A lot has happened in football in the 20 Years that Direct Soccer have been involved in the beautiful game!  It’d be impossible to count and remember all the great games, goals and saves during this wonderful period of soccer!

But there’s also been a fair bit of controversial moments during this time and we’ve picked out some of the most remembered ones that made the back (and front) pages for all the wrong reasons!



One of the best players in world football between 1997 and 2007 (our first decade in business funnily enough) was Zinedine Zidane.  The French maestro helped his club sides Juventus and Real Madrid to many triumphs in the domestic game while also playing a big part in his nation’s victories in the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championships in 2000.  Sadly, a moment in the 2006 World Cup Final in Berlin will forever be a stain on the great man’s career!

With the score locked at 1-1 with 10 minutes remaining in extra-time, Zidane clashed with Italy’s Marco Materazzi – incidentally both players had scored the goals to take this game into overtime – and head-butted the Italian in the chest to be sent off in his last ever game.  While Italy would go on to win the game and the World Cup on penalties, Zidane’s headbutt was parodied in a Family Guy sketch!















While not as famous as Diego Maradona’s 1986 version, Thierry Henry had his own “Hand of God” moment in the 2010 World Cup Playoff between France and the Republic of Ireland.  After 180 minutes, the teams were tied at 1-1 on aggregate before a free-kick from France’s Florent Malouda changed everything.  The ball was floated into the Irish box and looked to be heading out of play before Henry controlled it twice with his hand before passing across goal to the waiting William Gallas to head into the empty net and send France to the World Cup in South Africa.  Despite Henry’s admission, and Irish protests to have the game replayed, the goal and result stood.



In a stunning reversal of the famous “was it, wasn’t it” goal scored by Geoff Hurst in the 1966 World Cup, England faced rivals Germany in the 2nd round of the World Cup in 2010.  The young German side had raced into a 2-0 lead before Matthew Upson pulled a goal back for the English then Frank Lampard looked to have scored a deserved equaliser as his shot cannoned off the underside of the bar and clearly over the line.  Amazingly, the goal was not given and Germany would rub salt into the England team’s wounds with a Thomas Muller double in the 2nd half to win 4-1 and send the Three Lions home.  Lampard’s legacy though was that it was the catalyst for FIFA looking to introduce video replay and goal-line technology to the game, scant consolation for the FA and the English team in 2010 though!














In the 2006 World Cup, English referee Graham Poll took charge of the Group F clash between Australia and Croatia.  A booking for Croatia’s Josip Simunic in the 61st minute was followed up by a second for the English spoken, Australian accented Simunic in the 90th minute.  However, Poll forgot about the earlier yellow card, and didn’t send the defender off.

3 minutes later, after Simunic reacted badly to the final whistle ending Croatia’s campaign, he pushed Poll who produced a 3rd yellow card!  Thankfully, further controversy was avoided by Australia qualifying for the 2nd round anyway!  Sadly, Poll’s great refereeing career at international level came to an end with this mistake.



Always a controversial character, Italian forward Paolo di Canio played for Sheffield Wednesday in 1998 and ended up getting banned for 11 games!  Wednesday took on Arsenal at Hillsborough and after Di Canio’s team-mate Petter Rudi and Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira came to blows, Di Canio stepped in to help his team-mate before pushing Vieira and kicking Arsenal defender Martin Keown.  After referee Martin Alcock brandished a red card at di Canio, he then ended up on the receiving end of the Italian maestro’s fury and saw himself comically tumbling head over heels after di Canio pushed him over!  The striker’s punishment was a £10,000 ban and 11 game suspension though he later redeemed himself in a sporting manner while playing for West Ham United in 2000.














Another footballing genius, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez is no stranger to controversy!  The Barcelona striker famously clashed with Chelsea’s Branko Ivanovic during a game in 2013 while playing for Liverpool.  The striker bit the Serbian defender’s arm after struggling to get past him.  This led to a 10 game ban for the player while he would go on to court further “biting” controversy at the 2014 World Cup in a match for his country against Italy.  Thankfully, the star attacker hasn’t been involved in any more incidents like this and has stuck the goals into his opponent’s net rather than his teeth!

Here’s a great offer to sink your teeth into as well – for the next two days (until 2pm on Friday 20th October) we are still running special promotions and offers on a great selection of teamwear, training kit, footballs and equipment to mark 20 years of Direct Soccer.  Don’t miss out on these great deals, order today before the offer ends!