10 Most Shocking World Cup Moments Ever

These mad moments will go down in history.

zinedine zidane headbutt marco materazzi
© HO/Reuters/Corbis

Every four years, we come together to watch the greatest players from all around the globe compete for football's biggest prize: the World Cup. The 2018 edition of the tournament is less than a couple of months away and fans are counting down the days until the big event finally kicks off.

Part of the joy of watching the tournament comes from seeing the biggest stars showing off their skills and scoring wonder goals, but many World Cups are also remembered for their controversies, scandals, and shocks.

Whether it's bad refereeing decisions, violent tackles or blatant cheating, the World Cup always seems to throw up a few shocking moments, so let's take a look back at some of the most memorable scenes from tournaments gone by.

10. Graham Poll's Big Mistake

The 2006 World Cup had its fair share of controversies and surprises, but one of the most shocking moments came in the group stage clash between Australia and Croatia, where English referee Graham Poll somehow issued three yellow cards to the same player without realising his mistake until it was far too late.

In the 61st minute of the game, Poll penalised Croatian defender Josip Simunic for a foul. In the 90th minute, he handed Simunic a second yellow card, but didn’t send him off. Then, a few moments later, Poll issued the Croatian with a third yellow, followed by a red. The game ended 2-2 and Australia went through to the next round, but they could have appealed to replay the game had it ended differently.

Poll’s assistant referees didn’t seem to notice the mistake and Poll claimed that he’d gotten confused due to the fact that Simunic was born in Australia and had an Aussie accent, despite playing for Croatia.

Poll and his team were removed from the competition after that and poor Poll said he struggled to deal with the humiliation of his error for a long time after the tournament.

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