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World Cup records

Sending-offs and scoring subs

April 23, 2010
By Mark Lomas
(Archive)

Each time the World Cup rolls around, enduring football memories are created on the biggest stage of them all and the tournament's history books rewritten. Here, Soccernet tells the stories of those players, coaches and teams who can already claim to hold a place in the record books.

Most all-time sending-offs: 10 - Argentina

Pedro monzan
GettyImages Argentina's Pedro Monzon becomes the first player to be sent off in a World Cup final in 1990

It probably comes as little surprise that this particular 'accolade' can be claimed by a South American nation - with the continent responsible for a football paradox of producing both the most entertaining teams in history and the most ill-disciplined. Red and yellow cards were first introduced at the 1970 World Cup but both cautions and dismissals already existed - and the first Argentinean to receive his marching orders was Rafael Albrecht against West Germany in the 1966 group stage.

Albrecht's dismissal was vehemently opposed by his team-mates and coach Juan Carlos Lorenzo, so much so that FIFA issued a warning to the team to behave in a more sporting way in future matches. Notice appeared to be taken in the next game against Switzerland but La Albiceleste were back to their old ways when captain Antonio Rattin was sent off in the 1-0 quarter-final defeat to England. A good 16 years elapsed before Argentina's next World Cup dismissal in 1982, but the reigning champions decided to make up for lost time as Americo Gallego saw red in the 2-1 second group stage defeat to Italy, before Diego Maradona left the field in the very next game - a 3-1 loss to bitter rivals Brazil.

The triumphant 1986 campaign saw no dismissals but the 1990 World Cup brought a flurry of red cards in Argentina's matches, with eight in all, though not always for the men in white and blue. In the opening game, Andre Kana-Biyik and Benjamin Massing were sent-off for Cameroon but the Indomitable Lions held on for a 1-0 win in one of the biggest shocks in finals history. Vladimir Bessonov of the Soviet Union saw red in the next game, while Brazil's Ricardo Gomes and Yugoslavia's Refik Savanadzovic both received their marching orders in subsequent fixtures.

In the semi-final against Italy, Argentina received their first dismissal of the tournament when Ricardo Giusti was sent off in extra-time, though Carlos Bilardo's side emerged victorious on penalties. In the final, a repeat of the 1986 showpiece with West Germany, history was made when Pedro Monzon was controversially sent-off for a two-footed lunge on Jurgen Klinsmann - becoming the first player to be red carded in a World Cup final. Just 22 minutes later, and two minutes after Andreas Brehme had scored what would prove the winner from the penalty spot, Gustavo Dezotti became the second player to be dismissed for hauling Jurgen Kohler to the ground - all but ending Argentina's hopes of retaining the trophy.

At the 1994 finals, Argentina kept it clean (aside from Mr Maradona's drug-related indiscretion), but in 1998, Ariel Ortega made himself No.8 on Argentina's dismissal list after headbutting Edwin van der Sar in the 2-1 semi-final defeat to the Netherlands. Four years later and Claudio Caniggia became the first player in World Cup history be sent off from the substitutes' bench, after referee Ali Bujsam heard the striker make some choice comments in the final group game against Sweden. The 'perfect' ten was brought up by another unused substitute - this time Leandro Cufre was punished for his part in a brawl following Argentina's exit at the 2006 semi-finals at the hands of Germany.

Fastest hat-trick: 8 minutes - László Kiss scored at 69', 72', and 76' against El Salvador, 1982.

Laszlo Kiss
GettyImagesLaszlo Kiss netted three goals in seven minutes for Hungary at the 1982 World Cup

Hungary's 10-1 victory over El Salvador in the 1982 World Cup group stages was notable for being both the highest number of goals scored by a single side in a finals match and the joint-highest winning margin in finals history (along with Hungary's own 9-0 demolition of South Korea in 1954 and Yugoslavia's 9-0 victory over Zaire in 1974).

But in among the goal fest, Lazlo Kiss wrote his own name into the record books when he came on as a substitute for Andras Torocsik in the 55th minute, with Hungary cruising at 5-1. Fast forward 21 minutes and Kiss had netted three times, making him the only substitute to have ever netted a finals hat-trick. Not content with just one record, Kiss's hat-trick came in just seven minutes - the quickest three-goal haul in World Cup history.

His first strike came from a corner as Kiss, standing unmarked in the penalty area, controlled the ball with his first touch and slotted it past already-demoralised El Salvador goalkeeper Luis Guevara Mora with his second. Goal No.2 was a superb finish, as Kiss delicately chipped the ball over a stranded Mora from just inside the left-edge of the penalty area. Mora was clearly feeling in generous mood and in the 76th minute he punched the ball straight to the feet of his Hungarian nemesis, and Kiss promptly lashed the ball straight back past him first time, to claim his third and El Salvador's ninth of the match.

Amazingly, despite recording such a comprehensive victory, a 4-1 reverse against Argentina and a 1-1 draw with Belgium meant that Hungary did not even make it out of the group stages in Spain. After retiring from playing, Kiss turned his attention to coaching and is currently the boss of Hungary Women's Under-17s side.

Most nations coached at the finals: 5 - Bora Milutinovic (Mexico - 1986, Costa Rica - 1990, USA -1994, Nigeria - 1998, China - 2002). Though the name Guus Hiddink is usually the first that crops up in discussions about coaches leading national teams to perform above their station at the World Cup, the Dutchman's achievements are surely eclipsed by the work by the original minnow maestro, Bora Milutinovic. Yes, Hiddink can boast two World Cup semi-finals appearance, and South Korea's incredible progression to the last-four in 2002 stands on its own as perhaps the biggest underdog success story in World Cup history. But Milutinovic's record of guiding Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, and Nigeria past the group stages in successive finals is deserving of equally high praise.

Bora Milutinovic
GettyImagesBora Milutinovic guided China to a first World Cup finals in 2002

In 1986, he began his World cup journey with Mexico - guiding them past Belgium, Paraguay and Iraq and into a second round on home soil. Bulgaria were then beaten to book a place in the quarter-finals, but the hosts' dreams were ended by eventual runners-up and perennial penalty perfectionists West Germany, who won the last eight shootout 4-1. 1990 saw Milutinovic take the Costa Rica hotseat and he masterminded the unfancied Central Americans' progression into the second round, beating Scotland and Sweden and, credibly, only losing 1-0 to Brazil in Group C. The dream was ended by Czechoslovakia in the next game as Costa Rica crashed to a 4-1 second round defeat.

Milutinovic's third World Cup saw him take charge of the USA and with the Serbian at the helm, the 1994 tournament hosts drew 1-1 with Switzerland, beat Colombia 2-1 and lost 1-0 to Romania to book a place in the Second Round for the first time in their history as one of the best third-place teams. For the second successive finals, Milutinovic tasted a 1-0 defeat to Brazil, though it was again considered an admirable result as the USA exited at the hands of the eventual winners. At the 1998 finals, Nigeria turned to Milutinovic and the rewards were instant as the Super Eagles produced one of the tournament's shock results in their group opener - twice coming from behind to beat Spain 3-2 thanks to Sunday Oliseh's thunderbolt. Nigeria finished top of the group after victory over Bulgaria and despite defeat to Paraguay in the finals game, but were sent packing in the Second Round by Denmark.

Milutinovic's fifth successive finals appearance was perhaps his greatest achievement, as he took China to their first ever World Cup. Despite not scoring a single goal at the tournament in Japan and South Korea - losing 2-0 to Costa Rica, 4-0 to Brazil and 3-0 to Turkey - the Serbian boss was still hailed as a miracle worker for ending years of qualification heartache and allowing China their place at football's top table for, thus far, the only time in their history.