Kicking it Weird: 40 Craziest Soccer Matches Ever Played

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1 Fatal Amateur Match Mayhem

Fatal Amateur Match Mayhem

A Brazilian football referee stabbed a player to death during an amateur football match in 2013, resulting in the crowd storming the pitch, stoning him to death, beheading him, and quartering him before finally sticking his head on a stake on the pitch.


2. The “Disgrace of Gij√≥n” was the nickname given to a football (soccer) match that was held between West Germany and Austria in 1982. It was so bad that the German TV commentator refused to comment on the game at one point, the Austrian TV commentator asked people to change the channel, and Spain’s newspaper printed the match in their Crimes Section. West Germany started the game with intent and went ahead in the tenth minute courtesy of a Horst Hrubesch strike. For the next 80 minutes, however, both teams did everything apart from making any attempt to score a goal, as the 1-0 result meant they both went through to the next round.


3. In 1998, there was a football match in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between the Bena Tshadi and Basangana teams. The score was 1-1 when suddenly lightning struck the pitch during the match and killed all eleven Bena Tshadi players, while the athletes from Basangana came out unscathed, fueling intense rumors of witchcraft.


4. In 2019, two rival Mexican drug cartels, the Gulf and the Zetas, decided to have a friendly soccer match in a prison on New Year’s Eve. The friendly match soon descended into chaos over a “dirty” tackle, and the day ended with 16 dead and five injured. It took two hours for the police to take back control of the prison.


5. Match-fixing got so out of control in Canadian soccer that one pro match in 2015 ended early after the home team’s attempts to score an own goal were repeatedly thwarted by the away team.


6 Barbados-Grenada Goal Own-Goal

Barbados-Grenada Goal Own-Goal

In 1994, during a football match between the national teams of Barbados and Grenada, a bizarre rule stipulating that goals scored in extra time counted double meant it was more advantageous for Barbados to score an own goal. Grenada then attempted to score an own goal to nullify this advantage, forcing Barbados to defend against both goals simultaneously in order to win.


7. In 1967, the two factions involved in the Nigerian civil war declared a 48-hour ceasefire in order to watch Pele play in a football (soccer) match.


8. In 1954, a soccer match in Italy between Fiorentina and Pistoiese was suspended because multiple unidentified flying objects were spotted above the stadium and the whole city of Florence. After a while, a white, sticky substance started falling from the sky. What happened is still a mystery.


9. A football match between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969, which El Salvador won to secure a World Cup spot, started a war between these countries that lasted 100 hours, with more than 2000 people losing their lives.


10. The Death Match was the nickname given to a historic World War II football match between the occupying German forces, Falkelf, and a team of Ukrainian locals. The aim was to demonstrate the dominance of German sportsmanship. However, they lost 5-3, not realizing that the opposing team was made up of former Dynamo Kiev players.


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11 Foggy Football: Sam Bartram’s Solo Stand

Foggy Football: Sam Bartram's Solo Stand

Heavy fog in 1937 forced the cancellation of a football match in the UK shortly after it started. While everyone else departed, goalkeeper Sam Bartram, unaware of the referee’s decision, silently guarded his goal for 15 minutes until a policeman informed him of the cancellation.


12. In a 1972 World Cup qualifier, an error by the U.S. Soccer Federation left the U.S. team shorthanded, necessitating the inclusion of a fan from the stands to start the game.


13. Drug lords Pablo Escobar and El Mexicano once wagered $2 million on a soccer match. Each handpicked a dream team of professional soccer players and flew them to Escobar’s residence to compete on his private field.


14. During World War II, there was an Edinburgh derby football match that was shrouded in such dense fog that neither the commentator nor the spectators could discern the action. The commentator refrained from mentioning the fog to prevent potential eavesdropping by Germans. Instead, he fabricated details of a fictional match, which purportedly ended 6-5.


15. The Battle of Santiago was a football match during the 1962 FIFA World Cup that was played between the hosts Chile and Italy. It stands out as one of the most violent soccer matches ever, prompting the referee to introduce the red and yellow cards, which are still used today.


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16 Hillsborough Tragedy: Liverpool vs. Nottingham

Hillsborough Tragedy: Liverpool vs. Nottingham

In 1989, 96 people were tragically crushed to death at a soccer game held at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The match was an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. This tragic incident led to significant changes in stadium safety regulations and crowd management practices.


17. The highest score in a football match occurred during a Madagascar championship match in 2002, resulting in a lopsided 149-0 scoreline, with 148 of those goals being own goals. This unprecedented outcome stemmed from a pre-planned protest over refereeing decisions that had gone against the team during a previous four-team playoff tournament, marking a unique and controversial event in sporting history.


18. In a 2018 English women’s football (soccer) match, the referee, lacking a coin for the pregame coin toss, resorted to having the team captains play rock paper scissors to determine the team to kick-off. The FA subsequently suspended the referee for three weeks.


19. The World War I Christmas Truce of 1914 saw French, German, and British soldiers unexpectedly convene in no man’s land to exchange gifts, food, and conversation. Amidst the ongoing fighting elsewhere in the trenches, a soccer game spontaneously broke out.


20. In the first-ever international football match in 1872, England deployed a 1-1-8 formation, while Scotland opted for a 2-2-6 formation. Despite the abundance of forwards, the match ended in a scoreless draw.


15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History


21 Burnden Park Crush: Bolton Tragedy

Burnden Park Crush: Bolton Tragedy

The Burnden Park Disaster marked a tragic crowd crush at a football match in Bolton, England, in 1946, resulting in the loss of 33 lives. Remarkably, despite the harrowing scene of the deceased laying at the side of the pitch, the game resumed just 30 minutes after the crush occurred.


22. In a 2010 soccer friendly, Bahrain defeated Togo 3-0, yet curiously, no one in Togo was aware of the game’s occurrence. Suspicions arose of a match-fixing syndicate orchestrating the event and sending an entirely fictitious team to participate.


23. During a soccer match between Iran and Denmark, an Iranian player mistakenly believed a whistle from the crowd signaled halftime and handled the ball in the penalty area. Danish player Morten Wieghorst intentionally missed the resulting penalty, leading to Denmark’s 1-0 defeat.


24. Lee Todd received the fastest red card in a football match in just two seconds for yelling, “Fu*k me, that was loud,” when the referee blew the whistle to begin the game.


25. A Colombian football player who scored an ‘own goal’ in a 1994 World Cup match against the US was tragically murdered afterward, becoming a scapegoat for the team’s upset loss. Unbelievably, one of the attackers yelled “goal!” with every shot.


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