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A glance at last 6 arguably poor World Cup finals

November 20, 2013

The last truly classic World Cup final was Argentina 3, West Germany 2, in 1986, with Jorge Burruchaga getting the winner six minutes from time. The six finals since then, for various reasons, have been let-downs:

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1990: Germany 1, Argentina 0. Andreas Brehme’s penalty in the 85th is the only goal. Argentina’s Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti become the first players to be ejected from a World Cup final. Argentina had one shot on goal and hardly ever ventured forward. “An ugly way to end a disappointing World Cup,” said an Associated Press match report.

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1994: Brazil 0, Italy 0; Brazil wins World Cup final’s first penalty shootout. “Defensive soccer at its tightest - and dullest,” said the AP.

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1998: France 3, Brazil 0. Brazil didn’t come out for warm-ups before the game, and barely made an appearance in the first half. Two-time world player of the year Ronaldo was a shadow of his normal self, having suffered convulsions just hours before the final. “We were apathetic in a game when we couldn’t be apathetic,” said Brazil goalkeeper Taffarel.

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2002: Brazil 2, Germany 0. Ronaldo capitalizes on blunder by German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, and scores twice. Arguably best game of the last six finals. It capped what the AP called a “World Cup of upsets and upstarts.”

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2006: Italy 1, France 1. Italy wins shootout. France captain Zinedine Zidane red-carded in extra time for head-butting Marco Materazzi. “Zidane hurt not only his team, but the sport of soccer itself,” said the AP.

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2010: Spain 1, Netherlands 0. A bad-tempered final with a record 14 yellow cards — two leading to red for the Netherlands’ John Heitinga. “Not by any stretch of the imagination was this a standout World Cup,” said the AP.

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