There are some legendary games and all-timers in this list
The FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the World. With the whole world tuning in to watch the tournament hardly ever disappoints. As was evident in the recently concluded 2022 FIFA World Cup, the matches were filled with thrill and drama.
The World Cup final is the biggest match of the World Cup where the top two teams in the World come up against one another. With so much quality on display the final is bound to present the best of football. The France Vs Argentina final in the recently concluded World Cup showed just that.
With so many World Cup finals played in the tournament’s long history, here is a look at the top 10 FIFA World Cup finals:
10. France 3-0 Brazil (1998)
The 1998 World Cup final saw the hosts France face off against the then defending champions Brazil. Brazil went into the finals as the favourites. However, controversy broke out before the match when Brazil announced their line-up and it didn’t have the name of Ronaldo, their best player of the tournament. He was deemed unfit for the match initially but was later added to the starting XI.
The final can be deemed as the Zidane Show. The French midfielder single handedly took the game away from the Brazilians with his first half brace. Emmanuel Petit scored in second half injury time to make it 3-0 and France won the World Cup for the first time in history.
9. West Germany 2-1 Netherlands (1974)
The 1974 World Cup final saw arch rivals West Germany and the Netherlands face off against each other. The Dutch led by Johan Cruyff mesmerized everyone in the tournament with their ‘Total Football’. They walked into the final without conceding a single goal. West Germany on the other hand were the then Champions of Europe.
The final saw the Dutch take the lead through a penalty within two minutes before the Germans had even touched the ball. However the Germans came back into the game with a penalty of their own. Gerd Muller scored in the 43rd minute to make it 2-1 in favor of West Germany. In the second half both sides had good chances of scoring but neither failed to capitalize. The score remained 2-1 and West Germany became the first team to hold the European Cup and the World Cup at the same time.
8. Argentina 3-1 Netherlands (1978)
It is always a feisty affair when Argentina face the Netherlands and same was the case for the World Cup final of 1978. Netherlands had reached their second World Cup final in a row and faced hosts Argentina in the final. The tussle between the two teams started before the game as the Dutch accused the Argentine of deliberately delaying the game. This hostility only kept on increasing as the match went on and ended up with the Dutch not attending the Post-match ceremonies.
Argentina scored the first goal of the match in the 38th minute through Mario Kempes. The Dutch fought hard for an equalizer and it eventually came when Dick Nanninga scored in the 82nd minute. The match eventually went into extra time. In extra time the hosts Argentina managed to score twice and were crowned champions for the first time. The Netherlands lost their second World Cup final in a row.
7. Italy 1(5)-1(3) France (2006)
The 2006 final is etched into everyone’s memories for one iconic moment. The moment when France captain Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi. Zidane was shown a red card in what was the last match of his career.
France took an early lead when Zidane scored from the penalty spot in the 7th minute. The foul was committed by Materazzi but the defender made up for his mistake when he equalized for Italy in the 19th minute. Neither team managed to score again in the 90 minutes and the game went into extra time and eventually to penalties. A David Trezeguet miss in the shootout meant Italy became World Champions for the fourth time.
6. Argentina 3-2 West Germany (1986)
The 1986 World Cup is fondly remembered for Maradona’s rise to glory as he led Argentina to their second World Cup triumph. In the final of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Argentina came up against West Germany. This was West Germany’s second world cup final in a row and Argentina’s second final in three world cups.
Argentina opened the scoring in the first half and went on to take a two goal lead by the 56th minute. However the Germans made a spectacular comeback scoring two goals in the span of seven minutes to make it 2-2. Argentina’s Jorge Barruchaga finished off an assist from Maradonna to make it 3-2 in the 84th minute. Argentina went on to win their second World Cup.
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5. Brazil 4-1 Italy (1970)
The 1970 FIFA World Cup final was the first time the final was played between two previous champions. This was Pele’s last of his three World Cup triumphs and also his last World Cup appearance. Both teams came into the final having won the World Cup twice before.
In the final the Brazilians opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Italy managed to equalize in the 38th minute due to error in Brazil’s defense. In the second half the attacking prowess of Brazil was too much for Italy and Brazil managed to score three more goals to make it 4-1. Brazil won their third World Cup making them the most successful team in the world.
4. England 4-2 West Germany (1966)
England’s only World Cup triumph came back in 1966 when they hosted the tournament. It was a match full of excitements with both teams taking the lead and equalizing at some point of the game. It also had a major controversy.
The Germans took the lead in the 12th minute only for Geoffrey Hurst to equalize in the 18th minute. It was England’s turn to take the lead when Martin Peters scored in the 78th minute however the Germans managed to equalize in the 89th minute to take the game into extra time. Geoffrey Hurst scored in the 101st minute for England and that was the controversial part of the match. Despite the referee allowing the goal to stand the replays showed that the ball had not crossed the line. Hurst completed his hat-trick in the 120th minute becoming the first person to score a hat trick in the World Cup final.
3. West Germany 3-2 Hungary (1954)
The 19554 World Cup final is considered to be one of the best World Cup matches in history. The result was a big upset as West Germany managed to defeat the mighty Hungarians who were clear favourites going into the game.
Hungary started the match all guns blazing and managed to take a goal a two goal lead inside ten minutes. However West Germany managed to fight back and by the 18th minute the scores were level at 2-2. Hungary went on to dominate the game but West Germany managed to capitalise on one of the few chances they got and took the lead in the 84th minute to make it 3-2. The scoreline remained the same and West Germany won their first ever World Cup.
2. Uruguay 2-1 Brazil (1950)
The 1950 World Cup final wasn’t technically a final as the winner of that tournament decided by a round robin format. However when Brazil and Uruguay faced off against each other in the last match of the tournament it was deemed as the final. The stakes were simple Brazil only needed to avoid defeat against Uruguay to become World Champions while Uruguay needed to defeat Brazil.
Brazil were the clear favourites going into the game having dominated throughout the tournament. Uruguay were able to hold on in the first half to keep it goalless. Brazil managed to take the lead early in the second half. But as Uruguay pushed for an equalizer Brazil defensive frailty was put on display. Uruguay equalized in the 66th minute and took the lead in the 79th minute to lift their second World Cup.
1. Argentina 3(4)-3(2) France (2022)
The 2022 FIFA World Cup final takes the top spot in the best World Cup finals in history. Lionel Messi went into the final in what was his last chance to lift the trophy while France looked to win their Second World Cup in a row.
The match started with Argentina dominating and the Argentines went into half time with a 2-0 lead. France failed to create any chances in the second half but a penalty conceded by Argentina saw them pull one back. Not more than a minute later Mbappe scored a brilliant volley to make it 2-2 and the game went into extra time. Lionel Messi scored in the 108th minute and the Argentines were sure that they had won it until France equalized again in 118th minute through a Mbappe penalty. Mbappe became the second player to score a hattrick in the final. Argentina eventually triumphed on penalties to lift their third World Cup.