A silver ball, a synthetic ball and a celebration of iconic proportions

The second weekend of #WorldCupAtHome looked back at two FIFA World Cup quarter-finals with record champion Brazil and a penalty shootout that ended in one of the most iconic sports moments of all time.

After kicking off on Friday, with the official film of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 the match action started with a quarter-final from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The star of the show was a player who gave it all, including his boots.


Saturday, March 28th
FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010, Netherlands – Brazil 2:1 (Quarter-final)
(Click here to watch the full match)

The Dutch Team was a strong contender at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, dominating the group stage with three wins before beating Slovakia in the round of 16. With this win they extended their international unbeaten streak, which started shortly after their Euro 2008 loss in the quarter-final against Russia, to a total of 23 games. In South Africa, Brazil was up 1-0 by half-time before Wesley Sneijder turned the match around by scoring two goals, thus keeping the unbeaten streak alive and ultimately opening the door to reach the World Cup Final. It was there, facing off against Spain, where the streak ended and the Netherlands lost their third attempt at a World Cup title, making them the record holder for most World Cup Final appearances without winning the trophy. We’re lucky to have collected Wesley Sneijder’s boots from the tournament for our collection, not only because he scored two goals in the quarter-final, but also for being the stand-out player for the Dutch throughout the whole World Cup. He started in all seven matches, scoring five goals (which earned him the Bronze Boot), was selected Man of the Match in four games, and took home the Silver Ball award as second-best overall player of the tournament.


Sunday, March 29th
FIFA World Cup Mexico 1986, Brazil – France 1:1 (3:4 after penalties) (Quarter-final)
(Click here to watch the full match

This match featured another World Cup quarter-final and another loss for Brazil. But at this match from the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, the now record holding five-time World Cup champion was defeated by France after penalties. What stuck out to us while watching the game was the ball, an absolute classic. The Adidas Azteca incorporated beautiful Aztec elements into the Tango pattern, an homage to the host nation Mexico. But it wasn’t just beautiful. It was also the first fully synthetic ball in the history of football. The new technology protected the official match ball against moisture and reduced the weight change in the rain compared to previously used materials, keeping the playability constant. If you want to learn more about the Adidas Azteca, visit the Museum when we’ve reopened. We have all official FIFA World Cup balls on display.


Monday, March 30th
FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 1999, USA – China PR 0:0 (5:4 after penalties) (Final)
(Click here to watch the full match)

This game continued the weekend trend of penalty shoot-outs after the 1986 quarter-final between Brazil and France yesterday. But here, the stakes were higher and the winner came out on top as world champion. In a tense face off against China, Brandi Chastain converted the USA’s fifth penalty and won the game for her team. Chastain’s celebration after scoring was immortalized by many photographers and created one of the most iconic sports pictures in history. The media frenzy covering the celebration was the pinnacle of a World Cup that gave women’s football a huge boost in popularity. The Final still holds the record for the highest attendance at a FIFA Women’s World Cup, as 90 185 people filled the Rose Bowl to watch the now four-time champions take home their second title. This historic moment is represented in our collection by an issue of Newsweek featuring Brandi Chastain’s celebration on the cover. You can see it on display in our permanent exhibition.