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The FIFA World Cup has been must-see TV for decades, and the global event never fails to dish up drama both on and off the pitch.
Among the storylines from soccer’s biggest stage already this year are defending champion Spain being sent home (and England joining them) after suffering two consecutive losses for the first time since 1950. Long before the first ball was kicked, there were shocking reports of half-built stadiums, construction deaths and violent gangs attacking visitors.
PHOTOS Infamous World Cup Moments
In honor of the action in Brazil that is captivating millions of viewers around the world, The Hollywood Reporter took a closer look at some of the most infamous World Cup moments in history.
In 1962 during the Chile World Cup, the “Battle of Santiago” turned the match between the host nation and Italy into a violent bloodbath on the pitch, which was stormed by the police three times.
Diego Maradona claimed that he had help from a higher power when he punched the ball into the net for a goal in the quarter-final match against England in 1986. The Argentine star player said he scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” but the English fans cried foul.
Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were teammates at Manchester United during the Premier League season, but in the 2006 World Cup match between England and Portugal, they were mortal enemies. When Rooney accidentally stomped on a Portuguese player, 21-year-old Ronaldo had him sent off — then flashed a very cheeky wink to his teammates.
David Beckham is one of the most recognizable names in soccer, but in 1998 he was public enemy No. 1 when his sending off during the England vs. Argentina match led to his home nation being booted out of the World Cup.
For details on more allegations of cheating, jinxing, rigging and downright unsportsmanlike behavior, check out THR‘s gallery of The Most Infamous Moments in World Cup History.
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