Biggest Villains in World Cup History


Biggest Villains in World Cup History

Much of the spotlight on this summer’s World Cup in Russia will be on the behaviour of fans and whether tensions will boil over like they did 2 years ago during Euro 2016. The political climate has added much fuel to the fire, but most sensible fans just want to enjoy the beautiful game in peace. One thing’s for sure though, there will be drama on the pitch because of the huge amount at stake. When you look at the team sheets and see players such as Diego Costa, Fernandinho and Marouane Fellaini taking part, then you know that sparks will fly. Here are some of the biggest villains in World Cup history:


David Beckham

At the 1998 World Cup, Glenn Hoddle’s England were playing some attractive football, and had a nice blend of youth and experience to boot. They came up against Argentina in the knockout stage, which turned out to be an all time classic. The game included 4 goals in the first half, including a Michael Owen wonder goal, but was overshadowed when David Beckham got sent off at the beginning of the 2nd half. Some might say it was harsh, but the England midfielder did aim a little kick at Diego Simeone, who reacted very theatrically. England were eventually knocked out on penalties after a brave performance, and the media crucified Beckham for his costly mistake.


Slaven Bilic

At the same World Cup, Croatia came up against host nation France in the semi final, in what was the biggest ever match at that time for both sides. France were winning 2-1 thanks to goals by Lilian Thuram, when all of a sudden, Slaven Bilic fell to the floor clutching his head after a coming together with Laurent Blanc. The referee promptly sent the Frenchman off, but the replays showed that Bilic was clearly play acting. This didn’t affect the result though, and France were able to proceed to the final, albeit without the suspended Laurent Blanc.


Roy Keane

Roy Keane has always been an intimidating figure in football and never far away from controversy. Somehow, he managed to create headlines for all the wrong reasons before the World Cup 2002 had already begun! The Irishman apparently flew into a fit of rage against the manager at the time, Mick McCarthy, and was subsequently kicked out of the squad for unacceptable behaviour. Ireland didn’t miss their star man though, and performed admirably, only to lose to Spain in the last 16.


Jurgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann was a footballing icon in his heyday, both for Tottenham and for Germany. He also had a reputation for simulation, as he would regularly dive when minimal to no contact was made. His most outrageous dive came in the 1990 World Cup final against Argentina when he took a tumble after being tackled by Pedro Monzon. He then started to roll around on the floor appearing to writhe in agony, when the replays showed that no contact was made. The Argentine player was sent off and the Germans ended up winning the trophy thanks to a penalty in the last 5 minutes.


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