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  • Writer's pictureMona Elyafi

Coupe Du Monde And Coupe De Champagne: Top Five Bubbliest Moments In The World Cup History

There is no bigger sports event in the world than the World Cup.

Created in 1930 by the Fédération International de Football Association (FIFA), the first World Cup took place in Uruguay with the host team snatching the first Cup ever.

Since its inception, the World Cup has continuously been held once every four years with the exception of the 1940s hiatus due to World War II.


The World Cup 2022 presently held in Qatar marks the 22nd anniversary of the most watched sporting event in the entire world - the 2018 edition broke records scoring insanely impressive ratings with more than half the global population having watched the event.


Already underway, Qatar 2022 is making history by not only being the first World Cup held in the Middle East but also the first time the tournament is (unorthodoxly) held during the winter months (traditionally every World Cup edition runs during the June- July time frame).

The competition kicked off on November 20 and is running for 28 days leading to the highly anticipated final match on December 18 at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, Qatar.


At this stage one thing is for CERTAIN … the World Cup 2022 is in full swing!

Whatever team you are routing for, every match is quite the nail-biting affair.

Hearts are broken, others are filled with joy and hope that the team you’ve rallied around goes home with the big prize. Let’s be honest, there is no bigger adrenaline rush than the World Cup.


As we’re all glued to our TV and/or computer screens for the next remaining 2 weeks of this exciting World Cup cheering on our favorite team(s) let’s not forget to reward ourselves with our own ‘gold’ CUP!


What better way to enjoy football than with some of Champagne.

One of the most versatile wines in the world, Champagne pairs perfectly well with football (because it is called football and not soccer). It’s as fast-paced, high-energy, crisp, pétillant, intense, crafty and refined as a football match and both are the skilled labor of a team effort.


Ahead of the upcoming quarter finals, as I obviously can’t predict what teams will make it to the semi-finals and ultimately the final, I want, instead, to go back in time, pick five of the most epically monumental moments in the history of the World Cup and match it with the best champagne.




  • 1982 World Cup Semi-Final France Vs Germany: Toni Schumacher Vs Patrick Battiston

No patriotic French citizen can ever forget about the scandalous worst unpunished incident that took place during the 1982 World Cup semi-final between France and Germany.

German goalkeeper, Harald ‘Toni” Schumacher charged full blooded out of his box and knocked Patrick Battiston out cold. Such a violent act. No penalty kick was awarded, no foul was called, no red card was given, instead Germany got a goal kick courtesy of Dutch referee Charles Corver. The brutally horrific collision left Battiston half an hour unconscious, drifting in and out of a coma, with three broken teeth, cracked ribs, and damaged vertebrae.

A quite shaken French team lost the goal-lead they had over Germany.

A 3-3 draw after extra-time, the game was decided by penalty kicks. France unfairly lost.


As a French citizen and an inveterate soccer fan, I never got over this defeat and, yes, mea culpa, have been waiting to get revenge since 1982 as we (France) were cheated of our opportunity to play in the final. A profound calamity and enormous injustice.



Champagne paring: KRUG GRANDE CUVÉE 167 ÉDITION


A rich blend of 191 wines from 13 different years, the youngest of which is from 2011, while the oldest dates back to 1995. Its final composition is 47% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 17% Meunier.

Krug Grande Cuvée 167 Edition is so aromatically powerful and opulant, it beautifully matches the dramatic intensity of this unforgettable 1982 World Cup semi-final. This cuvée is delightfully laced with a range of marzipan, spices, grilled nuts, gingerbread, nougat, brioche, coffee, citrus and floral notes. Made from an enviable panorama of reserve wines, this exceptionally rich champagne is big in personality, complex in character and charismatic in stature.

An outstanding elegant cellar-worthy champagne.




  • 1986 World Cup: Maradona “The hand of God” & “The Goal of the Century”

Thirty-six years may have elapsed since the World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and England in Mexico (two countries who just four years before were at war) but it is still talked about with much emotion because of the controversial goal of one massive legend namely, Maradona.

The infamous goal that stood to give Argentina the lead over England was nothing short of a felony. Maradona used his hand to score this first goal, an illegal move per FIFA rules.

But because the referee failed to see the action and VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology was not yet available back then the goal was unfairly granted.


Dubbed “The Hand of God”, the goal was scored courtesy of Maradona’s left-hand punch – not God’s! Yet in a somewhat redeeming maneuver, the soccer icon pulled another incredibly amazing stunt during that same match. Five minutes after his hand goal, Maradona accomplished another milestone known as “The Goal of the Century” with an impressive slaloming run to score the victory goal. The goal was voted the greatest ever at the World Cup in an online poll conducted by FIFA in 2002 and a statue of Maradona immortalizing the moment was erected outside the Azteca stadium.



Champagne pairing: POL ROGER RÉSERVE BRUT


The Brut Réserve is a blend in equal parts of the three main grape varieties: pinot noir, Meunier and chardonnay from 30 different crus, and reserve wines accounting for 25%.

When we talk about the “hand of God”, for the Champagne world, I immediately think about Pol Roger. Pol Roger is one of the only Champagne négotiants to continue to riddle all its cuvées by hand. Long abandoned by a wide majority of champagne producers, this time-consuming, labor-intensive process called “Remuage “takes three weeks longer to complete than producers who have adopted modern technology and utilize the gyropallette.

Hand crafted since 1849 Pol Roger enjoys an unmatched reputation for exceptional quality.

The Réserve Brut offers flavors of cooked fruit (quince jelly, apricot jam) happily mingle with fragrances of beeswax and acacia honey. The long-lasting aromas, composed of both fruity (candied orange peel, tangerine...) and spicy notes (cardamom, anis) is outstanding.




  • 1990 World Cup: Milla's Dancing

The 1990 World Cup was all about one team: CAMEROON. The underdog team stole the hearts of soccer fans by beating some of the most prominent teams and becoming the first African nation to reach the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup.

But it was Roger Milla, the indomitable Lion who gained international stardom for not only being the oldest World Cup goalscorer ever but also being one of the most entertaining players. Showing that his skills were not solely limited to soccer, he made World Cup history with his famous signature dance moves. To celebrate a goal, he would run to the corner flag and wiggle his hips pioneering the trend of football players around the world who looked for creative ways to celebrate their goals too. It became such an iconic moment that the 2010 Coca-Cola campaign was focused on celebrating the Roger Milla corner dance.



Champagne Pairing: MOUZON-LEROUX L'INCANDESCENT EXTRA BRUT ROSE CHAMPAGNE DE SAIGNÉE


Of course, I had to pick a Rosé champagne to pair it with Milla’s contagiously fun to watch dance moves. The Rosé color naturally evokes energy, cheerfulness, bubbliness, and enthusiasm – character traits that mirror Milla’s magnetic personality. L’incandescent by Mouzon-Leroux is one of those rare exceptional rosé champagnes crafted by way of the “saignée” method. A mouthwatering refined champagne that is 100% Pinot Noir from the Grand Cru village of Verzy and underwent 16 hours of maceration.

Incandescent: Incandescence is a physical, universal phenomenon that makes objects shine when heated.” The term derives from the Latin verb “incandescere,” meaning to glow.

Roger Milla was undeniably the shining star of the 1990 World Cup.




  • 2006 World Cup: Zidane's Headbutt

If you’re a soccer fan you remember legendary French midfielder Zinedine Zidane (aka Zizou) as one of football’s all-time greats. His precision and exceptional techniques led France to its first World Cup victory in 1998 scoring twice in the 3-0 final against Brazil. Yet more than his soccer exploits, it is Zidane’s infamous headbutt on Italy’s Marco Materazzi that supersedes his illustrious decorated career.

The contentious incident took place during the 2006 World Cup final that saw France face Italy. The game was in the second half of extra time when allegedly Materazzi made a derogatory comment about the global superstar’s sister. Zizou was given a red card and shamefully departed the field. While Zidane, prior to the game, had made the announcement that this final was to be his last professional match, the controversial headbutt remains a disastrous and inglorious way to end such a stellar career. After the teams stayed locked at 1-1 through 120 minutes of tense play, the winner of the match was decided by penalty kicks with France being deprived of their leader and chief penalty-taker. Zidane’s incomprehensible lapse of judgement cost France a second World Cup. Even though Les Bleus were clearly the better team, Italy went on to defeat France 5-3 snatching its fourth World Cup. Materazzi who was given a two-match ban by FIFA revealed later the content of the verbal altercation that provoked the regretful incident.

"Yes, I was tugging his shirt, but when he said to me scornfully 'If you want my shirt so much I'll give it to you afterwards' … I answered that I'd prefer his sister, it's true,” Materazzi confessed to Gazzetta.

As for Zidane, he never apologized, loyally defending his sister’s honor. Shameful that a professional career as a soccer giant at the highest level high ended in such an epic low fashion.



Champagne Pairing: VEUVE CLICQUOT LA GRANDE DAME 2008


I’m not being facetious here by choosing to pair the infamous Zidane Headbutt with La Grande Dame. I certainly do not condone violence but as someone who has three brothers, I can appreciate any sibling defending his/her sister’s honor.

La Grande Dame is of course named after Barbe Nicole Clicquot-Ponsardin, better known as la Veuve Clicquot. She was one of the first businesswomen in history to lead an international commercial Empire. Family loyalty is an admirable vertu and a powerful force. Defending your family honor and name is evidence of moral character.

La Grande Dame is a wine to reflect the image of the great lady of Champagne herself. One of the finest Champagne vintages, La Grande Dame 2008 is elegant, rich, and complex. Pinot Noir dominates (61%) and provides the structure, followed by Chardonnay (34%) that adds finesse and elegance, and then Meunier (5%) that rounds out the blend. 5% of the wines were produced and aged in large wooden casks (foudres) increasing the wine’s strength and aromatic richness. The cask-aged wines act as spices to the blend, bringing very lightly woody, vanilla and toasted aromas. A perfect balance of complexity, structure, honesty, strength and power.



  • And finally, this year’s stunning World Cup upset: Argentina defeated by Saudi Arabia

No one expect Lionel Messi’s Argentina to drop the ball at such an early stage of the 2022 World Cup, but they did! The unlikely Saudi victory came as a massive shock as Argentina had remained undefeated for thirty-six games in a row prior.

While Argentina was leading in the first half of the game, the scale suddenly tipped in favor of the Saudis who came back in the second half to play in a more aggressive and efficient way. Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari ‘s goals sent Saudis’ fans into frenzy producing one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament. A monumental milestone of epic proportions! The 51st-ranked Saudi Arabia team beat Argentina 2-1 in their Group C opener and made World Cup history. Perhaps Saudi Arabian coach Herve Renard’s passionate halftime speech (which went viral) had everything to do with this shocking yet well-deserved victory. If you have not heard it yet, watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YdhMUpDTkM

Talk about pep talk!


The Saudi win marked such a historic moment that Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia not only declared the next day a national holiday but also (allegedly) gifted each player with a Royce Rolls Phantom.



Champagne Pairing: CHAMPAGNE RENDEZ-VOUS LE GRAND RENDEZ-VOUS 2012 BLANC DE NOIRS

Le Grand Rendez-Vous 2012 is the fruit of many years of aging and special Premier and Grand Cru parcels from old vines of Pinot Noir. Soils of sandy-clay and chalk gives the wine an unbelievable complexity, elegance, and richness with a persistent mineral finish.

This brand new Cuvée, like the Saudi soccer team, is a hidden gem and quite the pleasant surprise. Produced in a very limited series of 200 bottles, this Prestige cuvée is the start of a new series from the Rendez-Vous Collection, which will all be produced in small quantities and showcase a specific year, grape varieties, and terroir with a single grower.




The next World Cup will be held in 2026 and will be shared by three nation hosts: USA, Canada, and Mexico. In the meantime, the suspense continues as this exciting 2022 World Cup continues to enfold and teams keep battling on the field to advance to the next round and ultimately bring home the revered FIFA World Cup Gold Trophy.


No matter who you are routing for, on December 18, the World Cup 2022 Final, don’t forget the unmistaken centerpiece of celebration and the one common universal royal guest: CHAMPAGNE!



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