Whether it’s the pressure of performing to an audience of billions, fear of letting one’s country down or sheer bad luck; the World Cup has a tendency to produce some gold-plated slip-ups. Here we take a look at some of the funniest mistakes, blow-ups and other calamities the tournament has produced over the years. Remember to keep an eye on all World Cup developments with Coral news site for the World Cup
Diana Ross penalty miss
Perhaps it’s unfair to include the legendary former Supremes singer in the countdown, but her remarkable penalty miss at the opening ceremony for the 1994 World Cup still brings a chuckle. Her charge down the middle of the pitch whilst performing ‘I’m Coming Out’ was supposed to end with her slotting a penalty past a keeper. The ludicrously wide shot is only made funnier by the way the ‘goal’ splits afterwards to allow her through.
Zaire kick the ball way
To say that Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) does not have World Cup pedigree would be an overstatement. Their solitary appearance in the 1974 finals led to a swift and winless group stage exit. They did leave us with one golden moment though, when Mwepu Ilunga charged out from the wall as Brazil were preparing to take a free kick and knocked the ball away. Bafflement ensued, although the defender later claimed the act was a protest against his country’s corrupt football establishment.
Yakubu misses an open goal
Nigerian striker Yakubu’s reaction to his horrendous miss against South Korea in the 2010 World Cup says it all. Played in beautifully by a team mate and with the keeper well beaten, he completely missed the target from a range of no more than six yards. Exiting at the group stage the Nigerian team returned home to find the President had banned them from international football, presumably to avoid further embarrassment (the ban was fortunately lifted days later).
Roger Milla’s dance
After a countdown of slip-ups it’s nice to find a place for a moment of comedy joy. At 38 years old most footballers would be hanging up their boots, but Milla was leading his Cameroon team to a third World Cup. In a tense second round match against Colombia, Milla scored both goals to take his team through to the quarter-finals. His reaction after each goal was spectacular, racing to the corner flag for his trademark dance. The exact motion is hard to describe until you watch it (and please do watch it), the best description is probably a cross between twerking and air guitar.
Jimmy Greaves, dog control
Legendary England striker Jimmy Greaves added another talent to his roster at the 1962 World Cup – animal handling. After a dog appeared on the pitch is a tense game against Brazil Greaves got down on his knees, beckoned the animal in and got it off. The commentary on this grainy clip of the incident makes it all the better, as the pundit languidly describes the dog’s charge around the field.
This is another story with a happy ending, as Brazil player Garrincha was so amused he adopted the interloper and took it home with him.