Accepting that there is no greater feeling in football than scoring a goal, it could be assumed that there is no worse feeling than having one chalked off. Just ask Sol Campbell.
Unlike Campbell’s efforts against Argentina in 1998 and Portugal in 2004, which were correctly disallowed for respective fouls by Alan Shearer and John Terry, the following list of ten of the most outrageous disallowed goals features ones which should have stood.
1. Frank Lampard, England 1-4 Germany, World Cup second round, 27 June 2010
After falling 2-0 behind early England pulled a goal back through Matthew Upson and thought they had leveled the scores when Frank Lampard’s long-range shot struck the crossbar and bounced over the line. The referee and linesman disagreed, however, and the score stayed at 2-1, allowing the Germans to punish a panicked English side in the second half.
2. Alain Giresse, France 4-1 Kuwait, World Cup Group 4, 21 June 1982
When you’re 3-1 down against France, what’s the best way to get out of conceding a perfectly legitimate fourth goal? Send down the Prince to negotiate, of course.
3. Marc Wilmots, Belgium 0-2 Brazil, World Cup second round, 17 June 2002
Underdogs Belgium gave Brazil a real scare in their Round of 16 game at the 2002 World Cup, creating multiple chances and having a perfectly-good goal by Marc Wilmots disallowed in the first half. Brazil would recover to win the game 2-0 on their way to a fifth World Cup but it could have been very different if the referee had correctly let the goal stand.
4. Adelardo Rodriguez, Spain 1-2 Brazil, World Cup Group 3, 6 June 1962
Spain were 1-0 ahead when Adelardo Rodriguez scored what would have been the first overhead kick recorded on film, only to see the referee bizarrely disallow it for offside. Brazil took advantage, scoring twice to win the game and send the Spaniards out in the first round.
5. Pedro Mendes, Tottenham 0-0 Manchester United, English Premier League, 4 January 2005
Late on in this Premier League encounter Spurs midfielder Pedro Mendes attempted to chip a retreating Roy Carroll with an audacious long-range effort. Carroll recovered, only in time to hilariously spill the ball over the line before palming it away to safety. But inexplicably the goal was not given as a very generous linesman let Carroll come away unpunished from his moment of embarrassment.
6. Nicola Berti, Italy 2-1 England, World Cup third-place play-off, 7 July 1990
It may have had no impact on the outcome of the game but the linesman’s decision to disallow Nicola Berti’s goal for Italy in the final moments of the 1990 third-place play-off is surely one of the worst offside calls of all time. I wonder if he had a wager on the final score being 2-1?
7. Paul Scholes, Manchester United 1-1 FC Porto, Champions League Round of 16, 10 March 2004
The rise of Jose Mourinho began a season earlier with Porto’s UEFA Cup win over Celtic and accelerated when his side knocked out Manchester United at Old Trafford on their way to winning the Champions League in 2003/2004. Mourinho signed for Chelsea the following season but one wonders where he would be now if Paul Scholes’ goal had not been incorrectly disallowed for offside with the score at 1-0 in United’s favour.
8. Zico, Brazil 1-1 Sweden, World Cup Group 3, 3 June 1978
Just what was Welsh referee Clive Thomas thinking when he decided to blow for full-time when Zico headed in a late corner to win this first round game against Sweden?
9. Ferenc Puskas, Hungary 2-3 West Germany, World Cup Final, 4 July 1954
“The Miracle of Berne” has gone down in history as one of the great upsets of all time but seldom is Ferenc Puskas’ late goal, scored after Germany made it 3-2 and disallowed for offside, mentioned in the highlight reels. Film is inconclusive but the general feeling is that Puskas was unlucky to be denied a second goal and Hungary a way back into the game.
10. Luis Suarez, Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (4-2 pen.), World Cup quarter-final, 2 July 2010
Not so much a referee blunder as an horrible way of beating the rules, Luis Suarez’s self-proclaimed “Hand of God” saved denied media darlings Ghana a certain goal and restricted their opportunity to score to an Asamoah Gyan penalty kick. Gyan missed, Suarez celebrated and the 2010 World Cup found its villain.