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Worst XI: Infamous football punch-ups

  • Story Highlights
  • Football Fanzone presents a rundown of 11 infamous pitch punch-ups
  • The tension of competition has even seen teammates turn against one-another
  • Let us know what you think by commenting in the Sound Off box
By Greg Duke
For CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- An ill-tempered CONCACAF Gold Cup match between Mexico and Panama recently saw three players and Mexico coach Javier Aguirre sent off amid violent scenes in Houston, Texas.

Rudi Voeller is held back by Jurgen Klinsmann as he gets involved with Dutchman Frank Rijkaard.

Newcastle teammates Lee Bowyer (left) and Kieron Dyer turn against one-another.

The 1-1 draw, which saw the referee add on 10 minutes at the end for all the various stoppages, got Fanzone thinking about some of the most controversial match melees that have occurred.

Do you agree with our worst 11? Post your comments in the Sound Off box below.

1 The Battle of Santiago, Chile v Italy, World Cup 1962

Surely the most violent match in history. The tone was set when the first foul was committed after 12 seconds. Two Italian players were sent off as the teams spent the whole 90 minutes punching, spitting and scuffling with each other, with Chile managing to score two goals in-between the fighting. Police had to come onto the pitch three times to sort out the chaos while Italian Giorgio Ferrini had to be escorted off by armed officers when he refused to leave the pitch after his dismissal. Referee Ken Aston remarked: "I wasn't reffing a football match, I was acting as an umpire in military maneuvers."

2 Valencia v Inter Milan, Champions League 2007

Six yellow cards were handed out during the game, but it was events that followed which marred Valencia's passage through to the quarterfinals. On the final whistle, Inter midfielder Nicolas Burdisso came together with Valencia defender Carlos Marchena, sparking a brawl. Unused Valencia substitute David Navarro then ran onto the field, to join in - the result of which was a broken nose for Burdisso. Navarro, retreated to the sidelines chased and kicked by Inter players Julio Cruz, Ivan Cordoba. The melee continued in the tunnel, with the Spanish Civil Guard eventually needed to quell the problem. UEFA, European football's governing body, subsequently fined Navarro $200,000 and banned the player for eight games, Burdisso was slapped with an eight-match suspension, Maicon for six, Córdoba for three games and Julio Cruz for two.

3 Turkey v Switzerland, World Cup play-off 2006

Violence erupted after Turkey missed a place in the 2006 finals after going out on the away goals rule following a 4-2 win in Istanbul. Players and technical staff were seen throwing punches in the tunnel as the Swiss side ran for their lives against a torrent of Turkish anger. Turkey assistant-coach Mehmet Ozdilek was banned from all football for one year, while two Turkish players, and one Swiss, were handed six-match bans. Turkey were also ordered to play their next six competitive home matches behind closed doors at neutral venues.

Have we missed a famous punch-up out? Leave your suggestions below

4 Manchester United v Arsenal, English Division One 1990

These two rivals have been involved in some juicy encounters over the years, but this is one of the most infamous. Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn went in late on Manchester United's Denis Irwin prompting chaos, as 21 players, with Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman proving the exception, joining in the fracas. Remarkably nobody was sent off but the English Football Association took a dim view and deducted Arsenal two league points and United one. Arsenal won the match 1-0 and still went on to lift the title.

5 France v Italy, World Cup final 2006

The great Zinedine Zidane had led an unfancied and ageing French side to the World Cup final. With the match level in extra time, the attentions of notorious Italian hard-man and chief agitator Marco Materazzi finally proved too much for the France No.10 - who responded to some choice words by the Inter Milan central defender by turning around and viciously head-butting his rival in the stomach. Zidane was sent off. France eventually lost on penalties and the Real Madrid playmaker bizarrely went on to be voted 'Player of the Tournament'.

6 Kevin Keegan v Billy Bremner, Liverpool v Leeds Charity Shield 1974

England striker Keegan blamed Bremner for "taking him out" in an off the ball. Bremner was not one for holding back and Wembley stadium, home of some famous boxing matches over the years, played host to another as these two diminutive players slugged it out like two featherweights challenging for the WBC world title. Unsurprisingly both were sent off and added to their charge list by hurling their tops to the ground and walking off the pitch bare-chested. Each player was fined £500 ($810) and banned for 11 games, although shirt-throwing accounted for eight of the matches!

7 Rudi Voeller v Frank Rijkaard, Netherlands v Germany World Cup 1990

Not the most violent, but certainly one of the funniest. The pair were sniping at each other throughout the match. Rijkaard came in late on Voeller, who later took his revenge with a lunge on goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen. Rijkaard took exception and, after a melee, the pair were sent off, with the Dutchman then notoriously spitting as hard as he could into the German's curly perm as the disgraced pair left the pitch.

8 Lee Bowyer v Kieron Dyer, Newcastle v Aston Villa English Premier League 2005

Punch-ups are rare in modern football, but between teammates they are non-existent. These two hot-heads got into a debate over Dyer's refusal to pass Bowyer the ball. Both players had made news for their off-field activities in the past - but they took their behavior to a new low when they exchanged blows in the middle of the Newcastle half soon after Villa had gone 3-0 up. The pair later appeared alongside manager Graeme Souness to apologize for their conduct, but pointedly did not say sorry to each other.

9 LDU Quito v Barcelona, Ecuador league 2006

A mass brawl at the end of the match on the final day of the season shocked Ecuador - and resulted in a host of suspensions being handed out. A total of 11 players were banned for between two and 12 months for taking part in the punch-up which saw four Barcelona players receive injuries. The incident started with a clash between former Ecuador striker Agustin Delgado and his marker Victor Montoya.

10 Cruzeiro v Atletico Mineiro Brazilian league 2007

Atletico Mineiro defender Coelho did not take kindly to the seal dribble of talented teenager Kerlon - who collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area, flicked it up and performed his trademark dribble by bouncing the ball on his head as he ran towards goal. Coelho crashed into him and was given a straight red card and a four-month suspension. Other Atletico players remonstrated angrily with Kerlon, leading to an angry pushing match which interrupted the game for five minutes. Atletico coach Emerson Leao warned that Kerlon could get seriously injured if he tried the trick again.

11 Chelsea v Arsenal English League Cup final 2007

With Chelsea winning 2-1 Arsenal defender Kolo Toure reacted angrily to a late challenge. Both sides had a number of African players in their line-ups and a mass brawl erupted which saw three of them, Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor, Toure and Chelsea's John Obi Mikel sent off. Adebayor refused to leave the pitch and it needed respective managers - the hot-headed pair of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho - to stride onto the turf and defuse the situation.

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