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5 legends whose actions cost their teams the World Cup

The biggest prize in Football
The biggest prize in football
Modified 19 Feb 2018, 15:32 IST
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The World Cup is the greatest show of them all. The entire world watches when the best players put on their national kits in a bid to do their country proud. This means the entire nation's hopes and aspirations lie on the backs of the 11 players on the field.

G.O.A.Ts like Ronaldo Nazário, Pele, Maradona, and Cannavaro among others have had the opportunity to hold the World Cup trophy high above their heads as the world watches.

Sadly for some of the following players, the pressure was just too much to handle. As the eyes of billions were on them, they couldn't keep it together when it mattered the most.

Here's looking at legends who almost single-handedly cost their countries the World Cup.

#1 Roberto Baggio

Baggio rooted to the spot after missing his PK
Baggio rooted to the spot after missing his penalty kick

The Divine Ponytail, as he was known, is one the greats of the game. His movement, positioning, and finishing are second to none. The 1993 Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year was in and out of the national side due to issues with the managers, but USA 1994 was 'his' World Cup to win.

Having scored 21 and assisted another 6, he was in form heading to USA for the World Cup. Arrigo Sacchi and Baggio had an infamous falling out at the world cup, as the striker was benched in a defeat against Croatia. While all this was going on off the field, Baggio still managed 5 goals at the tournament, almost single-handedly taking Italy to the World Cup final.

Up against a strong Brazilian side, Baggio started despite a small muscle injury. Italy were poor throughout but managed to hold on as the match went to penalties.

The score was 3-2 on penalties. Baresi and Massaro had missed for Italy, while Santos had missed for Brazil. Italy's final penalty was to be taken by Baggio, who had to score to keep Italy in the final. He knew Taffarel, the Brazilian goalkeeper always dived and so looked to put it down the middle.


A long run-up followed as the 94,000 people in the Rose Bowl held their breaths. Time stood still as what followed wasn't in the script. Baggio mishit the ball and it flew way over the bar. Brazil had just won their fourth World cup as the Italian couldn't believe what had just happened.

To be fair to him, even if he had scored the goal, Brazil would have won, if they scored the next one. Everyone needed a scapegoat to pin the loss on, and here it was Roberto Baggio.

Look at him go from hero to zero in the eyes of every Italian.

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Published 13 Feb 2018, 00:54 IST
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