Most shocking results in FIFA World Cup so far (Since 1930)
What other major upsets have occurred in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup, following Saudi Arabia’s surprising victory over Argentina? We examine five of the most unexpected findings.
Some unexpected outcomes from the FIFA World Cup 2022 have already been observed. The Japanese team known as the Samurai Blue defeated one of the tournament favorites, Germany, on Wednesday, November 23.
That occurred the day after one of the favorites, Argentina, lost against Saudi Arabia, ending a streak of 36 straight victories.
In its 92-year existence, the FIFA World Cup has witnessed numerous significant upsets, frequently featuring nations that would be called footballing “minnows” defeating a superpower from the sport’s traditional heartlands of Europe and South America.
Here are eight of the most shocking defeats in World Cup history, listed in reverse chronological order.
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Qatar 2022: 2 Saudi Arabia 1 Argentina
The defeat suffered by Argentina on Tuesday (November 22) will probably be among the most improbable outcomes. On paper, the world’s third-ranked team should have had no issue with the Saudis, who are ranked 51st in the world.
The Albiceleste, who had last fallen to Brazil in the 2019 Copa América semifinals, instead suffered their first loss in more than three years.
As Argentina threatened to run riot in the first half, Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot to score his seventh World Cup goal in 20 games and become the first player from his nation to score at four different tournaments (2006, 2014, 2018, 2022).
However, the Argentinians suffered from three goals that were ruled offside, and Saudi Arabia’s 10-minute offensive stretch in the second half led to the unexpected comeback.
Messi and his teammates in Lusail appeared utterly stunned and dejected as the final whistle blew. The shock Saudi Arabia pulled off during the World Cup may be the most famous in recent memory.
2018 World Cup: 2-0, South Korea – Germany
Germany’s victory over South Korea was enough to advance the German team to the knockout round, despite the German squad having lost to Mexico earlier in the competition. Although their chances of qualifying were limited, South Korea needed to win by a margin of two goals and hold out hope that Mexico would defeat Sweden.
At a World Cup held outside of their home country, South Korea has only ever defeated Togo and Greece. Four minutes into extra time, Kim Young-gwon scored to save the game from ending in a 0-0 tie. Son Heung-min scored again two minutes later, but South Korea was still out since Mexico had fallen to Sweden. For the first time since 1938, Germany failed to move past the group stage.
2010 World Cup: 3-0, Switzerland – Spain
Only South Korea and Togo had been defeated by the adversary Switzerland at a World Cup since 1954. Spain had 22 shots compared to Switzerland’s six, but Switzerland’s surprise victory was secured by a goal from Gelson Fernandes in the 52nd minute. But unlike England in 1950, Spain was able to bounce back and eventually win the FIFA World Cup championship three weeks later.
2002: South Korea/Japan match score: France 0 Senegal 1
The one that every French soccer fan would wish to forget. Senegal’s goal in the first half by Papa Bouba Diop was enough to upset France in the opening game of the 2002 tournament in Seoul.
Senegal, which was competing in their first World Cup and was rated 68th in the world at the time, achieved an impressive accomplishment by making it to the knockout rounds.
The defending champions France, on the other hand, placed worst in their group and were eliminated early, something that had not happened to the defending champions since 1966.
The French, who won EURO 2000 and were also crowned European champions, failed to score a goal in any of their three games.
Senegal continued on to the quarterfinals before falling to Turkey in a golden-goal overtime period.
2006 World Cup: 2-0, Ghana – Czech
The Czech team was considered a dark horse for the 2006 World Cup after making it to the final of the 2004 European Championship and surviving a challenging qualification process. Ghana, which was competing in its first World Cup, had already fallen to Italy in a challenging group.
But in this game, Ghana took the lead after just 70 seconds and easily defeated the Czechs, achieving the fourth least likely outcome in World Cup history. Ghana made it to the knockout round, where it fell to Brazil 3-0 in the round of 16.
Italy 1990: Argentina 0 Cameroon 1
Argentina was there before France. Given that they were the defending champions, the 1986 World Cup victors began the 1990 tournament in Italy as strong favorites.
But Argentina lost the opening game of the campaign when nine-man Cameroon won 1-0 against Diego Maradona’s Albiceleste, precisely as France would do twelve years later.
Despite the unexpected loss, Argentina advanced to the knockout rounds since only eight of the 24 participating teams were eliminated in the group round.
Argentina competed in the Rome final but fell short to the Federal Republic of Germany.
1982 World Cup: 2-1, Algeria – West Germany
The team’s best performance to date came in Algeria’s inaugural World Cup game. In addition to scoring the game-winning goal against one of the tournament favorites in West Germany, Lakhdar Belluomini assisted on his team’s opening goal.
However, despite this promising beginning, Algeria was unable to go beyond the group. West Germany and Austria would play out the outcome that advanced them both to the following stage. West Germany eventually made it to the championship game that year but fell to Italy 3-1.
England 1966: DPR Korea 1, Italy 0
In World Cup history, 1966 produced one of the most recognizable outcomes. No, we’re not referring to the championship game that England defeated the FRG in overtime.
Eleven days before, this game was played in Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park in the northeast of England.
It included Italy, the 1934 and 1938 champions, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, who were playing in their first World Cup.
The DPRK fell to the Soviet Union in their second match before scoring a late equalizer to draw 1-1 with Chile.
It implied that a victory over Italy in their final group match would almost certainly advance them to the quarterfinals.
Pak Doo-first-half ik’s goal cemented his place in World Cup history, and they succeeded in doing just that.
The DPRK would not play in another FIFA World Cup until 2010, while Italy was ousted in the group stage after losing to Eusébio’s Portugal in the quarterfinal. Four years later, they would make it to the final but lose to Brazil.
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Brazil 1950: USA 1, England 0
England participated in its first World Cup in 1950 after missing the first three tournaments due to the Second World War.
At the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, the USA and England played each other for the first time.
After defeating Chile in their initial game, many people expected England to comfortably defeat the Americans. However, Joe Gaetjens’ goal in the first half produced a stunning surprise that is now regarded as one of the largest Global Cup shocks ever.
Neither England nor the USA made it to the round of elimination since only the group winners advanced.
And ever since that initial encounter, England has overwhelmingly prevailed in matches between the two teams, winning 8 of their 11 encounters before to the 2022 World Cup.
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