The top 10 greatest World Cup shocks

By Alma Ortiz,2014-06-17 17:28
10 views 0
The top 10 greatest World Cup shocks

Yesterday, the Spainards, who are seen as one of the most

    potential teams to win the World Cup in South Africa, were

    defeated by Switzerland, a team that had never defeated them in

     World Cup history.

The World Cup has a glorious tradition of underdog stories. While

    every tournament has its favourites, an unlikely hero or two always

    seems to pop up to bloody the nose of one of the big boys. Some of

    the competition’s most enduring memories have come from

    surprise packages and little-known players making a name for

    themselves on the grandest of stages. So without further ado,

    here is a rundown of the ten most shocking upsets in World Cup


    10 - France 0-1 Senegal - Group A, Seoul, 2002

Holders France kicked off the 2002 World Cup as one of the favourites to retain their

    crown. World Cup debutants Senegal, however, with a French Coach and a starting

    XI comprised entirely of France-based players, knew what to expect. The Africans

    took the game to Les Bleus, but it was still a surprise when Papa Bouba Diop forced

    El Hadj Diouf‟s low cross over the line. The weary-looking French, many of whom had played 50+ games for their clubs that season, were devoid of ideas without

    injured talisman Zinedine Zidane, and had no answer. Senegal held on for a famous

    win, while world champions France crashed out of the competition without scoring a


9 - West Germany 3-2 Hungary - Final, Berne, 1954

Hungary‟s name appeared to be on the trophy before a ball had been kicked at

    Switzerland ‟54. Boasting the finest team in the world, and in Ferenc Puskas the

    finest player, the Magnificent Magyars were expected to make light work of a West

    German team they had already demolished 8-3 at the group stage. Sure enough,

    Hungary were 2-0 up within eight minutes of the final. Showing trademark

    organisation and determination however, West Germany battled back to level the

    scores. Hungary began to wilt, most notably the unfit Puskas, who had insisted on

    playing despite an injury. In the second half, Helmut Rahn crashed home the winner,

    and the Magyars had missed their chance. By 1958, defections of Hungary‟s star

    players to the West rendered the team a shadow of the team of four years prior.

    8 - Algeria 2-1 West Germany - Group II, Gijon, 1982


Back in the days when Spain were perennial underachievers, it seemed the 1982

    World Cup offered their best chance of finally lifting the trophy. Yet even with the

    advantages afforded to the host nation, the Spaniards stumbled and stuttered.

    Northern Ireland‟s team of journeymen overcame some dreadful officiating - not

    least the dismissal of Mal Donaghy for an innocuous shove - to silence the home

    crowd. Gerry Armstrong, a winger who struggled to get into Second Division

    Watford‟s team, was the hero, pouncing on Arconada‟s fumble to emphatically rifle

    home the only goal. Ironically, Armstrong‟s exploits in the tournament would earn

    him a move to La Liga with Real Mallorca.

6 - Brazil 1-2 Uruguay - Final Pool, Rio de Janeiro, 1950

The bizarre format of the 1950 World Cup meant that there was no „final‟ as such,

    but rather a „final pool‟ consisting of the four teams who had topped their respective

first round groups. Brazil, hosts and overwhelming favourites, needed just a point

    from their last game against Uruguay to win the World Cup. La Albiceleste

    themselves needed a win to lift the Jules Rimet trophy. So utterly convinced of their

    impending triumph were the Brazilians that the Mayor of Rio gave a grandiose

    pre-match speech before kick off, declaring victory. Uruguay however, have always

    been Brazil‟s bogey team, and when they fought back to cancel out Friaça‟s opening

    goal, the Brazilians - used to having things their own way - crumbled. La Celeste‟s

    mounting pressure would finally pay off through Ghiggia, giving Uruguay an unlikely

    second World Cup to take back across the border. 5 - South Korea 2-1 Italy - Round of 16, Daejon, 2002

South Korea had never won a World Cup game prior to hosting the tournament in

    2002, so the football world was gobsmacked when they knocked out the mighty

    Italy. The Italians cried conspiracy afterwards and the Koreans did profit from some

    wildly generous refereeing, with a perfectly good Italian goal ruled out for offside,

    and their star player, Francesco Totti, dubiously sent off. Ultimately however, the

    Azzurri only had themselves to blame, sitting back on a slender lead and missing an

    unbelievable chance to win it when Christian Vieri contrived to shoot over an open

    goal from two yards. Ahn Jung-Hwan - ironically a reserve at Serie A side Perugia -

    nodded in the crucial golden goal to send the hosts into raptures. Perugia‟s

    president promptly threatened to sack him. 4 - Germany 1-2 Bulgaria - Quarter Final, New York,


Another successful foray into the last four seemed a foregone conclusion for

    Germany, given that Bulgaria had been humiliated in the group stage by fellow

    World Cup virgins Nigeria and needed penalties to scrape past Mexico. The experts

    however, had reckoned without the force of nature that was Hristo Stoichkov. The

    volatile Barcelona forward‟s inch-perfect 30 yard free kick cancelled out Lothar

    Matthaus‟ penalty, before a new hero took centre stage. With just over ten minutes

    remaining, midfielder Yordan Lechkov launched his bald pate at the ball like a man

    fired from a cannon to power home a glorious winner and send Germany packing. 3 - Cameroon 1-0 Argentina - Group B, Milan, 1990

Before there was Senegal, there was Cameroon. The world tuned into the opening

    game of Italia ‟90 expecting to see Diego Maradona‟s world champions defend their

    crown. Instead, the stars were the powerful and flamboyant Indomitable Lions, who

    did the unthinkable and took the lead when Argentine goalkeeper Nery Pumpido

    made a hash of Francois Omam-Biyick‟s header. It took some increasingly brutal

    defending to keep Cameroon in front as they finished the game with nine men -

    Benjamin Massing‟s early-bath earning chest-high tackle on Claudio Caniggia being the most x-rated of the bunch. But Hold on Cameroon did, embarking on a

    memorable journey which took them to within eight minutes of a World Cup


    2 - North Korea 1-0 Italy - Group 4, Middlesbrough,


    A change of Koreas here, but the same result - 36 years before the South‟s, their Communist cousins from the North were already raining down humiliation on the

    Azzurri. Italy went into the 1966 World Cup on a run of good form but were riven

    with internal conflict and had an unpopular Coach in Edmondo Fabbri. The enigmatic

    North Koreans made many friends at their Middlesbrough base and, roared on by

    the Ayresome Park crowd, stunned the Italians with their courageous, enterprising

    play. There was no way back for Italy when Pak Doo-Ik‟s angled drive gave the Asians the lead. Crashing out at the first hurdle, the Italian players were pelted with

    rotten tomatoes at the airport on their return home.

1 - USA 1-0 England - Group 2, Belo Horizonte, 1950

    England took something of a golden generation to their first World Cup, boasting the likes of Stanley Matthews, Wilf Mannion and Tom Finney in their ranks. Such a formality was the game against the United States - a hastily-assembled team of semi-professionals who had lost their last seven games by a combined score line of 45-2 - that even USA Coach Bill Jeffrey admitted that his team had no chance. However, despite wave after wave of England attacks, the USA took the lead with a freak goal, as the ball seemed to simply hit Joe Gaetjans and go in. England, try as they might, could not find a way through. At the final whistle, the delighted Brazilian crowd poured onto the pitch and carried the American players on their shoulders. England meanwhile, went home.

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email