Best Finals in World Cup history: The FIFA World Cup is a massive sporting event that people from all around the world eagerly anticipate. The recently concluded World Cup Finals were particularly exciting, filled with suspense, and brought out a mix of emotions, including joy and sadness.
The World Cup Final is considered the most significant match of the entire tournament, where the top two teams face off. The final showcases the best of football, with lots of skill on display.
Best Finals in World Cup history
Throughout the history of the World Cup, there have been many memorable finals, and here are the top 10.
10. 1974 World Cup Final: West Germany 2-1 Netherlands
In the 1974 World Cup finals, there was a big match between rivals West Germany and the Netherlands. The Dutch team, led by Johan Cruyff, had been impressive throughout the tournament with their unique style of play known as “total football.” They reached the final without letting any goals in. Meanwhile, West Germany was the European champion at that time.
The final started with the Dutch taking the lead by scoring a penalty within the first two minutes, even before the Germans had a chance to touch the ball. However, West Germany quickly equalized with a penalty of their own. Before the first half ended, Gerd Muller scored in the 43rd minute, putting West Germany ahead 2-1.
In the second half, both teams had opportunities to score, but neither succeeded. The score remained the same, and West Germany became the first team to win both the European Nations Cup and the World Cup.
9. 1998 World Cup Final: France 3-0 Brazil
In the 1998 World Cup final, host country France played against the defending champion Brazil. Brazil was expected to win, but there was controversy before the match when they didn’t initially include Ronaldo, the best player of the tournament, in their lineup. He was initially said to be unfit but was later added to the starting team.
The final turned out to be Zinedine Zidane’s shining moment. The French midfielder performed exceptionally well, scoring two goals in the first half before the Brazilians could score.
In the second half, Emmanuel Petit scored during stoppage time, making the final score 3-0. This victory marked France’s first-ever World Cup win in history.
8. 2006 World Cup Final: France 1-1 Italy
The 2006 World Cup final is memorable for various reasons, especially the moment when the French team captain, Zinedine Zidane, headbutted Marco Materazzi and received a red card in the last match of his career.
France took an early lead with Zidane scoring a beautiful penalty kick in the seventh minute after Materazzi committed a foul. However, Materazzi redeemed himself by equalizing for Italy in the 19th minute.
Despite efforts from both sides, neither team scored again in regular or extra time. In the penalty shootout, David Trezeguet missed the goal, and as a result, Italy became world champions for the fourth time.
7. 1970 World Cup Final: Brazil 4-1 Italy
The 1970 World Cup final was unique as it was the first time two former champions faced each other. This match marked the last World Cup victories for the legendary Pele, securing three titles and setting a record that’s hard to match. Both Brazil and Italy had won the cup twice before reaching the final.
In the 18th minute, Brazil took the lead, but Italy managed to equalize in the 38th minute due to a defensive error by Brazil. However, in the second half, Brazil’s attacking strength proved too much for Italy’s solid defense, and they scored three more goals, ending with a 4-1 victory.
This triumph earned Brazil its third star on the yellow jersey, symbolizing their three World Cup victories.
6. 1986 World Cup Final: West Germany 2-3 Argentina
The 1986 World Cup is well-remembered for Maradona’s remarkable performance, leading Argentina to their second World Cup victory against West Germany, who reached the final for the second consecutive time.
Argentina took an early lead in the first half, securing a two-goal advantage until the 56th minute. However, the Germans staged an impressive comeback, equalizing within seven minutes to make it 2-2.
But just before the end of the match, Jorge Baruchaga capitalized on an assist from Maradona, securing Argentina’s second World Cup win in 8 years.
5. 1966 World Cup Final: West Germany 2-4 England
England’s only World Cup victory occurred in 1966 when it hosted the tournament, facing West Germany in a thrilling match. Both teams took turns leading the score. The Germans went ahead in just 12 minutes, but Geoff Hurst equalized for England just five minutes later.
In the 78th minute, Martin Peters scored, giving the Three Lions the lead. However, the Germans managed to equalize in the 89th minute, forcing the match into extra time. In the 101st minute, Geoff Hurst scored a crucial goal for England, and here’s where the controversy arose.
Replays suggested that the ball might not have crossed the goal line, but the referee confirmed the goal’s legitimacy. Hurst completed a hat-trick in the 120th minute, making him the first player to score three goals in a World Cup final.
4. 1978 World Cup Final: Argentina 3-1 Netherlands
Whenever Argentina faces the Netherlands, their matches are always intriguing. The 1978 World Cup final was no exception. The Netherlands made it to the final for the second consecutive time, facing Argentina, the host country. Tensions rose before the match as the Dutch accused the Argentines of intentionally delaying the game, fueling the hostility between the teams.
In the 38th minute, Argentina took the lead with a goal from Mario Kempes. The Dutch fought hard and managed to equalize in the 82nd minute when Dick Nanninga scored.
The match went into extra time, and that’s when the hosts, cheered on by their fans, scored two goals, securing their first-ever World Cup victory in history.
3. 1954 World Cup Final: West Germany 3-2 Hungary
The 1954 World Cup Final is considered one of the greatest matches in World Cup history. The outcome was a major surprise as West Germany managed to defeat the highly regarded Hungarians, who were the clear favorites thrillingly.
Hungary started the match strongly, scoring two goals within the first ten minutes. However, the German team responded, and by the 18th minute, the score was tied at 2-2.
Despite Hungary controlling much of the match, the Germans seized one of their few opportunities, taking the lead in the 84th minute, making it 3-2. They held on until the end, securing West Germany’s first-ever World Cup victory.
2. 1950 World Cup Final: Brazil 1-2 Uruguay
The 1950 World Cup final was far from ordinary as the winner was determined by a league system. However, when Brazil faced Uruguay in the last match, it was considered the decisive final. The stakes were low for Brazil, needing only to avoid defeat to become champions, while Uruguay had to win.
Brazil was the favorite after a strong performance in previous matches. Uruguay managed to hold on in the first half, keeping the score level. However, they collapsed early in the second half.
As Uruguay aimed for a draw, Brazil’s defensive weaknesses became apparent, leading to two goals against them. The loss in front of 200,000 spectators at the Maracana Stadium became the biggest disappointment in the history of Brazilian football.
1. 2022 World Cup Final: Argentina 3-3 France
This World Cup final is considered the most beautiful in history. Messi, in his last chance to lift the trophy, faced off against a formidable French team aiming for a second consecutive title. Argentina started strong, leading 2-0 at halftime. However, France bounced back with a penalty kick, and shortly after, top scorer Mbappe scored, leveling the score at 2-2.
The match went to extra time. Messi scored in the 108th minute, and just when Argentina seemed set for victory, France equalized again with a penalty kick from Mbappe in the 118th minute.
Randall Colo had a chance to bring glory to his country, but goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made a remarkable save, continuing to shine in penalty kicks and securing Argentina’s first title since 1986.