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World Cup history in Images

World Cup history in Images

Posted by Juan Gavasa on June 11, 2014

The World Cup is almost upon us, with hosts Brazil kicking the tournament off against Croatia on Thursday. Huge television audiences around the world will watch the global spectacular over the next month, the 20th edition of football's biggest show.

As we enter this period of wall-to-wall international football, Sportsmail's nostalgic picture series Golden Years focuses this week on some of those iconic images that help to illustrate how special World Cups have been over the decades.

We have Bobby Moore celebrating England's success in 1966, legends like Pele and Diego Maradona, and those tears from Paul Gascoigne in 1990. There's Roger Milla dancing with the corner flag, the Buenos Aires ticker tape of 1978, and Archie Gemmill scoring a memorable goal for Scotland against Holland.

Many of you will remember where you were when these memorable matches and moments took place, and we'd love to hear your own memories in the comments section beneath this article. We'll continue to bring you Golden Years with a World Cup theme as the tournament progresses, and will be back with a new selection of pictures next Wednesday.


Of all the memorably evocative World Cups, few have matched Argentina in 1978 for sheer colour. Millions of television viewers will still recall the ticker tape thrown by fans before the final between hosts Argentina and Holland in Buenos Aires. Here is a picture of a section of the crowd at River Plate's Estadio Monumental on that memorable day. Argentina won 3-1 against the Dutch after extra-time to claim their first World Cup

The 1970 World Cup match between Brazil and England pretty much had it all, but the moment of the match came when England goalkeeper Gordon Banks produced a quite outrageous save from a Pele header. This picture shows Banks pushing the ball over the crossbar - the save is still regarded as one of the finest in football history

The 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy was the first to go to penalties, after a 0-0 draw in the afternoon heat of Pasadena. Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro had already missed for Italy in the shoot-out, before superstar Roberto Baggio blazed over the crossbar in dramatic fashion to give Brazil their fourth World Cup

One of the truly great World Cup matches of the past 20 years came in Marseille at the 1998 finals, and a quarter-final clash between Argentina and Holland. The game was locked at 1-1 and heading into extra-time when a superb 60-yard pass from Frank de Boer found Dennis Bergkamp, who showed a glorious touch to flick the ball away from defender Roberto Ayala and fire brilliantly into the top corner. It was one of those perfect World Cup moments

A simply wonderful image here, as Carlos Alberto celebrates what is arguably the most famous World Cup goal of all. The defender smashed the ball into the net after a spellbinding move to seal Brazil's 4-1 triumph over Italy in the 1970 final in Mexico City. It was a third World Cup success in four tournaments for Brazil.

No player in World Cup history has had such a profound effect on one campaign as Diego Maradona in 1986. Not only did his two goals account for England in the last eight, he also scored a double - one of the goals a magnificent solo effort - in the semi-final win over Belgium. Argentina claimed football's ultimate prize with a 3-2 victory over West Germany in the final in Mexico City, and here Maradona is chaired high with trophy in hands after that game

Italy's win at the 1982 World Cup remains the stuff of legend in that country. Italy actually made a slow start to the tournament with three draws, but a glorious 3-2 win over Brazil in the second group stage showed they had the quality to go all the way. A 2-0 win over Poland sent them into the final, and the abiding image of Italy's 3-1 win over West Germany at the Bernabeu is the wild celebrations of Marco Tardelli after he scored their second goal

England's finest moment came in the summer of 1966, when Alf Ramsey's team memorably won the World Cup on home soil. A dramatic 4-2 win over West Germany in the final sealed England's triumph, and in this iconic World Cup image captain Bobby Moore is carried shoulder high after the game by hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst and Ray Wilson.

World Cups have an incredible knack of uniting a nation, and after a slow start the French public became fully engaged in their team's attempts to win the 1998 tournament on home soil. After a memorable 3-0 victory over Brazil in the final, a million people partied on the Champs-Elysees in Paris

The greatest player in football's long and rich history is still widely believed to be Pele, Brazil's legendary star of three World Cup wins. Pele's finest hour came when he inspired his country to their legendary 4-1 win over Italy in the 1970 final. Here he is being chaired high on that memorable day in Mexico City.

One of the memorable stars of the 1990 World Cup was a 38-year-old from Cameroon called Roger Milla, who scored four goals as his team reached the quarter-finals. He celebrated each goal in inimitable fashion, by dancing round the corner flag. England eventually ended Cameroon's run at the last eight stage, but four years later Milla was back, playing - and scoring once - at the 1994 finals in the United States

Image from the first World Cup final in 1930, and the 19th in 2010. Above, a view of the Centenario in Montevideo and the first World Cup final between Uruguay and Argentina. The hosts Uruguay claimed a 4-2 win in front of a crowd of 68,346. 

In an outstanding career, Zinedine Zidane had proved to be not just one of the finest players of his generation, but one of the greatest in football history. A 12-year international career with France won him 108 caps and glory at both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. His final act as a France player brought him disgrace however, with Zidane sent off during extra-time at the 2006 World Cup final against Italy in Berlin for headbutting Marco Materazzi. Italy went on to win the final on penalties

Bobby Moore featured in another truly memorable World Cup image four years after England's Wembley triumph, at the 1970 finals in Mexico. Brazil beat England 1-0 in the group stages, the game featuring a number of personal battles between Moore and Brazilian superstar Pele. This exchange between the two after the match says it all about their mutual respect.

If television clips from World Cups of the 1970s are shown, you can usually depend on them including Dutch maestro Johan Cruyff. With his 'Cruyff Turn' delighting fans everywhere, his brilliant performances helped the Dutch to the final, where they lost to Germany. Here is a picture of the Dutch legend during Holland's opening match of the tournament against Uruguay

Spain's players celebrate World Cup glory in 2010. A 1-0 win over Holland, courtesy of a late extra-time winner from Andres Iniesta in Johannesburg, gave Spain their first World Cup

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