Ever wonder what the most viewed football matches of all-time are? We at WTFoot did a bit of research to bring you a comprehensive list of the most watched football games of all time! Some are absolute classics, while others might come as a bit of a surprise!
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1. Germany Vs. Argentina (2014 FIFA World Cup Final) — 545 Million
This was Lionel Messi’s shot at immortality. The Argentine magician led La Albiceleste against European powerhouse Germany — who had been the tournament’s outstanding team — in the Maracanã Stadium with the eyes of the world watching. It was a cagey affair, and the best chances, surprisingly, fell to Argentina, Gonzalo Higuaín and Rodrigo Palacio both squandering guilt edge opportunities. The game entered extra-time after a goalless 90 minutes, and it seemed the only thing that would separate the two sides would be a nail biting penalty shootout. Mario Götze had other plans. The Bavarian midfielder, controlled André Schürrle’s cross from the right wing with his chest before volleying home what would prove to be the decisive goal.
2. France Vs. Croatia (2018 FIFA World Cup Final) — 516.6 Million
France and Croatia battled in a 78,000, jam packed Luzhniki Stadium in Russia for the most prestigious prize is world football. Croatia — the first time finalists — were the proverbial underdogs and the neutrals pick. Les Bleus opened the scoreline in the 18th minute, but The Croats were swift to reply, restoring parity 10 minutes later with a goal from winger Ivan Perišić. A controversial penalty was awarded to France — much to the dismay of a worldwide audience — before half-time which Antoine Griezmann duly slotted home. Both Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé scored 20 minutes into the second-half, and try as they might the Kockasti couldn’t bridge the gap. At the end of 90 minutes, France collected their second FIFA World Cup.
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3. Netherlands Vs. Spain (2010 FIFA World Cup Final) — 489 Million
In 2010 La Roja cemented the legacy of tiki-taka in Soccer City, Johanessburg, South Africa. Whatever the outcome of the game, a new, first-time world champion was going to be crowned on 11 July 2010. This was a game of the slightest of margins. Arjen Robben was through on goal on the 62nd minute, with only Iker Casillas standing between him and glory. It wasn’t to be for the Dutchman, as Saint Iker produced an outstanding save to deny him. Deep into extra-time Andrés Iniesta wrote himself into Spanish folklore, scoring the winner that delivered Spain their maiden FIFA World Cup.
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4. Brazil Vs. Germany (2014 FIFA World Cup Semi-final) — 390.2 Million
Die Mannschaft’s 7-1 humiliation of the Seleção haunts the dreams of every Brazilian. Brazil entered the hallowed grounds of the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte in-front of a boisterous home crowd — cheering, believing, expecting. What happened next sent shockwaves through world football. Dubbed the Mineirazo (agony of Mineirão), the ruthless Germans hammered an incredible 7 goals past the hapless Brazilians, and not even the tears of the 11 men on the field and another 60,000 on the stands was enough to wash away the shame of humiliation.
5. Netherlands Vs. Argentina (2014 FIFA World Cup Semi-final) — 369.7 Million
Holland was looking to reach their second world cup final in a row, while this would be Argentina’s first since 1986 — when Diego Maradona took them all the way to the promised land. Neither team brought their A-game on the night, and the game was decided by the dreaded penalty shootout. Wesley Sneijder and Ron Vlaar missed their spot kicks, while the Argentinians were perfect from the spot to avenge their elimination at the hands of the Orange during the 1998 edition of the FIFA World Cup to setup a hotly anticipated encounter with Germany which would determine the world champions.
6. Argentina Vs. Germany (2010 FIFA World Cup Quarter-final) — 369 Million
Another Argentina/Germany game makes the Top 10 list. For all his brilliance as a player, Diego Maradona, was a catastrophic coach for his beloved Argentina. La Albiceleste miraculously qualified for the tournament to begin with, but put up a strong showing in the group-stages. Before the meeting with the Germans, El Diego took the press to taunt the opposition, throwing out the question: “Are you afraid Schweinsteiger?” It wasn’t the best of strategies, as the German machine turned out on the field at their irresistible best, mauling the Argentines 4-0 and crushing Maradona’s dream for another miracle.
7. Brazil Vs. Croatia (2014 FIFA World Cup — Group Stage) — 339.1 Million
The hosts took on Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. A buzz of excitement filled the Arena de Sao Paolo as fans in attendance and a global audience ended their 4 year wait to look forward to a month of football festivities. The Croats took the lead after an own goal from Marcelo in the opening phase of the game, but Golden boy Neymar struck to restore parity before half time, sending the crowd into delirium. The Brazilians were awarded a dubious penalty in the second-half, Croatian protests fell on deaf ears, and King Ney scored once more to put the Seleção ahead before Oscar added a third in the closing moments to send the rapturous home-crowd happy.
8. Brazil Vs. Chile (2014 FIFA World Cup — Round of 16) — 322.1 Million
The Round of 16 tie pitted hosts Brazil against the tournament’s standout player in James Rodriguez. The Colombian was at his scintillating best, having already scored the goal of the tournament — a left-footed volley — against Uruguay. James came into the game as the tournament’s top scorer with 5 goals, and would add to his tally with an 80th minute penalty. Unfortunately, it would only prove to be a consolation goal, as the Seleção held on to their lead to advance to the next round. Victory, however, came at a steep price for the Brazilians, their star man Neymar suffered a freak injury which would rule him out for the rest of the tournament.
9. Croatia Vs. England (2018 FIFA World Cup Semi-final) — 327.5 Million
The Three Lions’ bid to reach their first world cup final since 1966 came to a screeching halt when Mario Mandzukic scored in the first-half of extra time to deliver Croatia to their first ever FIFA World Cup final. Right-back Kieran Trippier scored a David Beckham esque free kick in the early stages, which was then cancelled out by Ivan Persic. Hitman Harry Kane inexplicably spurred some guilt edge chances, and as the game wore on the experience of The Croats came to the fore. Majestic midfielder Luka Modrić took a hold of proceedings, and England’s resolve finally broke when veteran forward Mandzukic rose past youngsters Stones and Pickford to knock home the winner.
10. France Vs. Belgium (2018 FIFA World Cup Semi-final) — 314.6 Million
Saint Petersburg held the battle of titans — Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappé, and Antoine Griezmann took on Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. But in the end it was the toughest defence that came up on top as Les Bleus kept a clean sheet, while defender Samuel Umtiti rose highest to thump home a towering header for the winner.