You Won’t Believe These Perfectly Timed World Cup Pics Aren’t Photoshopped

Soccer is called “the beautiful game” for a reason. Players move from one end of the field to the other, maintaining their balance while running at high speeds. This can lead to funny moments when snapped in a still frame. Here are some of the best!


England’s John Terry went above and beyond to try to prevent Slovenia from scoring during the 2010 World Cup. Diving headfirst with your body stiff is pretty risky, but sometimes the World Cup requires drasic measures. The torpedo-like move instantly went viral and Slovenia didn’t score that goal.

Kung Fu Fighting

During the 2010 Spain vs. The Netherlands World Cup Final game, things got a little bit out of hand. The stakes were running high, and Dutch player Nigel de Jong ended up full on kicking Spanish player Xabi Alonso in the chest. While it was an accident, it sent Alonso tumbling to the ground, writhing in pain, and he had to leave the game. Viewers were furious that the referee gave de Jong a yellow card instead of a red card.

Shadowy Figure

This shot from Brazil’s World Cup is one of our absolute favorites on the list. This picture is truly amazing not only because the opponent looks like a Peter Pan shadow-like figure, but also because of the air of mystery. We can’t see who’s making the impressive leap, but from his shadow, we can still see what an impossible angle he has contorted his body into. All the opposing player from the rival team on the ground can do is stop and watch the spectacle.

Time To Celebrate

Soccer players are definitely known for their theatrics, and once they’ve scored a goal, the drama can go up to an even higher level. This photo shows German player Miroslav Klose celebrating a goal that he scored against the Ghanian team during the 2010 World Cup in Fortaleza. What better way to show that you’re “head over heels” excited about your accomplishment? We just hope that he didn’t run out of energy after this impressive stunt, which almost looks like he’s sitting upside-down on a chair.

Similarly Shaped

This picture may look like an attempted homicide and might make you cringe in anticipation. But in reality, one player mistook another’s head for the ball and was simply trying to prevent it from flying into the goal! How he got the two confused is pretty easy to imagine, since any sort of round object flying towards you in a soccer game is bound to look like a ball. At least it proves that this guy was well-prepared for the game!


Sealed With A Kiss

While this photo may look similar to an intimate pic of lovers in a tender embrace, this photo definitely isn’t what you might think. These two players were in a rush for the ball (which is visible in the bottom right-hand corner of the pic – we don’t blame you if you were too distracted to notice it!) and ended up getting a little too close for comfort. We’re sure that there’s no love lost between the two rivals.


Trying to hit an airborne ball with their heads makes these two players look more like children playing a game of leapfrog than professional soccer players in one of the most high-stakes games of their entire soccer careers. Since you’re not allowed to use your hands in soccer, and even an accidental touch with the forearm or shoulder can render a play invalid, it’s no wonder that players are so bold about using their heads as tools when necessary.

Belly Flop

Soccer is truly an all or nothing game. Pretty much anything goes, except for using your hands or arms. That means that players have to get creative when it comes to scoring – or making sure that the opposing team doesn’t score. In this pic, you can see that Italian player Mario Balotelli had hit the ball with his head, and this rival player from the other team decided to do a full-on belly flop to try to prevent the goal.

Free Falling

There’s a reason why soccer is widely known as “the beautiful game.” In this photo, we can truly see how graceful these players are in action. Look at how the player kicking the ball keeps his leg at an almost perfect 90-degree angle to the ground. But wait…next to him is a guy who’s desperately trying to stop the kick and looks like he’s in a skydiving free fall! No word on how hard he hit the ground.

Guilty As Charged

They say that a picture is worth one thousand words, and this photo is living proof of that. The scene depicted in this photo speaks for itself – a player curled in a ball on the ground, in pain. A defiant player looking ready to argue that he didn’t touch the guy. And an enraged looking referee running in the back of the photo, looking like he’s ready to rip the standing player out of the game that very instant.

The Flying Dutchman

This player from the Netherlands has the nickname “The Flying Dutchman” and this pic shows why. If you look closely, you can even see exactly how forcefully this player has launched himself from the ground – his cleats even ripped up some pieces of the turf with the force of his takeoff! The most impressive part about this photo, however, is the context of what happened after the shutter snapped. This Dutch player, Robin van Persie, scored an incredible header.

Karate Kid

One of the things that keeps soccer fans on the edge of their seats is that the game is so wildly unpredictable. Star athletes running up and down the field at top speed and subsequently attempting flying kicks at a small ball (also traveling at high speeds) means that players often miss the mark when trying to make contact with the ball. This player ended up doing an impressive flying karate kick, but got the corner flag instead of the ball. Better Luck next time.

One-Two Step

Speaking of how unpredictable the game of soccer can be, sometimes the energy between team members can become highly infectious. This photo depicts James Rodriguez of the Colombian national team celebrating a high stakes goal made against the Ghanian team in the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil. His celebratory spirit spread quickly to the rest of his teammates, who engaged in an impromptu post-goal celebratory dance with him. We love that they pulled off this coordinated on-field hokey-pokey!

That’s Gotta Hurt

The stakes were as high as they possibly could be for a soccer game – a semi-final match at the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa. The teams that made it to the game were Uruguay and the Netherlands, and they both desperately wanted to win. Adrenaline ran high, and Uruguay’s Martin Caceres ended up accidentally kicking Dutch player Demy de Zeeuw directly in the teeth (by accident!) Ouch! The Netherlands went on to win the game anyway and came in second place.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

It’s a universal motif across all sports – players love to celebrate after they score a goal. American football players are known for their end zone dances after scoring a touchdown, and basketball players, while generally more reserved, tend to exchange high fives and pats on the back with their teammates. In soccer, however, things can escalate to an absurd level. We’re not sure why Costa Rican player Joel Campbell decided to make himself resemble an expecting mother.

Poetry In Motion

While they may look graceful as ballet dancers in this still photograph, you can bet that these two soccer players were definitely not trying to coordinate their movements into perfect symmetry. They look more like synchronized swimmers performing an elaborate Olympic routine than two opposing players battling it out for the ball. This picture was actually taken during an extremely high stakes moment at the 2014 World Cup, in a crucial game between Brazil and Croatia.

Double Trouble

This photo has got to be one of the best photos of a World Cup celebratory dance of all time! It depicts two players from the Ivory Coast team rejoicing after one of them scored a goal against the Colombian team. The African country surprised everyone by even making it to the World Cup – before 2014, the country had never qualified for the most prestigious event in the soccer world! The team ended up losing to Greece in a later match.


No, this isn’t a riot. No, the guy curled up in a ball on the floor isn’t in trouble. This photo shows the Costa Rican national soccer team celebrating profusely after scoring a goal against the Italian team in the 2014 World Cup. You might remember that we showed you a picture of Costa Rican player Joel Campbell celebrating a goal by sticking a soccer ball under his shirt – it seems that players from Costa Rica know how to party a bit better.

How Do You Like Me Now?

England’s Daniel Sturridge is celebrating a goal he scored against the Italian team during the 2014 World Cup. The reason he has such an “I told you so” look on his face? Apparently, Daniel had endured some major trash talking from the Italian players during the halftime break. They say that revenge is best served cold, but Daniel came onto the field hot and was clearly very satisfied that he managed to shut the other side up.

Nice Save

When you’re a professional soccer goalie, the most important thing is to have no fear. Germany’s star goalie Manuel Neuer knew how high the stakes were when his team was playing against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final match. His actions were one of the most important factors determining whether they’d return back to Germany with their heads held high or their tails between their legs. This save by Manuel is considered one of the greatest of all time despite how funny his legs look.

Looks Painful

There are so many strange angles in this pic that it’s difficult to know where to start looking. We’re disoriented by the angle of the body of the guy who appears to be leaping sideways in the background – and don’t get us started on the player in the foreground. His foot is touching the ground at an angle that appears to be breaking his toes off from the rest of his foot, and we can’t even imagine how fast he’s going.

Watch Out

From the look on the goalie’s face, it’s clear that he knows that the ball is headed directly to one of the most sensitive parts of his body! The player in question, Mario Gotze from Germany, made the goal that won the 2014 World Cup for his country just seconds after this photo was snapped. After returning home, Mario auctioned off the cleat he was wearing for charity and raised an astonishing sum of $2 million for his favorite foundation.

Et Tu, Brutus?

Sometimes soccer players might play a little bit dirty. Since one single goal can mean the difference between a humiliating defeat and an amazing victory, players might go to the extreme to keep the other side from scoring – or even attempting to score. The player in white has blocked the other player from attempting to score. But the look on this falling player’s face is truly priceless – he looks like he’s been struck down by a mortal enemy!

Tumbling Trio

The Argentina-born Lionel Messi is widely considered to be a living legend and is also thought of as being one of the best players that the game has ever seen. This photo depicts exactly how wildly talented he is when playing “the beautiful game.” You can see not just one, but two separate players attempting to stop him from scoring, and tumbling to the ground behind him in the process. There’s no match for Messi’s speed and agility.

Face Off

Soccer is an intense game, and during a match, emotions can run high – especially when that match is in the most important soccer tournament on the entire planet. During this World Cup 2010 game, Dutch player Nigel de Jong is seen trying to break up an on-field confrontation between a player from the opposing side and his own teammate, Arjen Robben. Because de Jong managed to keep a cool head, both sides walked away and the game was able to continue.

Just Sliding Through

Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Portugal, but the star player is known for his time leading the Spanish team Real Madrid to countless victories. But for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Cristiano took things back to his roots and played on his homeland of Portugal’s national team. This shot shows the moment when he collided with Brazilian player Gilberto Silva when they were both trying to get control of the ball. It looks like he rolled off Gilberto’s back.

Tangled Up

The East Asian country of North Korea is known for being strictly isolationist, but the country surprised the entire world by qualifying for the World Cup in 2010 and sending their best players to South Africa for the most important soccer tournament on the planet. This picture shows exactly how intense the game became for North Korean player Min Im Guk when he battled against Arthur Boka from Ghana for control of the ball during the two countries’ match.

Blow The Whistle Already

Despite appearances, these two players are actually not attempting some couples yoga on the field. Soccer is a very fast moving game, and that means that sometimes players from opposing teams can end up in some awkward looking positions in the heat of the moment. One of the players in the pic had a good sense of humor and even posted on his personal Twitter account: “Wow…some1 get me the photographers address I ain’t having this!!!! Lol!”


All About The Angles

This photo involves a soccer team from a country that’s not usually known for its enthusiasm about the sport – that’s right, the USA! During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, American player Clint Demsey and Ghanian player John Boye both leapt up at the same moment to attempt a header (striking the ball with their heads). However, this, unfortunately, ended up with John kicking Clint directly in the mouth! Clint was okay though and played the remainder of the game.