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5 golden World Cup moments

Football and Brazil are two words that go together hand in hand so it is not hard to imagine just how big an event World Cup 2014 in Brazil is going to be. With the tournament only a few months away we at Hostelling International have found our five World Cup’s golden moments to get you into that footballing spirit.

Two sides of Maradona – Mexico ’86

Diego Maradaona’s career consists of possibly the greatest football the world has ever seen and actions that were continually brought into question. He certainly knows how to rile a crowd. This was epitomised in the 1986 World Cup quarter final in Mexico. El Diego’s jump to palm the ball over the head of Peter Shilton, dubbed the Hand of God, has overshadowed his later effort which is often called one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time. There will probably never be a figure like Maradona ever again in world football, but we can only hope for a shadow of the ability shown here and perhaps some of controversy this footballing mogul provided in next year’s tournament in Brazil.

See the two sides of Maradona here on YouTube.

More of a Brazilian loss than a Uruguayan victory – Brazil ‘50

The group format of this World Cup meant Brazil only needed a draw to lift the trophy. The celebrations had already begun with a carnival set up and the newspapers declaring Brazil world champions. The Maracanã was packed with approximately 200,000 spectators, exact figures do not exist because the stadium’ capacity was only 173, 830. However the dream was never realised as Uruguay won 2-1 and the silence of the Brazilian crowd was said to have been unsettling. This moment, known as the Maracanazo, changed Brazilian football forever leading the team to change its kit and style of play. The crowd reaction was even more devastating as some even went so far as to commit suicide.

The importance of next year’s World Cup to Brazil cannot be understated, the country has won the most ever tournaments and yet missed the opportunity to do so at home. Redemption is the name of the game for World Cup 2014.

Here is a list of hostels in Rio de Janeiro, home of the Maracanã.

Zidane’s headbutt – Germany ‘06

The World Cup is rife with controversy and while it may not always be in the spirit of the game it certainly adds to the entertainment value. Zinedine Zidane may well be the best player France have ever produced, however it is difficult to mention the man’s international career without visiting the notorious head-butting of Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final in Germany. Zidane had captained his side to the final and scored to put them in front. It is a shame that the infamous head-butt was Zizou’s last ever action on the pitch and France went on to lose on penalties. It gave everyone at home something great to talk about though!

The World Cup winning French team – France ‘98

The French World Cup winning side of 1998 were undoubtedly the greatest side that France has ever produced. Their victory at home helped to revitalise the French game, with the emphatic 3-0 victory over Brazil in the final representing the pinnacle of French footballing achievement. However this team is not simply remembered for their success on the pitch but also for the embodiment of French multiculturalism.

Nicknamed the Black, Blanc and Beur (Black, White and Arab) the 1998 squad boasted some of France’s best ever players. Lillian Thuram, born in Guadeloupe, scored two goals that sent France to the final and is recognised as one of Les Bleus greatest ever defenders. All-time great Zinedine Zidane, of Algerian decent, scored twice in the final. This World Cup moment displays how football can transcend social barriers and shows that the beautiful game is for everyone.

17-year-old Pele – Sweden, 1958

Pele needs no introduction. He is widely considered the greatest footballer of all time and has been immortalised on the world stage. His inclusion in the 1958 World Cup at the age of 17 was considered controversial at the time but it did not take long before he was recognised as one of the best players in the squad. His goal against Wales in the group stages made him the youngest ever World Cup goalscorer, a record he holds to this day. Furthermore his hattrick against France in the semi-final and of course his brace against Sweden which helped make him the youngest World Cup winner of all time, again a record that is yet to be broken. His first goal against Sweden can be regarded as one of Pele’s greatest World Cup moments.

We can only hope for moments such as these at the 2014 World Cup and you can see the action first hand by staying in one of our many hostels across Brazil – the number one football nation on the planet.

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