The 5 most unsporting moments in World Cup history
The WC 2018 is almost upon us and while everyone is excited to see the big stars and some great football, plenty of fans will also be looking forward to some kind of controversy, too.
Last time around 2014’s tournament saw Luis Suarez’s infamous bite, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the World Cup and unsportsmanlike behaviour.
The truth is, for every memorable goal, there have been equally memorable moments that show off the darker side of the game. Here are five of the most unsporting moments in World Cup history.
#1: Frank Rijkaard spits at Rudi Voller, World Cup 1990
England fans might like to think that they’re Germany’s biggest rivals in world football, but the truth is that the rivalry between Germany and the Netherlands is one that runs far deeper for Die Mannschaft.
The roots initially lay within the second World War, but things intensified when West Germany managed to upset Johan Cruyff’s legendary Dutch side to win the World Cup in 1974.
After a handful of unsavoury incidents in games between the two, sparks were almost guaranteed to fly when the two sides faced each other in the round of 16 at the 1990 World Cup.
And indeed, that was the case. In a bad-tempered game, things came to a head when Dutch midfielder Frank Rijkaard scythed down Germany striker Rudi Voller.
The referee understandably brandished a yellow card, but Rijkaard simply saw red and as the official turned away, he spat into Voller’s mullet.
Voller was understandably furious, but when he launched a verbal tirade at Rijkaard, it only earned him a booking – the referee having missed the spitting incident entirely.
Minutes later, the two clashed again after a rough challenge by Voller and this time the official had seen enough, and showed both men the red card – much to the horror of Voller, who realistically hadn’t done a lot wrong.
Rijkaard wasn’t done, though. As Voller stood in shock, he aimed another wad of spit directly into the back of his hair again, before heading off the pitch.
Somehow Voller – despite looking incensed – managed to be the bigger man and didn’t confront Rijkaard further.
West Germany had the last laugh – winning the game 2-1 – and despite apologizing years later, Rijkaard’s moment of madness remains one of the most shameful in World Cup history.