World Cup 2014: With the last eight starting tomorrow, we look back at the six best quarter-finals in the tournament's history

England even make an appearance, though it all ended in tears

This year's World Cup has thrown up some quite brilliant contests in the last eight. Two European powerhouses in France and Germany will go head-to-head, while the best two players of the tournament so far, James Rodriguez and Neymar, are pitted against each other.

That's just on Friday. Saturday the tournament's true underdogs Costa Rica will look to upset the Netherlands while Lionel Messi will look to take one more step to true greatness against the dark horses, Belgium.

We look back at the six best quarter-finals in World Cup history.

1954: Austria 7 Switzerland 5

Switzerland hosted the 1954 World Cup but in this quarter-final they were upset by their neighbours Austria. The 7-5 victory is the highest scoring game in World Cup finals history, the teams went into half-time with Austria already leading 5-4. There were hat-tricks on both sides, for Austria’s Theodor Wagner as well as one for Switzerland's Josef Hugi, and if this end-to-end encounter had been played out by two of the 'bigger' nations in world football then we may all know it as the best game in World Cup history.

1958: Brazil 1 Wales 0

A game that was low key in terms of a spectacle still provided the brightest of sparks; that spark was Pele. A young, fresh faced Brazilian bagged the winner in this quarter-final over Wales, he then scored a hat-trick in a semi-final win over France and a further brace in victory against the tournament hosts, Sweden, in the final. Pele would go on to win another two of his remaining four World Cup’s, and the legacy all started in this quarter-final against Wales, when he was aged just a mere 17. Pele (left) burst onto the world scene as a 17-year-old in 1958 Pele (left) burst onto the world scene as a 17-year-old in 1958

1966: Portugal 5 North Korea 3

Perhaps one of the most bizarre games in football history. A highly favoured Portugal side, led by the famous Eusebio, found themselves 3-0 down to North Korea in 25 minutes at Everton’s Goodson Park. In a dramatic comeback four Eusebio goals put the Portuguese team back ahead, and a fifth was added by Jose Augusto, to dash North Korean dreams and round up an eight goal thriller that showed the unpredictable nature of the beautiful game.

1986: Argentina 2 England 1

Not only one of the most famous World Cup quarter-finals, but one of the most famous matches of all time. This fixture lives on because of one man: Diego Maradona. On that hot, sunny day in Mexico City, the world was treated to the sublime skill and finesse of the little Argentine. Arguably the greatest goal in history, after possessing the ball in his own half, Maradona waltzed his way past every English body before effortlessly slotting into an empty net. However, this match is most remembered by the English for Maradona’s first goal. The ugly side of Maradona, the 'Hand of God'.

1994: Brazil 3 Netherlands 2

This thrilling encounter between two heavyweights had twists and turns, but finished with victory for the eventual winners. Brazil had not won the coveted trophy in 24 years, but had the brilliant Romario and Bebeto in their ranks. The two combined for the opening goal, with Romario finishing off a nice move. Bebeto rounded the Dutch keeper for the second, before performing his unforgettable 'rock the cradle' celebration. The tenacious Netherlands refused to lie down and die, however, and responded instantly through a young Dennis Bergkamp. This spurred on the Oranje and it was not long before Aron Winter netted an equaliser to set up an exciting finish. It was going to take some Brazilian magic to regain the lead, and that is exactly what occurred. Branco stepped up to curl home a 30-yard free-kick and send the South Americans into the last four. Bebeto celebrates against the Netherlands with his rock the cradle celebration Bebeto celebrates against the Netherlands with his rock the cradle celebration

1998: Netherlands 2 Argentina 1

Many had Argentina down as favourites to win outright in France and with an array of talent, boasting Javier Zanetti, Juan Sebastian Veron and Gabriel Batistuta, it does not come as a surprise. However, this game will always go down in the history books for showcasing to the world the undeniable genius of Dennis Bergkamp. With extra-time imminent, Bergkamp was to produce a moment of pure magic. Frank de Boer launched the ball half the length of the pitch towards the Dutchman on the edge of the Argentine box. Bergkamp brought it under control meticulously with his first touch, leaving Roberto Ayala for dead with his second, before finishing off the move in exemplary fashion with his third. Simply stunning.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power