25 Of The Best World Cup Photos You Have Ever Seen


The World Cup has always sparked masses of emotion amongst soccer fans as well as those players on the field. We’ve got some of the most perfectly captured images right here for you.

Jumping For Joy

This is a photograph of Geoff Hurst jumping in jubilation after scoring England’s winning goal against Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final. The body language says it all, and there’s plenty of background context.

Emotions Are Running High

Ireland’s John Aldridge went berserk at one of the officials in a game against Mexico at USA ‘94 after it took an eternity for him to be allowed onto the pitch as a substitute for Steve Staunton. The gesture and the expression are what this shot is all about, it is very emotionally charged.

First Player To Be Sent Off

Jürgen Klinsmann hit the ground hard following a challenge from Pedro Monzon during the World Cup final between West Germany and Argentina in 1990 – some would say after minimal contact. The photographer captured the theatrics perfectly with Klinsmann at the peak of his performance, thrashing about like a fish. Monzon was shown a red card, making him the first player to be sent off in a World Cup final.

Momentous Occasion

This is the moment Roberto Baggio handed Brazil the 1994 World Cup. The contrasting poses of Baggio and the goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel are critical, but the aerial vantage point creates the space around Baggio which really drums home the notion of him being alone in his misery.

‘Hand Of God’

Argentina’s Diego Maradona scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in 1986. Daniel Motz is one of a few photographers who captured it on film. There are other versions, including one by Bob Thomas where Maradona’s hand is making contact with the ball – that’s a better-timed shot for sure, but Motz’s image has context and suspense, and seems to capture the unfurling drama.

Special Bond

There’s something wonderfully innocent about this shot of Portugal’s Eusebio as he gives an impromptu pitch-side interview in 1966. It wouldn’t happen in a million years nowadays. And just look at all the onlookers. I don’t think football photographs get much more charming than this.

In For The Win

It could be argued that the framing of this image is problematic – if only the image was vertical and the arc of the water spout was intact, was my immediate thought. But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The elated facial expression, the fountain of water and the tension throughout his arms all combine effectively. It shows Italy’s Marco Tardelli after his side won the World Cup in 1982.

It’s A Goal

This is from the 2010 World Cup. Andrés Iniesta had, of course, scored the only goal in the final, hence its relevance.

Shocking Moment

Here’s the moment Alcides Ghiggia shattered Brazilian hearts at the 1950 World Cup. His was the winning goal of what was effectively the World Cup final between Uruguay and Brazil. The juxtaposition of the two main figures – the delighted Ghiggia and his crestfallen opponent – seems to encapsulate the moment perfectly.

Brazil V Turkey

A memorable moment from Brazil v Turkey in 2002 for which Rivaldo would be rightly admonished. Only from up on high do you get a real sense of the foetal position into which the Brazilian had curled after being struck by the ball. His remarkable exaggeration of the incident (he’d been hit on the leg, not the face) seemed to completely throw some of the photographers closest to him; only a couple of them have even aimed their lenses at him; the guy on the left seems perplexed.

Memorable Moment

Another memorable moment, and wow is it a good shot … by the photographer, not by Holland’s Frank Rijkaard. It is comical how oblivious Germany’s Rudi Voller is to what is about to hit him.

Stop That Now

There are several versions of this image of England manager Alf Ramsey preventing George Cohen from exchanging shirts with Argentina’s Alberto Gonzalez after their quarter-final in 1966. It is very amusing, simply for the way the incident has descended into a tug of war.

The irony, here, is that Diego Maradona wasn’t attempting to take on a posse of Belgium players, as the image seems to imply. It’s still a remarkable photograph, though, and one which seems befitting of a player of Maradona’s special quality.

Hair Today

Name the player? Carlos Valderrama, of course. It’s a bizarre image of a bizarre character. There isn’t an inch of flesh or kit in sight. But it’s Valderrama – what better way to photograph him?

Drama Drama Drama On The Pitch

All Tears

A familiar and painful image: Paul Gascoigne bursting into tears after England were knocked out of the World Cup by West Germany in 1990. Even now, when you look at this picture decades later, it still evokes genuine sympathy.

[post_page_titleIf Looks Could Kill[/post_page_title]

Italy’s Franco Baresi, here, with a look that could kill. Italy had just lost in the 1994 World Cup final and Baresi definitely didn’t want that medal.

Fans Make The Magic Moments

Fans are fundamental to the atmosphere of any World Cup. This picture of Argentina’s fans welcoming their team onto the pitch because it’s like a carnival. Everyone has just gone wild. Of course, the toilet roll arcing towards the lens helps. It draws your eye into the frame and gives a sense of proximity to the hoopla.


Everyone remembers the images from the 1966 final – the winning goal, Bobby Moore with the trophy – but this one is just a damn sight more fresh and a damn sight more fun. It features a show-stealing jump from the England physiotherapist Harold Shepherdson. England’s manager, Alf Ramsey, is pictured in the background, being congratulated, while the likes of Peter Bonetti and Jimmy Greaves watch on (to the right of the frame). Shepherdson brilliantly obliterates them all with his enthusiastic outburst.

Incredible Skills

The Holland midfielder Johann Cruyff did many incredible things on a football pitch.This photo leapt to the top of a very ordinary pile partly because of his deft pirouette and partly because the Argentinian player in the background seems to be frozen with disbelief. It happened when Holland played Argentina in 1974, a game in which Cruyff scored twice.

Of all the World Cup photographs, this one makes us smile. It’s a British sailor parading the North Korean goalscorer Pak Seung Zin after they drew with Chile in the 1966 World Cup at Ayresome Park in Middlesbrough. There’s no especial reason to find it funny other than the sailor’s outfit and his incongruous presence on the pitch with the exhausted footballers. It’s just a great snapshot of a bygone era.


David Seaman took some serious consoling after his gaffe against Brazil ensured England were knocked out of the 2002 World Cup at the quarter-final stage. Seaman had allowed himself to be lobbed from distance – not for the first time in his career. This photograph shows that sometimes you don’t need facial expressions to convey emotion. The lettering on his shirt and the two arms around his back communicate the story perfectly.

Zinedine Zidane

Here we see  Zinedine Zidane walking past the World Cup after being sent off for head butting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 final, which France then lost. The huge expanse of black here, sets the dramatic tone, while the haunted pose says all that needs to be said of Zidane’s plight

The Storm Has Arrived

This is a powerful shot. The shade of the skyline is truly electric and perfectly compliments the different shades of blue in the jerseys and flags. What’s more, his drained expression is rather apposite given the pressure Argentina had faced on home soil.

He Shoots, He……

This image is simple and clean. It’s Pelé fooling the Uruguay goalkeeper with the so-called ‘runaround move’ at the 1970 World Cup. Imagine how much more celebrated it would be if he’d actually scored. It could be as loved as the shot of him wearing a sombrero at Mexico’s Azteca Stadium after victory in 1970.