Matches in World Cup are found to become even more chippy than usual when big teams face each other, but in a Round of 16 match in the 2006 World Cup (Germany), it got completely out of control. What probably made this even more surprising was the fact that it was Portugal and the Netherlands who were involved, not exactly the two sides known for being very aggressive. But from the start of the game, Russian referee Valentin Ivanov had no control, as he was forced to hand out a record four Red Cards and an unprecedented 16 yellow cards, both of which are records in any FIFA tournament.
It all started when Marco Van Basten got himself booked in the 2nd minute, and all hell broke loose afterwards, as Portugal’s legendary winger Luis Figo only got a yellow card for a headbutt, which is an automatic red card under the FIFA rules. Portugal wound up winning the match 1-0.
Luiz Felipe Scolari was later quoted approving Figo’s headbutt, saying, “Jesus Christ may be able to turn the other cheek but Luís Figo isn’t Jesus Christ!”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter also said “Russian referee Valentin Ivanov should have given himself a yellow card for his poor performance during the match!”
Highlights of the game