World Cup season is approaching, and can we just say we feel it in the air? It might have something to do with seeing the sticker album everywhere, hearing our dads talk about the impending games like they’re going to lace on cleats and play themselves, or even just the news cycle. 

Whatever it is, there’s no doubt the World Cup brings back all kinds of memories for us, from watching the games on our same ol’ couch with our families back in 2006 to trading stickers at school until we finally got Messi.

Loading the player...

Even if we’re used to getting summer vibes from the World Cup, a far cry from this year’s late November to December slot, it’s still as exciting as ever. Whether you’re rooting for Mexico, Argentina, or Ecuador, there’s no doubt us Latinos are in it to win it this year — so why not look back at Latin America’s most iconic World Cup moments in history? Here are some of the most legendary instants ever.

1. Argentine Diego Maradona’s epic two goals vs. England in 1986

Diego Maradona scored two goals versus England in the World Cup quarter-final in 1986: one, “The Hand of God,” and just four minutes later, the “Goal of the Century.” Argentina won the World Cup that year, and it’s no wonder Calle 13 immortalized Maradona’s legendary moment in his song “Latinoamérica”: “Soy Maradona contra Inglaterra anotándote dos goles.” 

2. And in that same year, Mexico’s Manuel Negrete’s iconic goal vs. Bulgaria

Also in 1986, Mexico’s Manuel Negrete scored a scissor-kick against Bulgaria that would make waves for years to come. It’s no wonder FIFA fans awarded it the best goal in the history of the World Cup — it really is near-mythical.

3. Colombian James Rodriguez scoring some of the best goals ever recorded in 2014

Many of us can remember watching the World Cup back in 2014 and seeing Colombian newcomer James Rodriguez become a superstar right before our eyes. He won the Golden Boot for scoring six goals throughout that year’s World Cup, such as this one against Uruguay that earned him a Puskas award for “most beautiful goal.” It no doubt made him Colombia’s wunderkind for years afterward.

4. Brazil winning the most World Cups out of any country ever

There’s one fact that always makes us beam with pride for Latin American excellence and that is that Brazil still holds the title for most World Cup final victories in history, recording epic wins in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. Harkening back all the way to Pelé’s impact, we love to see it

5. When Chicharito scored to beat France 2-0 in the 2010 World Cup

Few can deny Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s contributions to the Mexican national team, becoming the country’s greatest goalscorer ever with 52 goals to his name. Playing the World Cup in 2010, 2014 and 2018, few can forget this fan-favorite moment when Chicharito led the win against France in 2010.  

6. Uruguay winning the World Cup final back in 1950’s “Maracanazo”

Now let’s go back, way back… all the way to 1950. While we can’t say we watched this World Cup final on our television screens, the effects of Uruguay’s mid-century victory against Brazil are still talked about to this day. Taking place at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, few thought Uruguay would end up winning 2-1 — and was so devastating for Brazilians, it became known as the Maracanaço.

7. 17-year-old Pelé leading Brazil to World Cup final victory against Sweden in 1958

We can’t speak about World Cup moments that give us all the Latin American pride without referencing Pelé, otherwise known as one of the greatest soccer players of all time. At just 17 years old, the Três Corações-born player scored a goal against Sweden, helping win the World Cup final for his country — and cementing him as a star forevermore.

8. Colombia’s 5-0 win against Argentina for the 1994 World Cup qualification

Then, there was Colombia’s sweeping 5-0 win against Argentina in 1993, bringing the country to its knees in a qualifier game for the ‘94 World Cup. Played in Buenos Aires, few thought Colombia would win against the soccer giant — and even fewer thought the win would be that legendary (or devastating, depends on who you ask!). 

9. Lionel Messi’s unexpected, last minute goal against Iran in 2014’s World Cup

There’s little doubt Lionel Messi is one of the most iconic soccer players of all time. We always get a dose of Latino pride when we look back at his winning goal against Iran in 2014 just before the time call, taking his country to the next round and shocking the entire world.