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5 most politically influenced matches in World Cup history

Parth Athale
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:31 IST

The World Cup in Russia has seen some political controversy already

Sports is seen as a field where individuals come from various backgrounds and united to play the game they love. Football is no exception to this and the beautiful game we love provides a getaway from numerous issues.

Politics is one such issue and football transcends political barriers more often than not. However, on certain occasions, politics have interfered with the game and some matches have taken a different shade altogether.

Recently two Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri were fined for political gestures. Both of them made a double-headed eagle with their hands, a symbol which is seen on an Albanian flag against opponents Serbia who doesn't recognize the independence of Kosovo. The vast majority of Kosovo is inhabited by people of Albanian heritage.

Both the players were fined by FIFA, which were attended to by the ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. However, this incident diverted attention from the football to the politics, creating controversy.

On that note here are 5 politically influenced matches in World Cup history.

#5 East Germany vs. West Germany, 1974

All-German World Cup Match
East Germany caused an upset against their neighbours

After the second World War, Germany was a fractured nation, divided into east and west fractions. West Germany was the superior football team compared to its neighbours, and East Germany did not even qualify for the tournament until 1974 when it was held in - you guessed it - West Germany.

They were drawn into the same group and both of them had qualified before their head to head clash. East Germany pulled out an improbable 1-0 victory, topping the group in the process.

West Germany would go on to have the last laugh though, as they beat Holland to clinch the trophy. The Berlin Wall was felled in 1989 and the two sides finally united in 1990, after West Germany clinched yet another title.


This time neither part of the country has reason to celebrate after the defending champions were prematurely knocked out.

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Published 30 Jun 2018, 15:14 IST
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