time. Brazil were given half a chance when France defender Marcel Desailly was sent off with 20 minutes to go, but Petit wrapped up the trophy in injury time, foiling his own pre-tournament prediction of France beating Brazil 2-0 in the final.

South Korea 2-1 Italy 2002

Who doesn’t love an underdog story? South Korea were the plucky hosts who set up a Round of 16 clash with a spluttering Italy, yet to get out of first gear. The Koreans squandered a perfect opportunity to take the lead five minutes in, when Gianluigi Buffon saved Ahn Jung-hwan’s penalty after Christian Panucci felled Seol Ki-hyeon in the box.

Soon after, Christian Vieri headed home at the near post and for a while, it seemed as if there would be no fairy-tale. However, with two minutes to go, another Pannuci error ended in Seol converting from close range and the game went to extra time. During this period, referee Bryan Moreno took centre stage, as he gave Francesco Totti his second yellow card for a dive, despite replays suggesting there was contact from Song Chong-gug’s challenge.

Then, Damiano Tommasi was ruled offside, despite replays showing he was onside. To rub salt into the wound, Ahn outjumped Paolo Maldini with two minutes remaining to seal a historic win and send Italy crashing out.

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Brazil 1-7 Germany 2014

While Brazil have long-enjoyed a seemingly never-ending embarrassment of riches going forward, the same can’t always be said for their defensive stocks. Never was that more apparent in 2014, when Germany didn’t so much humiliate them as they did drain every millilitre of confidence from a Brazil side at the Maracana Stadium.

Thomas Muller got the ball rolling when he found himself unmarked at a corner, before Miroslav Klose made it 2-0, in the process becoming the all-time top goal-scorer in World Cup history. Toni Kroos fired home emphatically to make it 3-0, before adding a second just over a minute later to all but seal the result.

Sami Khedira made it a five-goal lead at half-time, while Brazil squandered multiple chances after the break to restore pride. Andre Schürrle further extended Germany’s lead with a close-range finish, before he completed the rout with a powerful strike which found the top corner. Oscar grabbed a consolation for the hosts, but it did little to stop the tears in the crowd.

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