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Maradona’s Magic Moment heads 5 best ever World Cup finals

| 13.07.2014

With Germany set to go head-to-head with Argentia in the World Cup final this Sunday, football fans across the globe are bracing themselves for another classic encounter between these two old rivals of the game.

Die Mannschaft can be backed at 13/10 to take home the trophy in 90 minutes while the Albiceleste are available at 12/5 with the draw on at 21/10 with Ladbrokes ahead of kick-off.

But how will this game stand-up alongside classic World Cup finals of yesteryear? Here are five of the best showdowns in the history of the competition.

England 4-2 West Germany (1966)

We all know the story: England fell behind on 12 minutes with a goal from Helmut Haller, but hit back through Geoff Hurst before Martin Peters put the hosts 2-1 up at half-time. That was the way it stayed until the 89th minute when Wolfgang Weber scored a tap-in to take the game to extra-time.

That set the stage for Hurst to score twice in 30 minutes – the first being a contentious shot that hit the bar and may or may not have crossed the line while the second prompted the much-cherished line of “they think it’s all over…it is now” from commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme.

Brazil 4-1 Italy (1970)

The Selecao’s defining moment at the World Cup, Brazil steamrolled an Azzurri side exhausted from their 4-3 extra-time win over West Germany in the semi-finals but were well worth their win with Pele playing a starring role in his third World Cup final success.

Going in 1-1 at half time, the Samba Boys found their rhythm in the second half with goals from Gerson and Jairzinho alongside the greatest team goal ever witnessed in the final from Carlos Alberto – the perfect way to bring the curtain down on Pele’s World Cup career.

Argentina 3-2 West Germany (1986)

Just edging out La Albiceleste’s 1978 win, this 1986 final was the culmination of Diego Maradona’s finest ever World Cup, despite the playmaker spending much of the game shackled by a German defence determined to mark him out of the game.

It didn’t seem to affect Argentina with Jose Brown heading them into the lead before half-time. Jorge Valdano made it 2-0 after the break but Die Mannschaft weren’t giving up with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller scoring two goals in seven minutes.

But just as the game looked to be heading to extra-time Maradona provided the killer pass for Jorge Burrachaga to score what proved to be the winner.

France 3-0 Brazil (1998)

While much of the pre-match build-up focused on the fitness of Selecao star man Ronaldo, the game itself belonged to France’s very own football icon Zinedine Zidane. Despite a reputation built on silky skills with his feet, the Real Madrid maestro made the difference in the first-half with two headed goals, with Brazil and Ronaldo struggling to make any kind of impact.

The holders pushed for a way back into the game in the second half but couldn’t find a way through – even after Marcel Desailly was dismissed for the hosts. It was left to Emmanuel Petit to seal a first-ever World Cup for France and send a nation into ecstasy.

Italy 1-1 France (2006)

Zidane was the star of the show again eight years later as France went into the World Cup final aiming to extinguish memories of their disastrous defence in 2002 where Les Bleus exited in the group stage.

An early Panenka-style penalty put France in front but the game’s other main star, Marco Materazzi, soon levelled from a corner. The two goalscorers were then involved in a now iconic confrontation that ended in a chest-butt and red card for Zidane. Italy then went on to exorcise the memories of their 1994 World Cup final penalty defeat, with David Trezeguet missing the decisive kick for France.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.