#WorldCupAtHome: A curse continues and a saved penalty makes the record books

Coronavirus has disrupted the lives of many millions of people all around the world. Its impact on our daily lives has included preventing football being played by young and old, amateur and professional, in countless places. FIFA has launched an initiative, which aims to bring some hope and positivity during this time, by opening the archive and highlight some historic World Cup matches.

Under the hashtag #WorldCupAtHome, FIFA’s youtube channel is streaming a selection of games each weekend. Keep an eye out on FIFA’s social media for lots of extra content and a call out to fans to vote for the game they want to watch on the coming weekend.

The museum team is following up each match with a highlight from our collection that is connected to the game. We will share some fun historical facts on our social media channels and dig a little deeper into the historic context of the objects in a blog each week. Today we start with a curse only one team could escape and a saved penalty that started a chain reaction for the history books.


Saturday, March 21st
FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 – Spain vs Netherlands 1:5 (Group B)
(click here to watch)

For this match, we collected Robin Van Persie’s shirt, because of his spectacular header which equalized the match. It has been featured in every FIFA World Cup highlight reel since. The goal also marked the changing point in the game, as defending champions Spain ultimately lost 5-1 to the Netherlands. This was the first step of their elimination in the group stage, thus continuing the curse of the defending champion in a FIFA World Cup. Since 2002 (FIFA World Cup South Korea and Japan), only Brazil in 2006 was able to break the curse and advance to the elimination round as defending champion. To date, all others have failed (France 2002, Italy 2010, Spain 2014 and Germany 2018).


Sunday, March 22nd
FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 – England vs USA 1:2 (Semi-Final)
(click here to watch)

In the 83rd minute, with a score of 1-2, England was awarded a penalty. If converted, the match would have been set to zero and who knows what would have happened. But US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saved the penalty and with that, paved the way for a series of records. First, she was the first US goalkeeper to save a penalty at a FIFA Women’s World Cup. With her save, she secured the US Women’s National Team a third consecutive World Cup final (record!), eleven consecutive World Cup wins (record!) and an unbeaten streak of 16 consecutive World Cup matches (also a record!). This makes us extremely proud to have Naeher’s shirt from that match in our collection.


That’s it for this week. Check out our social media channels over the weekend and come back to the blog for more historic facts and objects from the #WorldCupAtHome series. And don’t forget to follow the games on FIFA’s official Youtube and other social media channels.

#Staysafe, #Stayathome and see you next week.