The costliest misses in World Cup history

13th Jun 2018

The World Cup is not an ideal place to fluff your lines. But, with so much at stake, nerves can often play a part when a player finds themselves in front of goal.

The tournament has produced some shocking misses over the years and AskFans has taken a trip down memory lane to pick out some of the most costliest howlers.

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Kevin Keegan: England vs Spain (1982)

The 1982 World Cup second-round game between England and Spain is one that remains in many fans' memories as substitute Kevin Keegan narrowly missed a header to cost the Three Lions a chance of making it into the semi-finals.

Diana Ross: USA opening ceremony (1994)

The opening ceremony of the 1994 United States World Cup was meant to feature Diana Ross scoring a penalty into an empty net that would then dramatically fold away.

Unfortunately she was wide by a few feet – but the episode still makes for a good watch on YouTube – even if it did cost Ross her dignity.

READ MORE: Plenty of big-name players have been snubbed!


Richard Morales: Uruguay vs Senegal (2002)

An open goal should be a piece of cake for a world-class footballer.

But the Uruguay striker's injury time miss meant a 3-3 draw with Senegal was not enough to progress to the knock-out stages.

Christian Vieri: Italy vs South Korea (2002)

Vieri missed an open goal in the 89th minute of this last-16 clash just moments after Seol Ki Hyeon had equalised.

The game went to extra time, but this didn’t help Italy’s cause as South Korea scored another goal to secure a dramatic win.


Ayegbeni Yakubu: Nigeria vs South Korea (2010)

South Africa’s World Cup produced another truly horrific miss as Nigeria’s Ayegbeni Yakubu shot wide from a couple of yards out.

Yakubu was able to make amends somewhat by scoring later on in the game, leading to a 2-2 draw.

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David Trezeguet: France vs Italy (2006)

You can only imagine the pressure that comes with playing in a World Cup final – let alone having to score a World Cup final penalty.

The nerves got to Trezeguet who, unfortunately, shot his penalty straight into the crossbar. Italy ended up taking the cup home for a fourth time.


Roberto Baggio: Brazil vs Italy (1994)

Here we have another World Cup final penalty shoot-out featuring Italy. This time, however, luck was not with the Italians, with Roberto Baggio blazing over.

Arjen Robben: Netherlands vs Spain (2010)

The 2010 World Cup final saw one of the most glaring misses of all time.

Robben was sent clean through but fired wide and Spain went on to lift the trophy courtesy of Andres Iniesta's extra-time goal. Robben has even said that he will always be 'haunted' by this miss.


Pelé: Uruguay vs Brazil (1970)

Even the greatest can fail and Pelé is no exception. At the 1970 World Cup when Brazil faced Uruguay Pelé administered what is now know as the ‘Pelé Runaround Move’ in order to bamboozle the goalkeeper.

Although Pele executed the move immaculately, he then failed to prod the goal into an empty net. If he had scored, it would have gone down as one of the best goals of all time.

By Alex Yates

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