A Look At The History Of FIFA World Cup Own Goals

Photo Credit: AP

World Cup own goals can be equally comical and heartbreaking for players and fans. They always hit the headlines in football news. They are part and parcel of the drama that unfolds during the major tournament. Punters can even select a prop bet of an Own Goal appearing in a match.

Some World Cup own goals don’t affect the outcome of football fixutres, but others can be devastating. They can send the culprit to their knees, head buried deep in hands as the thought that a mistake has sent their nation crashing out of the competition, sinks in.

Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we look back at the history of the World Cup own goal.

The First-Ever World Cup Own Goal

How far back into the annals of history do we have to reach to find the first world Cup own goal? Back to the very first edition of the tournament in 1930. The 1930 World Cup was a lot different from the modern incarnation that we look forward to in 2022.

The 1930 World Cup was hosted by Uruguay. It featured only thirteen teams, with only four appearing from Europe (Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia). Those were all relatively late entries into the tournament as well. An intervention by the then FIFA President Jules Rimet allowed the four European entries.

Mexico’s Manuel Rosas was the first player to go down in history with a World Cup own goal. He put through his own net in the 51st minute of a group stage match. Rosas’ own goal made it 2-0 to opponents Chile who ended up winning the fixture 3-0.

The Quickest World Cup Own Goal

The honour of holding the record for the quickest World Cup own goal goes to Carlos Gamarra at the 2006 World Cup. Very shortly after the kick-off in their group stage match against England, the Paraguayan sunk a header into his own net.

Paraguay had been trying to defend an early England free kick. Former Premier League and La Liga star David Beckham sent the ball into the box from the dead-ball situation. Gamarra rose and netted in just the third minute. It will have hurt even more as that was the only goal of an extremely dour match.

Daniel Agger and Simon Poulsen

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Japan’s Yasuyuki Konno, left, and Japan’s Makoto Hasebe, center, celebrate as Denmark’s Daniel Agger, right, walks past, following the World Cup group E soccer match between Denmark and Japan at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, Thursday, June 24, 2010. Japan won 3-1, and advances to the round of 16. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

In a 2010 World Cup match between the Netherlands and Denmark, there was a bizarre own goal scored by the Danes. A cross had been sent over into the box by the Dutch from the left wing.

Defenders Simon Poulsen and Daniel Agger had gone up for the ball, in an attempt to clear. Agger just missed it with his head but Poulsen did connect. However, his header was wayward and it hit the back of teammate Agger and flew into the goal.

It was a complete freak of a goal. FIFA was happy to credit former Liverpool player Daniel Agger with the own goal.

Noel Valladares Blunders For Honduras

Players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup are going to have to deal with VAR getting all up in their business. In the 2014 edition, it was goal-line technology that took centre stage.

In a group stage match, France’s Karim Benzema appeared to have put the French 3-0 up against Honduras.

Benzema had fired a shot across Honduras keeper Noel Valladares which hit the far post. But the goal line technology flashed up ‘No Goal’ as the ball didn’t cross the line. The ball however, came right back across the goal line to where Valladares was standing at the near post.

The keeper fumbled picking the ball up and inadvertently knocked it over the goal line. The goal stood because the game was still active. Honduras weren’t happy, but it was nothing more than an absolute howler by Valladares.

Boye’s Remarkable OVerhead Own Goal

At the 2014 World Cup, Ghana’s John Boye scored a spectacular overhead own goal. It was as comical as it was brilliant in the end. In the match against Portugal, Ghana defender John Boye attempted to clear the ball away from the corner of the six-yard box at the near post.

The clearance was sliced, and the ball went flying back over the head of Boye, who tumbled backwards acrobatically during the sequence. Portugal won the match, as Cristiano Ronaldo netted the winner.

The Most Famous World Cup Own Goal Of All Time

The most famous World Cup own goal was scored by Andres Escobar. It came with an absolute tragedy at the end. Colombia had gone to the 1994 World Cup with some high expectations.

In their enigmatic campaign, Carlos Valderrama was pulling the test ring in midfield and they had some great attacking power in Freddy Rincon and Faustino Asprilla. Colombia were drawn into Group A alongside Romania, Switzerland and the United States.

It looked like a manageable group, but things quickly fell apart for Los Cafeteros. They opened with a nightmare 3-1 loss against Romania, before a crushing 2-1 reverse against the United States.

In the 35th minute of the contest, defender Escobar tried to cut out a cross into the Colombian box. But the ball deflected awkwardly off him and flew into his own net. That was the opening goal of the game and the USA went on to famously win 2-1.

Despite winning their final group stage match 2-0 against Switzerland, Colombia were eliminated from the group stage. Sadly Andres Escobar was shot in his hometown of Medellin several weeks later. The reported motive was his World Cup own goal. It was the only World Cup own goal of the 1994 edition.

Number of World Cup Own Goals by Tournament

1930 – 1
1938 – 2
1954 – 4
1966 – 2
1970 – 1
1974 – 3
1978 – 3
1982 – 1
1986 – 2
1994 – 1
1998 – 6
2022 – 3
2006 – 4
2010 – 2
2014 – 5
2018 – 12

The Most Impressive World Cup Own Goal

Easily going down as one of the best World Cup own goal finishes happened at the 2022 World Cup. USA defender Jeff Agoos let one rip right into the top corner of his own net. The USA met with Portugal in the group stage of the competition.

The match turned out to be a cracker as well. It remains the only World Cup match in history to have two own goals scored in it. The first of those came just before the half-hour mark when Jorge Costa put through his own net, making it 2-0 to the USA. But that was a forgettable own goal as far as style was concerned.

Six minutes later Brian McBride scored a third for the Americans, who were on their way to a big triumph. Portugal did quickly pull a goal back through Beto to make it 3-1 before half-time and they continued to push to find a way back into the fixture.

Portugal’s Pauleta had sent a cross over from the left-hand side and Agoos, running back toward his own net and under no real pressure, attempted to clear. But his right-footed clearance flew into the top corner of the net, leaving his keeper Brad Friedel no chance. Fortunately for Agoos, the USA held on for a famous 3-2 victory.

Mandzukic’s World Cup Final Own Goal

Is there a worse time to score an own goal than in a World Cup Final? Probably not. But that is what happened to Croatia’s Mario Manduzkic in the 2018 Final against France.

Croatia hadn’t been given too much of a chance going into the Russia 2018 edition with their ageing squad. But they had impressively topped their group with three wins from three, holding off Argentina.

Croatia’s campaign then took the longest possible route that it could have done to the Final. They needed a penalty shoot-out to beat Denmark in the Round of 16 and then again to eliminate Russia in the Quarter Finals.

There was more extra time needed against England in the semi-finals as well. Despite conceding the opening goal of the game, Croatia controlled the fixture and eventually got their reward of an equaliser. Mario Mandzukic was then the hero of the day as he popped up in the 109th minute to score the winner for Croatia.

But the high of Mandzukic’s semi-final winner quickly came crashing down. He scored the opening goal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, but unfortunately, it was at the wrong end of the pitch. The forward was back helping out in defence, trying to repel a France free-kick.

Four-time Serie A title winner with Juventus, Mandzukic rose in a crowd of players and the ball glanced off the top of his head and into his own net. There was little he could do about it. Mandzukic did get on the scoresheet at the right end of the pitch in the second half. He scored the final goal of the game in what was a 4-2 loss.

Flurry Of Own Goals At Russia 2018

World Cup Own Goal
Brazil’s Fernandinho lays on the ground at the end of the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena, in Kazan, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

From the 1930 World Cup through to Brazil 2014, there were only 40 own goals in total in FIFA World Cup action. However, then Russia 2018 came along and own goals were the big theme of the tournament.

There were a whopping dozen own goals scored at Russia 2018, easily setting the record for the most ever at a single tournament. The previous highest tally had come at France 1988 when there were six.

At Russia 2018, the own goal action started early in the group stage with Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz netting in the 95th-minute winner to give opponents Iran a 1-0 win.

Russia scored two own goals during the tournament. Brazil’s Fernandinho handed Belgium a great start in their Quarter Final match. Belgium went on to close out the match 2-1, defying the underdog World Cup match odds to sink the Selecao. The final own goal of the tournament came from the aforementioned Mario Mandzukic.