The World Cup has the power to conjure up so many different emotions in people. Should you be asked to list them off, humour would probably be quite far down that list. Yet, World Cups in the past have thrown up some of the funniest moments you're ever likely to see in sporting events. Jules Rimet himself set the tone back in 1930 when he marked the official start to the inaugural tournament by setting fire to his own hat! So for some light entertainment here is a list of ten of the funniest World Cup moments.
1.The Battle of Santiago (1962)
In the words of BBC TV presenter David Coleman, “Good evening. The game you are about to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game.” Except he forgot to include the word “funniest” into that description. Some of the craziest tackles you'll ever see, including left-hooks and kung-fu kicks, took place in this game! So serious did the violence get that the referee had to get the help of police and the army onto the pitch to help calm matters.
2. Zaire's Wall (1974)
A wall is formed by the Zaire players on the edge of their box. They are ready to defend a free-kick that's in a dangerous position. Brazil are still deciding on who is going to take it. The ref puts the whistle to his lips and blows signalling to the Brazilians to take it when they're ready. No one told Ilungu Mwepu though. He rushes from the wall and blasts the ball upfield. He thinks he's the hero who has outwitted the mighty Brazil. With a shake of his head the ref blows the whistle again, books Mwepu and orders a retake. You would have thought he would have learned the rules before participating in the biggest football tournament. Hilarious.
3. Peru's Goalkeeper (1978)
Peruvian goalkeeper Ramon Quiroga was not nicknamed ‘El Loco' for nothing. Earning himself a reputation for doing some crazy things he proved it to the world in the ‘78 World Cup. In the match against Poland he rushed off his line several times to tackle their players or clear the ball. In one incident he raced into the Polish half, fouled one of their players and earned himself a yellow card. You'd be lucky to see anything like that happen again in today's game.
4. Scotland Expectations (1978)
Scotland's official World Cup song set the bar of expectations and raised the hopes of all Scots. The chorus in “Ally's Army” claims Scotland will win the World Cup and are the greatest football team…I mean, they had some decent players in Kenny Dalglish, Joe Jordan and Lou Macari but seriously. The song was funny enough but Scotland went to the ‘78 World Cup, lost 3-1 to Peru and drew 1-1 with Iran. Despite beating Holland 3-2 in their final group match it wasn't enough and they were eliminated at the first hurdle. Och no laddy…
5. Voller vs Rijkaard (1990)
A foul by Dutchman Frank Rijkaard on West Germany's Rudi Voller led to a yellow card, which then led to a yellow card given to Voller, which then led to second yellows issued to both players moments later, which then led to the jerry curled, moustachioed Rijkaard spitting into the perm of the moustachioed Voller! Funny few minutes to see two grown professional footballers acting like schoolboys on the playground. Plus their hairstyles are funny enough to be included in this list alone!
6. Benjamin Massing vs Claudio Caniggia
Claudio Caniggia, of Argentina, won the ball in his own half and began a run towards the Cameroon goal at breakneck speed. He skipped past the first challenge, evaded the tackle of the second defender, but then came up against the towering Benjamin Massing. So committed was Massing in tackling Caniggia the Argentine is lucky he didn't end up in the crowd. Massing's tackle was strong to say the least, he lost a boot in the process, and in no effort to go for the ball the ref had little choice but to send the big man off. Still makes me laugh whenever I watch it though!
7. Diana Ross Penalty Miss (1994)
USA '94 and Diana Ross is peforming in the opening ceremony. Everyone is excited beyond their wildest dreams as the first game is about to begin. All Ross has to do, after singing her song, is to take a penalty. The keeper will let her score and the goal will fall apart, signifying the games are ready to begin. Except for one little problem…Diana Ross kicks like a girl and she fluffed her penalty completely missing the goal. The goal still fell apart though and the goalie still dived. After that comedic moment then, let the games begin!
8. John Aldridge's Outburst (1994)
Confusion over an Ireland substitution led to one of the funniest outbursts you're likely to see in a live game. John Aldridge, prevented from coming onto the pitch despite the player he was replacing having already come off, exploded with rage and spewed profanities at the official…all in front of the cameras and the millions of people watching the game live! Even Ireland's manager, Jack Charlton, got involved in a shoving match with the official. If only John Aldridge could have played in more World Cup's, just for sheer comedic potty-mouthed value.
9. Senegal Shock France (2002)
Holders France were shocked in the first match of the 2002 World Cup. Playing against Senegal, who were making their World Cup debut, everyone thought it would be a walkover for Les Bleus. By the end of the match everyone (apart from the French) was stunned or laughing their head off or both. The Lions of Teranga had beaten the winners of World Cup '98 1-0. The Senegalese haven't qualified for the World Cup since but 2002 was a memorable experience for them because they went on to reach the quarter-finals.
10. Graham Poll (2006)
A cracking game between Australia and Croatia which ended 2-2 and saw the Aussies qualify for the second round was overshadowed by the mother of all refereeing blunders. English ref Graham Poll showed Croatia's Josip Simunic three yellow cards and a red in the 90 minutes. He booked him twice in the game not realising his mistake and issued him a third yellow in the final minute before following up with a red card. Embarrassing for Poll, hilarious for us.