Biggest upsets in football World Cup history

Last updated 11:15 09/07/2014

Relevant offers

Football

Steven Gerrard retires from international duty Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick's midfield demands Chris Wood's EPL dream could be delayed James Rodriguez's goal the best of World Cup Footballers refusing to go to Ukraine 'will suffer' Germany parties too hard, damages World Cup Qatar 2022 World Cup investigation delayed Tribute for Newcastle fans killed on flight MH17 Phoenix coach Merrick reaches out to West Ham Good news on Wellington Phoenix injury front

Germany 7, Brazil 1 when Brazil had not lost a serious international on home soil since 1975. Surely the biggest upset in World Cup history?

Not so much, it seems - Brazil had lost captain Thiago Silva and star striker Neymar, and had a leaky and makeshift defence. So the scoreline is a shock, but not the result.

These games on the other hand are widely regarded by football pundits as bigger surprises - All Whites draws in South Africa need not apply.

United States 1, England 0, 1950

England were favoured to win the tournament against a nation with no footballing pedigree. Whoops. England were all over the US early but in the 37th minute Larry Gaetjens stunned them with a goal, and England couldn't find the net. Red faces abounded in the homeland.

Algeria 2, Germany 1, 1982

No African side had ever won a game at the finals, and Germany had the likes of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner. Stunningly the Algerians took the lead. When the Germans equalised the Desert Foxes struck back and clung on. Shamefully they failed to advance when Germany and Austria contrived a result, which put them both through and Algeria out.

North Korea 1 Italy 0, 1966

È impossibile! (no way in Italian). Mighty Italy couldn't find a way through the Koreans' defence then Pak Doo Ik scored the winner. Italy, who played most of the game with 10 men, were out. North Korea wasn't done shocking the world in their quarterfinal they led Portugal 3-0 after 25 minutes, but lost 3-5.

Uruguay 2, Brazil 1, 1950

A loss probably felt even more keenly in Brazil, than the 1-7 loss. Under the old rules, Brazil needed only a draw Uruguay to be crowned champions for the first time and a world record 200,000 turned up at their home stadium to watch it. Newspapers had been printed proclaiming Brazil the champions. Fans wept openly in the streets, the keeper who failed to stop the Uruguay winner 10 minutes from time never played for Brazil again. Brazil even changed the colour of their jerseys

Scotland 3 Holland 2, 1978

Not chosen simply because Scotland actually won a game at the finals. Holland were the ultimate "total football' side but wee baldy Archie Gemmill scored 2 - one an absoulte stunner - and the famous Kenny Dalglish added another. Scotland still didn't get out of pool play, the Dutch lost to Argentina in the final.

Cameroon 1 Argentina 0, 1990

Cameroon only had nine men after two players were sent off. Against the world champs and Diego Maradona and in only their second appearance in the finals, they stunned the world when Omam Biyik headed home the winner. Biyik said: "We hate it when European reporters ask us if we eat monkeys and have a witch doctor. We are real football players and we proved this tonight."

Costa Rica 1 Scotland 0, 1990

We warned you about Scotland. Another dreadful performance, another another first round exit. Hand me a dram. At least Costa Rica cheered the Scots up when they made the quarters this tournament.

Ad Feedback

Republic of Ireland 1 Italy 0, 1994

Playing in the US was like playing at home for Ireland, but probably it was for Italy too. Jack Charlton's side scored with a stunning Ray Houghton screamer, then held on for dear life.

France 0 Senegal 1, 2002

Tiny Senegal, a former French colony, paid no attention to the fact they were playing the World and European champions in their tournament opener. France hit the woodwork twice, but only the Africans - full of players who played in largely garden-variety French clubs - found the net.

Italy 1 South Korea 2, 2002

In a match in Korea riddled with controversial refereeing decisions - most went against Italy - Ahn Jung-hwan scored the winner three minutes from the end of extra-time in the second round match, after Seol Ki Hyeon had scored two minutes from the end of ordinary time to tie the match up. The win meant for the first time in history, teams from each continent - except Oceania - were in the quarterfinals of the same tournament.

Spain 0 Switzerland 1, 2010

European champions Spain lost their opener in Durban, when Gelson Fernandes scored for the Swiss the 52nd minute, Spain were denied by the crossbar 19 minutes later. Spain out-passed, and out-classed Switzerland without out-scoring them, seeming to live up to their Cup underachievers tag. They recovered from the setback to lift the Cup, beating the Dutch 1-0 in the final.

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best player at the World Cup?

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Mario Goetze (Germany)

James Rodriguez (Colombia)

Neymar (Brazil)

Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Toni Kroos (Germany)

Angel di Maria (Argentina)

Miroslav Klose (Germany)

Mesut Ozil (Germany)

Sami Khedira (Germany)

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content