World Cups and controversies go hand in hand. The stakes are high, and the nerves are tense. Uncontrollable emotions often end up triggering unwanted actions that make it to the headlines not just for that day, but for years to come. We remember these incidents, as much as we remember the beautiful moments and thrilling victories. For every Van Persie wonder goal against Spain, there is a Frank Rijkaard spit to be recalled, and for every Luiz Ronaldo's nutmeg goal, there is a Rivaldo corner line histrionics to be recalled.
Talking about controversies, today, we will take a look at some of the most bizarre incidents at the FIFA World Cup. From controversial walk-offs, fights to intense drama, here are the top 4 shockers in the history of the mega event:1. Spain Sack Coach Julen Lopetegui (2018)
Just 48 hours prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Spain announced that they are sacking coach Julen Lopetegui. Let's put this into context – Spain won the FIFA World Cup 2010, but quite shockingly they were ousted during the group stages of World Cup 2014. After this bizarre exit, they assembled a formidable squad that won 9 out of 10 games during the qualifiers, scoring 36 goals and conceding just 3! They were touted as one of the sure-shot semi-finalists in the upcoming mega event.
But as fate would have it, just three days before the World Cup 2018, Real Madrid announced that they had found a replacement for Zidane in Spain's coach Lopetegui. The Spanish Football Federation management was furious, apparently because they weren't informed of these proceedings. They sacked Lopetegui.2. Nicolas Anelka Abuses Coach Raymond Domenech (2010)
After losing out to Italy in the 2006 World Cup, France came with a renewed zest as one of the top contenders in a country that they had once colonized – South Africa.
France had a rather poor start to the 2010 World Cup, wherein they drew the first game with Uruguay, and then lost 2-0 to Mexico. Following a poor display, Anelka was substituted during the match against Mexico. Unable to bear the substitution, Anekla hurled the nastiest of expletives at his coach Raymond Domenech. He then refused to apologize and was sent home from the World Cup, and subsequently banned.3. Zidane Headbutts Materazzi (2006)
The man who had played a pivotal role in France's 1998 World Cup win was once again at the center of the action at the 2006 mega event. Zidane had already announced that this would be his last World Cup, but looking at the way he bossed around, it seemed like he could play another!
Zidane single-handedly destroyed teams like Spain, Portugal, and Brazil to take his team into the final. But on the big day, arguably one of the greatest players ever lost his cool when Materazzi abused his sister. Zidane head-butted the Italian and was sent off from the summit clash. And, the rest is history.4. Kuwait National Team's Mid-Game Walk-Off (1982)
The Kuwaiti national team was playing its first-ever World Cup in Spain in 1982. In just their second game, they faced Platini's France. Obviously, France had the upper hand throughout the game and were routing Kuwait 3-1.
The stop-watch showed 80 minutes when Platini played a through ball that was picked up by Giresse, who converted it into a wonderful goal. But someone from the crowd had whistled, leading the Kuwait squad to believe that the game had been stopped. The team was annoyed, and their Sheikh - watching from the stands - was infuriated. He called for his players to walk off in the middle of the game - and they did.
However, the referee disallowed the goal and called the team back. But France scored one more and finished the game.