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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Famous Red Cards in World Cup

These are the lists of some famous or infamous red cards which became part of world cup football history.

* Zinedine Zidane (France Vs Italy 2006)

Among the mother, father and holy ghost of all World Cup red cards. Zidane, who had given France the lead with a cheeky penalty and moments earlier nearly won the match with a brilliant header, responded to Marco Materazzi's taunting by headbutting him in the chest. This was football's JFK moment and, like the late president's murder, wild rumours have continued to spread about what exactly was said. Zidane claims Materazzi insulted his mother, which the Italian defender has consistently denied. For the record, France's former number 10 has said he 'would rather die' than apologise. This one looks set to run and run.

* David Beckham (England Vs Argentina 1998)

'Ten Brave Lions, One Stupid Boy' screamed an English tabloid newspaper the day after England's second round defeat by Argentina in 1998. English poster boy David Beckham was dismissed for a flash of petulance in flicking a leg at Diego Simeone, who collapsed as if he had been shot by a sniper's bullet. The image of Beckham gazing up at the giant referee Kim Milton Nielsen remains a defining image of France '98. Declarations for public lynchings and burning effigies swiftly followed for England's number seven.

* Pedro Monzon (Argentina Vs West Germany 1990)

La Albiceleste hold the record for the most red cards in World Cup history with 10. Three of those came in Italia '90 with Pedro Monzon earning his name in the history books for becoming the first player to be sent off in a World Cup final. Monzon hacked Jurgen Klinsmann down and 20 minutes later team-mate Gustavo Dezotti was sent packing too, with the Argentinian players barging the Mexican referee around like a pinball in disgraceful scenes.

* Frank Rijkaard & Rudi Voeller (Netherlands Vs West Germany 1990)

Sixty seconds of madness will forever define this pair's careers. When Germany play Netherlands there is always some spice, so when it's a second round World Cup match two years after the Dutch beat them on home soil in Euro '88, it was bound to get nasty. Just after the 20 minute mark Rijkaard sliced into Voller to earn a booking which didn't meet with his approval, so he lobbed a mouthful of spit in the German's direction. Voeller even pointed at his curly hair to the referee to demonstrate, but got a booking for his protests. Moments later the pair clashed again in the penalty area and were both sent off, upon which Rijkaard lobbed another one in Voeller's direction. It's alleged they had a punch up in the tunnel, although we understand they have since patched things up.

* Diego Maradona (Argentina Vs Brazil 1982)

Trailing 3-0 to the super Brazilians, Diego Maradona snapped with just five minutes remaining. Argentina's number 10 launched himself at Batista with menace, connecting with a part of the body which guarantees severe pain when studs are attached. His World Cup, along with Argentina's, was over.

* Mario David (Italy Vs Chile 1962)

A game etched in history as the 'Battle of Santiago' and memorably described by the BBC at the time as "the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possible in the history of the game." Tensions were at fever pitch before a ball was kicked as members of the Italian media had slated the hosts Chile in a series of scathing editorials. It didn't take long before the battle got underway and Giorgio Ferrini's red card for Italy in the eighth minute set the tone for things to come. Ferrini took aim with a kick but only left the field several minutes later when an army of police had to escort him off. Later in the half, Chile's Leonel Sanchez and Italy's Mario David decided to kick lumps out of each other at the corner flag. Sanchez aimed a punch in David's direction and, despite the linesman seeing it cleanly, he amazingly escaped punishment. A few minutes later David aimed a kung fu kick, which Eric Cantona would be proud of, in Sanchez's direction and he saw red too. Referee Ken Aston, who had served in the Second World War, said it was like being back in battle. He had a point.

4) Antonio Rattin (Argentina Vs England 1966)

Tensions between England and Argentina were there long before the Falklands war and the Hand of God. Skipper Rattin was given his marching orders by German referee Rudolph Kreitlein for repeated dissent but took an age to leave the pitch. He allegedly spat on the Queen's red carpet and as he eventually trudged off he wiped his hands on the corner flag which had a Union Jack on it. Rattin pleaded his defence years later: "The sending-off should never have happened and it wouldn’t have done if I could speak a word of German. I hadn’t even made a foul. All I wanted to do was talk to the referee, but the next thing I knew he was pointing me off the pitch."

* Laurent Blanc (France Vs Croatia 1998)

A disgraceful red card which should never have been issued. France's cultured defender missed out on the World Cup final for a blatant piece of gamesmanship executed by Slaven Bilic. After minor contact, Bilic launched himself to ground, clutching his face in horror. Blanc, who had been inspirational throughout the tournament, was deprived of playing in the biggest game of his career. If ever there was an argument for video evidence this was it. Calls for Blanc's ban to be over tuned fell on deaf ears. It still makes the Gallic blood boil.

* Sergio Batista (Uruguay Vs Scotland 1986)

Batista holds the dubious record of the fastest ever red card in World Cup history for seeing red less than a minute into Uruguay's game with Scotland in Mexico '86. He was given an early bath just 56 seconds into the game for slaloming into the back of Gordon Strachan. Referee Joel Quiniou took no prisoners and reached straight for his top pocket, roaring at Batista to leave and fast.

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