Upsets In World Cup History

Top 10 Upsets in World Cup History

    Since the FIFA World Cup started its journey back in 1930 in Uruguay, it has witnessed some unforgettable moments, including several upsets. There were occasions when underdogs stole the limelight after beating their powerful opponents. Recently, Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the most shocking results in the history of the World Cup, by upsetting Lionel Messi’s Argentina in their opening game in Qatar in 2022.

    It was not the first time the football world had witnessed this kind of upset in a World Cup. These small teams have pulled off these kinds of upsets time and again in World Cup history. In this article, we will explore the top 10 upsets that have happened so far in the FIFA World Cup.

    The biggest upset in World Cup history

    Argentina 0-1 Cameroon (1990)

    Who could have thought that Argentina would go down against Cameroon in their opening game of the 1990 World Cup? Diego Maradona and his side were the defending champions and started their campaign in a shocking manner when they were beaten by the Cameroonians, who were making their second appearance on the global stage. Francois Omam-Biyik scored the winner in that game and handed the Latin Americans their most shocking defeat in the World Cup.

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    Saudi Arabia 2-1 Argentina (2022)

    Argentina had to wait for 36 years to win the World Cup trophy until Lionel Messi and his team defeated France in the final on penalties at Qatar. However, the champions were stunned by Saudi Arabia in the first match. Defying expectations, the Asian side edged past Argentina in a thrilling 2-1 victory to deliver one of the top upsets in World Cup history. 

    France 0-1 Senegal (2002)

    In 1998, France reigned supreme in the FIFA World Cup at home. Four years later, they returned to defend their title, but faced an unprecedented result in their opening game of the campaign. The French contingent was too strong to be beaten at that time until fate turned against them. Senegal, in their first ever World Cup appearance, defeated the reigning World Cup and Euro champions. This is still regarded as one of the biggest upsets the world has ever seen. 

    England 0-1 USA (1950)

    One of the most reputed football playing nations at that time, England went down against the USA in the 1950 Brazil World Cup. The American team had no recognition to speak of, as they were only entering the arena of football then. However, a 1-0 victory against the Britishers was a landmark result for them. 

    Korea Republic 2-1 Italy (2002)

    The co-host of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Koreal Republic pulled off one of the top upsets in the competition’s history when they clinched a 2-1 victory over a star-studded Italian side in the quarter-finals. This shocking result knocked Italy, one of the favourites, out of the tournament while the winners of the game reached the semi-finals.

    Brazil 1-2 Norway (1998)

    The Scandinavians ran away with one of their biggest World Cup victories against Brazil in 1998 global competition in France. Norway pulled off a comeback 2-1 win against all odds against the high-flying Latin Americans in the last game of Group A. This result made it to the list of the top upsets in World Cup history.

    Spain 2-3 Nigeria (1998)

    The 1998 France World Cup has seen several upsets, with Spain’s defeat at the hands of Nigeria being one of them. The Spanish side with the players like Raul, Luis Enrique and Hierro was one of the strong contenders to win the tournament. But, they were knocked out by Nigeria in a 2-3 loss in the round of 16. Meanwhile, it was Nigeria’s second appearance in the FIFA World Cup.

    Germany 1-2 Japan (2022)

    This Japanese victory has been recorded as folklore in the history book of the FIFA World Cup. Before coming into this game, the Asian side had never beaten a nation that featured in a World Cup final. Against Germany, the champions of 2014, the Samurai Blue produced one of the greatest comebacks to record a 2-1 victory despite trailing most of the time in the game. The list of the biggest upsets in the FIFA World Cup is incomplete without this shocking result. 

    Italy 0-1 Korea DPR (1966)

    Football is a game of uncertainty. And this sentence was redefined by Korea DPR in the 1966 England World Cup. The newcomers in the tournament locked horns with the two-time World champions Italy in the final game of the group stage, with their hopes hanging in the balance. However, out of nowhere, they put up a brilliant performance in that game and kicked Italy out of the tournament with a 1-0 victory. This surprise victory was the biggest upset in that World Cup.

    Italy 0-1 Costa Rica (2014)

    In the Brazil World Cup, Costa Rica was pitted against the world champions like Uruguay and Italy in the same group. Everyone thought that the Costa Rican journey would be cut short by their opponents, but defying all odds, they began their campaign with a victory against Uruguay. In order to consolidate their firm stance, they went on to beat Italy 1-0 in their second game, delivering one of the top upsets in World Cup history.

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