FIFA World Cup Finals: Ranking The 7 Best Ever

FIFA World Cup Finals: Ranking the 7 Best Ever - Relive the epic moments, drama, and brilliance of these historic matches that shaped international football. Read now!

Imagine the thrill of witnessing the greatest moments in the history of the FIFA World Cup Finals, where nations clash on the grandest stage of all. From iconic goals to breathtaking saves, these matches have left an indelible mark on the beautiful game. In this article, we will take a journey through time and rank the seven best World Cup Finals ever, reliving the drama, the passion, and the sheer brilliance that has made this tournament the pinnacle of international football. So sit back, grab a cup of tea, and prepare to be transported to a world where heroes are made and legends are forged.

1954: West Germany vs Hungary

Overview

The 1954 FIFA World Cup final between West Germany and Hungary was a thrilling and historic match that captivated football fans around the world. It took place on July 4, 1954, in Bern, Switzerland, and is often referred to as the “Miracle of Bern.”

Key Moments

One of the key moments of the match occurred in the eighth minute when Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarian forward, scored the opening goal. This put Hungary in a favorable position and left the German team stunned. However, the resilient German side didn’t give up and equalized in the 10th minute with a goal from Max Morlock. The game continued with both teams displaying impressive skills and determination.

The turning point of the match came in the 84th minute when Helmut Rahn scored the winning goal for West Germany, securing a 3-2 victory. This unexpected outcome marked a significant upset, as Hungary was considered one of the strongest teams at the time.

Significance

The 1954 World Cup final holds immense significance in the history of football. It was the first time that West Germany had won the prestigious tournament, solidifying their place as a footballing nation. The victory also brought joy and a sense of unity to a country that was still recovering from the aftermath of World War II.

The match further highlighted the power of perseverance and determination. West Germany’s comeback against the formidable Hungarian team showcased the strength of the human spirit and inspired generations of football players and fans around the world.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

Several factors contribute to the ranking of the 1954 World Cup final as one of the best ever. Firstly, the matchup between West Germany and Hungary was a clash of titans, with both teams boasting exceptional talent and skill. The high level of competition and intensity throughout the match made it a spectacle to watch.

Secondly, the unexpected victory of West Germany against the favored Hungarian team added an element of surprise and excitement to the final. The underdog story and the dramatic turnaround in the closing minutes added to the overall appeal and significance of the match.

Lastly, the 1954 final marked a turning point in the development of German football. It instilled a sense of pride and confidence in the German players, paving the way for their future success on the international stage. This match laid the foundation for Germany’s football dominance in the decades to come.

Overall, the 1954 World Cup final between West Germany and Hungary remains a memorable and iconic moment in football history, showcasing the beauty and drama of the beautiful game.

1970: Brazil vs Italy

Overview

The 1970 FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Italy is widely regarded as one of the greatest matches in football history. Taking place on June 21, 1970, in Mexico City, this final captivated the world with its exceptional display of skill, artistry, and team play.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match were filled with breathtaking goals and mesmerizing plays. Roberto Boninsegna scored the opening goal for Italy in the 8th minute, but Brazil quickly responded with a stunning equalizer from Pele in the 18th minute. The game continued with a relentless display of attacking football from both sides.

In the 66th minute, the world witnessed one of the most iconic goals in football history. Carlos Alberto scored a thunderous strike after a beautiful team buildup, securing Brazil’s victory with a 4-1 scoreline. This goal exemplified the fluidity, creativity, and teamwork that Brazil was renowned for during this era.

Significance

The significance of the 1970 World Cup final goes beyond the result of the match. It symbolized the peak of Brazilian football and showcased the beauty and artistry that the nation was capable of producing on the football field. Brazil’s style of play, known as “samba football,” captivated the world and left a lasting impression on subsequent generations of players and fans.

The final also marked Brazil’s third World Cup victory, solidifying their status as the most successful nation in the tournament’s history. It was a moment of triumph and glory for Brazil, as they showcased their dominance and redefined the way the game was played.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

The 1970 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy is ranked among the best due to several factors. Firstly, the match featured two of the most talented teams of that era, with Brazil boasting an array of legendary players like Pele, Jairzinho, and Carlos Alberto, and Italy fielding a formidable side as well.

Secondly, the quality of the goals scored during the final was exceptional. From Pele’s equalizer to Carlos Alberto’s thunderous strike, the match was filled with memorable moments of individual brilliance and team play.

Lastly, the impact of Brazil’s playing style and their influence on the future of football cannot be overstated. The 1970 final showcased the epitome of attacking and attacking football and set a benchmark for future generations of players and teams.

Overall, the 1970 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy remains a shining example of the beauty and artistry of the game, leaving an indelible mark on football history.

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1978: Argentina vs Netherlands

Overview

The 1978 FIFA World Cup final between Argentina and the Netherlands was a highly anticipated matchup that captivated the world. Held on June 25, 1978, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this final was characterized by intense competition and a fierce battle between two talented teams.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match showcased the intensity and physicality of the game. The Netherlands dominated possession and created several scoring opportunities, but the Argentine goalkeeper, Ubaldo Fillol, made crucial saves to keep his team in the game.

In the 37th minute, Mario Kempes opened the scoring for Argentina with a powerful strike. The Netherlands responded in the 82nd minute with a goal from Dick Nanninga, forcing the match into extra time. Kempes once again became the hero for Argentina, scoring another goal in the 105th minute, securing their victory with a final score of 3-1.

Significance

The significance of the 1978 World Cup final lies in Argentina’s triumph and the impact it had on the nation. This victory came at a time when Argentina was facing political turmoil and social unrest. The success on the football field provided a temporary escape for the nation, fostering a sense of national unity and pride.

Additionally, the final showcased the talent and determination of the Argentine team, led by the iconic player, Mario Kempes. It solidified Argentina’s position as a force to be reckoned with in international football and set the stage for their future success in the sport.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

The 1978 World Cup final between Argentina and the Netherlands is ranked among the best because of several factors. Firstly, the intense competition and physicality of the match made it a gripping spectacle for fans around the world. Both teams fought tooth and nail for victory, showcasing their technical skills and tactical prowess.

Secondly, the significance of Argentina’s victory and its impact on the nation cannot be overlooked. The triumph provided a momentary reprieve from political tensions and socioeconomic hardships, allowing the nation to come together and celebrate their footballing success.

Lastly, the individual performances of players like Mario Kempes and Ubaldo Fillol elevated the match to a higher level. Kempes’ goals and Fillol’s saves demonstrated their exceptional skills and contributed to the overall excitement and drama of the final.

In conclusion, the 1978 World Cup final between Argentina and the Netherlands left a lasting imprint on football history, both for its competitive nature and the impact it had on the nation. It remains one of the most memorable and significant finals in FIFA World Cup history.

1982: Italy vs West Germany

Overview

The 1982 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and West Germany was a thrilling encounter that captivated football fans with its high-scoring affair and dramatic twists. Held on July 11, 1982, in Madrid, Spain, this final showcased the attacking prowess of both teams and remains etched in the memories of football enthusiasts.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match were filled with incredible goals and nail-biting action. Pierre Littbarski opened the scoring for West Germany in the 17th minute, but Italy quickly responded with a goal from Paolo Rossi only three minutes later. The first half ended with a 1-1 scoreline, setting the stage for an enthralling showdown.

In the second half, Rossi became the hero for Italy, scoring two more goals in the 57th and 81st minutes, completing his hat-trick. However, West Germany fought back and scored two goals of their own in the 83rd and 90th minutes, sending the match into extra time. Italy ultimately emerged victorious with a 3-1 scoreline.

Significance

The significance of the 1982 World Cup final lies in Italy’s triumph and their journey to redemption. Four years prior to the final, Italy failed to qualify for the tournament, but in 1982, they proved their resilience and determination by lifting the trophy. The victory served as a symbol of resurgence for Italian football and brought immense joy to the nation.

Furthermore, the final showcased the attacking prowess of both teams and is widely regarded as one of the greatest showcases of attacking football in World Cup history. The relentless back-and-forth between Italy and West Germany resulted in five goals and kept fans on the edge of their seats.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

Several factors contribute to the ranking of the 1982 World Cup final as one of the best ever. Firstly, the sheer number of goals and the dramatic swings in momentum made it an incredibly exciting match to watch. The relentless attacking from both teams created a spectacle that showcased the beauty and excitement of the game.

Secondly, Italy’s journey to redemption and their triumph against a formidable West German side added an element of narrative and underdog story. Italy’s resurgence after failing to qualify in the previous tournament captured the hearts of football fans worldwide.

Lastly, the individual performances of players like Paolo Rossi and Pierre Littbarski added to the overall quality and excitement of the final. Rossi’s hat-trick and Littbarski’s goal demonstrated their exceptional skills and contributed to the intensity of the match.

In conclusion, the 1982 World Cup final between Italy and West Germany remains a memorable and iconic match in football history. Its high-scoring affair, dramatic twists, and the journey of redemption for Italy make it a worthy contender in the list of the best World Cup finals.

1986: Argentina vs West Germany

Overview

The 1986 FIFA World Cup final between Argentina and West Germany was a thrilling contest that showcased the brilliance and genius of one of football’s greatest players, Diego Maradona. Held on June 29, 1986, in Mexico City, this final remains one of the most memorable matches in football history.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match were largely defined by Diego Maradona’s prowess and impact on the game. In the 23rd minute, Maradona scored one of the most controversial goals in World Cup history – the “Hand of God” goal. Despite clear evidence of handball, the goal stood and put Argentina in the lead.

Four minutes later, Maradona scored what is often considered the greatest goal in World Cup history. He dribbled past several German defenders before calmly slotting the ball into the net. West Germany fought back with a goal from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in the 74th minute but ultimately fell short, and Argentina emerged victorious with a 3-2 scoreline.

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Significance

The significance of the 1986 World Cup final lies in Diego Maradona’s impact and the legacy he left on the game. Maradona’s performance throughout the tournament, particularly in the final, solidified his status as one of football’s all-time greats. He showcased his skill, vision, and sheer determination, leaving an indelible mark on football history.

Additionally, the final encapsulated the rivalry between Argentina and Germany, two football powerhouses. The match represented a clash of styles – Argentina’s flair and technicality against Germany’s discipline and efficiency. The victory for Argentina served as a moment of national pride and further enhanced their reputation as a footballing nation.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

The 1986 World Cup final between Argentina and West Germany ranks among the best due to various factors. Firstly, Diego Maradona’s mesmerizing performance and the legendary “Hand of God” and “Goal of the Century” goals showcased the genius and artistry of one of football’s greatest players. The awe-inspiring nature of those moments alone elevates the match to legendary status.

Secondly, the clash of styles between Argentina and West Germany added to the intrigue and excitement of the final. It pitted two footballing philosophies against each other and showcased the diversity and beauty of the global game.

Lastly, the overall quality of the match, with five goals scored, showcased the attacking prowess of both teams. The back-and-forth nature of the game, combined with Maradona’s brilliance, created a mesmerizing spectacle that captivated fans worldwide.

In conclusion, the 1986 World Cup final between Argentina and West Germany remains a defining moment in football history. Maradona’s genius and the clash of styles between two footballing powerhouses make it a standout match that will be remembered for generations to come.

1998: France vs Brazil

Overview

The 1998 FIFA World Cup final between France and Brazil was a momentous occasion that marked the crowning of a new footballing powerhouse and the end of an era. Held on July 12, 1998, in Saint-Denis, France, this final showcased the host nation’s strength and the brilliance of their star players.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match featured dominant performances from the French team, while Brazil struggled to find their rhythm. In the 27th minute, Zinedine Zidane scored the opening goal for France with a remarkable header. Just before halftime, Emmanuel Petit sealed the victory for France with a calm finish, securing a 3-0 win.

Brazil, who had entered the final as favorites, failed to pose a significant threat to the French defense throughout the match. Ronaldo, their star striker, looked far from his best and struggled to make an impact.

Significance

The significance of the 1998 World Cup final lies in France’s emergence as a footballing powerhouse and the birth of a golden generation of French players. The victory marked the first time France had won the World Cup, and it solidified their place among the elite nations in international football.

Furthermore, the triumph on home soil brought immense joy and pride to the French nation and helped foster a sense of unity and identity. It was a moment of celebration for a diverse country that found solace and inspiration in the sport.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

Several factors contribute to the ranking of the 1998 World Cup final as one of the best ever. Firstly, the dominance of the French team and their ability to dismantle the highly regarded Brazilian side showcased their talent and strength as a team.

Secondly, the significance of France’s victory on home soil adds to the overall appeal of the final. The emotional connection between the team and the nation created a memorable atmosphere and added an extra layer of importance to the match.

Lastly, the quality of the goals scored, particularly Zidane’s remarkable header, added to the spectacle and excitement of the final. The skill and technique displayed by the players elevated the match to a higher level.

In conclusion, the 1998 World Cup final between France and Brazil remains a significant milestone in football history. France’s emergence as a footballing powerhouse, combined with the dominance of their performance, make it a timeless and memorable match.

2006: Italy vs France

Overview

The 2006 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and France was a dramatic and intense showdown that culminated in an unforgettable penalty shootout. Held on July 9, 2006, in Berlin, Germany, this final showcased the resilience and determination of both teams.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match were filled with tension and drama. Zinedine Zidane, playing in his final professional match, opened the scoring for France with a penalty kick in the seventh minute. However, Marco Materazzi equalized for Italy in the 19th minute, sending the match into extra time.

The most infamous moment of the final occurred in the 110th minute when Zidane headbutted Materazzi and was shown a red card. Despite being down to ten men, the French team held out, and the match went to a penalty shootout. Italy eventually emerged as the victors, winning 5-3 on penalties.

Significance

The significance of the 2006 World Cup final lies in Italy’s triumph and their redemption from the disappointment of previous tournaments. Italy had endured a period of underachievement in international football, but their victory in 2006 marked a resurgence and solidified their status as one of the world’s top teams.

The match also marked the end of Zinedine Zidane’s illustrious career, although marred by the headbutt incident. Zidane’s influence on the game and his status as one of football’s greatest players added an element of intrigue and emotion to the final.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

Several factors contribute to the ranking of the 2006 World Cup final as one of the best ever. Firstly, the intense and dramatic nature of the match, culminating in a penalty shootout, created an extraordinary spectacle for fans. The high stakes and pressure-cooker environment made it a captivating and nerve-wracking affair.

Secondly, Italy’s redemption and resurgence as a footballing nation cannot be overlooked. The victory in 2006 brought joy and pride to a country that had experienced years of underachievement, and it laid the foundation for their subsequent success in international competitions.

Lastly, the headbutt incident involving Zidane added to the intrigue and controversy of the final. It was a moment that generated worldwide attention and dominated post-match discussions. While the incident was regrettable, it underscored the passion and emotions that can arise in the heat of competition.

In conclusion, the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France remains etched in football history as a tense and dramatic showdown. Italy’s redemption, Zidane’s farewell, and the overall spectacle make it one of the most memorable and significant finals in recent years.

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2010: Spain vs Netherlands

Overview

The 2010 FIFA World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands was a hard-fought battle between two teams determined to make history. Held on July 11, 2010, in Johannesburg, South Africa, this final showcased the tactical prowess and defensive resilience of both sides.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match were marked by the physicality and intensity of the competition. Both teams displayed a strong defensive performance, resulting in a goalless draw in regulation time.

In the 116th minute, Andres Iniesta emerged as the hero for Spain, scoring a goal from close range after receiving a pass from Cesc Fabregas. This goal secured a 1-0 victory for Spain and their first-ever World Cup triumph.

Significance

The significance of the 2010 World Cup final lies in Spain’s triumph and their introduction of a new style of football. Spain’s victory marked the culmination of years of development and highlighted their mastery of the tiki-taka playing style, characterized by quick and precise passing and high possession.

The final also showcased the defensive resilience of both teams. The match was filled with tactical battles and gritty challenges, underscoring the importance of a solid defense in modern football.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

Several factors contribute to the ranking of the 2010 World Cup final as one of the best ever. Firstly, the tactical battle between Spain and the Netherlands showcased the strategic side of the game. Both teams displayed discipline and tactical acumen, making it a fascinating contest for football enthusiasts.

Secondly, Spain’s triumph and their unique style of play revolutionized the game. Their ability to dominate possession and control matches through their intricate passing and fluid movement set a new standard for international football.

Lastly, the tense and physical nature of the final created an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. The clash of styles and the high stakes of the match made it an enthralling spectacle for fans worldwide.

In conclusion, the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands remains a crucial moment in football history, with Spain’s triumph and their introduction of a new style of play serving as its highlights. The final showcased the strategic side of the game and left a lasting impact on the future development of football.

2014: Germany vs Argentina

Overview

The 2014 FIFA World Cup final between Germany and Argentina was a highly anticipated clash between two footballing giants. Held on July 13, 2014, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this final showcased the talent, teamwork, and resilience of both teams.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match were characterized by intense competition and a relentless pursuit of victory. Despite several chances for both teams, the match remained scoreless until the 113th minute when Mario Gotze scored a stunning goal for Germany after controlling a cross with his chest and slotting the ball into the net.

Argentina fought hard to find an equalizer but fell short, and Germany emerged as the victors with a 1-0 scoreline.

Significance

The significance of the 2014 World Cup final lies in Germany’s triumph and their establishment as a dominant force in international football. It marked Germany’s fourth World Cup victory, cementing their status as one of the most successful nations in the tournament’s history.

Additionally, the final showcased the strategic and tactical brilliance of both teams. The match was a battle of wits between German coach Joachim Low and Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella, and the quality of football on display was a testament to their tactical acumen.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

Several factors contribute to the ranking of the 2014 World Cup final as one of the best ever. Firstly, the high level of competition between Germany and Argentina demonstrated the talent and skill of both teams. The match was filled with technical brilliance and provided fans with a showcase of elite football.

Secondly, the significance of Germany’s victory and their dominance throughout the tournament adds to the appeal of the final. Germany’s successful campaign showcased their collective strength and showcased the depth of talent within their squad.

Lastly, the quality of the winning goal scored by Mario Gotze was exceptional. It was a moment of pure skill and highlighted the individual brilliance that can make the difference in highly contested matches.

In conclusion, the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina remains a memorable and significant event in football history. The intense competition, strategic brilliance, and Germany’s triumph solidify its place among the best World Cup finals.

2018: France vs Croatia

Overview

The 2018 FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia was a thrilling encounter that showcased the talent, youth, and resilience of the French team. Held on July 15, 2018, in Moscow, Russia, this final marked the crowning of a new generation of French players.

Key Moments

The key moments of the match were filled with goals and exciting plays from both sides. In the 18th minute, Croatia faced an unfortunate setback when Mario Mandzukic scored an own goal, giving France a 1-0 lead. Croatia quickly equalized in the 28th minute through an Ivan Perisic strike.

Four minutes later, controversy struck as Perisic handled the ball, resulting in a penalty kick for France. Antoine Griezmann made no mistake from the spot and put France in the lead. Further goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe secured a 4-2 victory for France, with Mandzukic scoring again for Croatia.

Significance

The significance of the 2018 World Cup final lies in France’s triumph and the emergence of a new generation of footballing stars. The victory marked France’s second World Cup title and solidified their position as one of the sport’s powerhouses.

The final also signaled the arrival of young talent, with players like Kylian Mbappe showcasing their skill and ability on the biggest stage. It marked a changing of the guard in international football, with a new generation of players ready to take the mantle.

Factors Contributing to its Ranking

Several factors contribute to the ranking of the 2018 World Cup final as one of the best ever. Firstly, the exciting and attacking brand of football displayed by both teams created a thrilling spectacle for fans. The match was filled with goals and skillful plays, captivating audiences worldwide.

Secondly, France’s victory and the emergence of young talent showcased the strength and depth of their squad. The team’s collective effort, combined with the individual brilliance of players like Mbappe and Griezmann, was a testament to France’s quality.

Lastly, the overall entertainment factor of the match, with six goals scored, made it a memorable and exciting spectacle. The back-and-forth nature of the game and the high stakes involved created an atmosphere of intense anticipation and thrill.

In conclusion, the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia provided a fitting end to the tournament, with thrilling football on display and the crowning of a new generation of stars. The final’s significance and overall quality solidify its place among the best World Cup finals.