1- Politics on the stands-USSR vs. Poland, 1982 World Cup
During the Poland and USSR matchup in the 1982 World Cup (July 4, 1982, USSR 0-Poland 0), Polish fans unfurled the Solidarity Banners of Lech Walesa.
The Spanish police (under a chorus of jeers) had to intervene and remove these banners after pressure from Soviet Television.
Photo From: Spain '82, The Winning of the World Cup, Authors Phil Soar and Richard Widdows
(Solidarity Movement Banners, July 4, 1982, World Cup, Poland 0-USSR 0 )
Photo From: Onze, Issue 90, June 1983(Oleg Blokhin and Zbigniew Boniek, July 4, 1982, World Cup, Poland 0-USSR 0 )
2- English players giving the Nazi salute, 1938
The 1938 friendly between Germany and England in Berlin (May 14, 1938, Germany 3-England 6) is always remembered for the sight of the English players giving the Nazi salute.
It is somewhat unclear as to why the players did it (more importantly who forced them).
According to England Captain Edris Hapgood, he was called in by FA President Stanley Rous and tour leader Charles Wreford-Brown. They told him that after a meeting with the ambassador Sir Neville Henderson, they were instructed to give the Nazi salute prior to the kickoff to avoid any political incidents. (remember appeasement)
For his part, Stanley Rous claimed that he put the decision up to the players, but did point out that the match atmosphere might be affected by their refusal.
Given the sensitivity of game with the possibility war looming on the horizon, it seems unlikely that the authorities (Football or Political) would have left it up to the players.
Photo From: Calcio 2000, Issue 31, June 2000
(Edris Hapgood leading out England, May 14, 1938, Germany 3-England 6)
3- War in Bosnia/Yugoslavia, 1992
Just weeks prior to the 1992 Euros in Sweden, Yugoslavia who had already qualified were excluded from the tournament on Political grounds.
This was due to the escalation of the war into Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Denmark, the runner-ups in their Group, were invited to take their place and ended up winning the Tournament.
Photo From: (Magazine Source unknown) / Contribution From a blog viewer
(Denmark’s victorious squad, June 26, 1992, European Championship, Denmark 2-Germany 0)
4- Jacques Chirac and Bolivia 1997
For Years Bolivia’s home venue of Estadio Hernándo Siles at La Paz has been criticized by visiting teams. Due to the fact that it is very high above sea level, makes it hard to breath especially for visiting teams who are not acclimatized to the local conditions. Many have suggested for that particular venue to be banned. For their part, the Bolivians have claimed that it is an advantage similar to some nations playing in hot weather or cold.
When 1998 World Cup hosts France’s President was in an official visit in Bolivia in 1997, he lent public support for Bolivia to maintain what it considers a home field advantage.
Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 115, August 1998
(French President Jacques Chirac celegrating the World Cup win, July 12, 1998, World Cup, France 3-Brazil 0)
5- France and Italy Match 1938 World Cup
Italy and hosts France were to play one another during the Second Round of the 1938 World Cup in Paris (June 12, 1938, France 1-Italy 3).
Naturally, the Italians (under Benito Mussolini) expected a hostile reaction from the local fans, not to mention all the exiled Italians living in France.
Both teams wore Blue as their primary colors, it has been said lots were drawn to see who would wear blue and the French won. (Although perhaps as the host country, they already had that option).
The Italians could have worn their away strip of white, but it has been suggested that Mussolini himself wanted the Italians to wear their all Black jerseys to taunt the crowd and evoke memories of Fascist Black shirts.
Note: The Italians had already worn these black shirts weeks prior in a friendly (May 22, 1938, Italy 4-Yugoslavia 0)