Italian giant Juventus built one of the strongest sides in the world, but general director Luciano Moggi apparently wasn't convinced that that was enough for the Turin team to win Serie A. Earlier this year Moggi was accused of using his contacts to manipulate officiating assignments so that only refs who favored Juve would get high-profile assignments. He also allegedly influenced referees to book players on opposing teams before they played Juventus so they would be suspended for the Juve game. Moggi also was accused of exerting an influence over the national team; he reportedly told a player he was courting that he could get him onto the national team.
Juventus and three other teams were found guilty by a sports tribunal. Shortly after the Italian team returned from Germany after winning the World Cup, Juve was stripped of its 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles and relegated to Serie B.
4. It's a deal
Soccer's major competitions -- the World Cup, the European Championship, the Champions League -- all consist of a group-play stage, with the top teams advancing to the single-elimination knockout stages. Occasionally the final round of games in the group stage will feature a matchup in which a mutually beneficial result is possible. And when that happens, the spirit of competition can easily go by the wayside.
Take, for instance, the 1982 World Cup game between West Germany and Austria. If Germany won by the score of 1-0, both teams would go through to the knockout stages. So what happened? Germany scored in the 10th minute, and then the two teams kicked the ball around the park for 80 minutes, never threatening to score. It was a debacle -- one fan burned a German flag in the stands in disgust -- and it prompted FIFA to have the final group-stage games start simultaneously to cut down on the possibility that teams would know which outcomes would favor both teams.
5. Enckelman's own goal: Sept. 16, 2002
If you're going to royally screw up, there are few worse places to do it than in a derby. In 2002, Aston Villa was playing crosstown rival Birmingham City in a hotly contested match. In the 77th minute Villa's Olof Mellberg took a throw-in deep in his own end. He tossed it to keeper Peter Enckelman, who somehow whiffed when he tried kick it, even though there wasn't a City player near him. The ball went under his foot and rolled into the net, one of the most bizarre own goals ever scored. "I'm sure I'll be a laughingstock," Enckelman lamented, and he was right.
6. Seeing red at the World Cup: 2006
Before the 2006 World Cup, FIFA instructed refs to be extra vigilant in policing dives, jersey pulls and various other infractions. As a result, a record 345 yellow cards were shown, and 28 players were sent off. In the round of 16 game between Portugal and the Netherlands, referee Valentin Ivanov booked 16 players and sent off four, meaning the game finished as a nine-on-nine affair.
But that wasn't the most egregious case of bad reffing. Referee Graham Poll of England was sent home in shame after he forgot to send off Croatia's Josip Simunic after his second yellow card. Poll finally showed Simunic the gate after a third yellow.
7. Beckham's folly: June 24, 2004
Few players have had a more mercurial relationship with fans than David Beckham. In the 1998 World Cup, Becks was vilified in Old Blighty after he was sent off against Argentina for kicking out at Diego Simeone (who, to be fair to Beckham, made a meal of it). Three years later Beckham was a hero after he scored a remarkable free kick in the dying moments against Greece to secure England's place in the 2002 World Cup, capping a remarkable turnaround for a team that had a loss and a draw in its first two qualifying games and appeared to have no chance to make it to Korea/Japan. For good measure, Beckham scored the only goal in England's win over Argentina on a penalty kick. Two years later Becks was back to being a goat -- and it was his inability to convert from the spot that did it.
In the semifinal of the 2004 European championships, England and Portugal were tied at two and headed to penalties. Beckham was the first player up, and his effort was, frankly, not too good. How bad was it? When it finally alit, it was caught by a fan. In row Q. Yes, row Q. England never recovered from Beckham's blast over the bar as Portugal won 6-5.