Some of these incidents have been criticized by fans and pundits worldwide. 

The FIFA World Cup, throughout its history, has provided us with moments and emotions that will stay with us for the remainder of our lives and the 2018 edition has not failed to live up to its billing either. Football itself is built on sportsmanship, unity and joy. However, there have been moments of unprofessionalism and controversy, that are speckled through the history of football’s greatest competition.

In the ongoing edition of the competition, Croatian striker, Nikola Kalinic refused to come onto the pitch for his side in their opening fixture against Nigeria following which he was sent home, missing Croatia’s incredible run to the World Cup final.


Don’t be this guy meichomi…. #nikolakalinic #mbuzi

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Instagram users are having a bit of fun of their own

We at Khel Now have taken the opportunity to have a look at the top five unprofessional incidents in the FIFA World Cup.

5. Diego Maradona’s drug abuse

Diego Maradona burst onto the World Cup scene in 1982 as a 16-year-old in an Argentinian side that would go on to win the tournament, a feat they would repeat in 1986.

In 1994, the then Argentina captain, Maradona failed a drug test which would rule him out of the competition. FIFA listed the five banned substances in Maradona’s test as ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, pseudo-ephedrine, non-pseudo-ephedrine and methylephedrine.

4. Julen Lopetegui’s Real Madrid announcement

Following Real Madrid’s 13th UEFA Champions League victory, the then manager Zinedine Zidane stepped down, sending the footballing world into a frenzy over the identity of his successor. Then Spaain boss, Julen Lopetegui was subsequently announced as his replacement, just a day before the national team was due to play their first game of the 2018 World Cup against Portugal.

Following the announcement, Lopetegui was sacked and then Sporting Director at the Spanish FA, Fernando Hierro took his place at the helm of the national side, who would go on to crash out to the hosts Russia in the Round of 16.

3. Nigerian players revolt over payments

FIFA provided the Nigerian Football Federation with $8m following their qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. However, the NFF claimed that they had only received $1m from FIFA, which they had used for pre-tournament friendlies.

The Nigerian players threatened to boycott the first game of the group stages against, Iran if they were not paid their dues of $10,000 per match. The NFF President had to step in and negotiate with the players, convincing them to put the needs of the nation above their own.


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2. Graham Poll’s blunder

Moments of unprofessionalism in football are not limited to the players. The 2006 World Cup saw English referee Graham Poll issue three yellow cards to Croatia’s Josip Simunic, before eventually sending him off.

Following the incident, Poll would retire from refereeing at major tournaments, despite encouragement from his peers and prominent figures in the game.

The incident went down as one of the most bizarre moments in FIFA World Cup history

1. The French Revolution of 2010

In the build-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the French endured a difficult qualification campaign, which saw their manager Raymond Domenech announce that he would resign from his post following the tournament. This set off a chain reaction in the French dressing room which saw Nicolas Anelka publicly criticize his manager during the halftime interval of a game against Mexico that France would go on to lose.

Then French captain, Patrice Evra got into an argument with one of France’s coaches following which the team refused to train. France crashed out of the competition without a single win in the tournament.