World Cup's 10 biggest upsets
Following New Zealand’s stunning 1-1 draw with world champions Italy in their Group F match in Nelspruit on Sunday, here are Reuters’ Top 10 World Cup shocks (Sunday’s game is the only drawn match included in our list):
1. North Korea 1 Italy 0
Middlesbrough, England, July 19 1966
North Korea, playing in the World Cup for the first time, were given no hope of beating an Italian team containing greats such as Giacinto Facchetti, Sandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera.
But Pak Doo-ik consigned them to the greatest World Cup shock defeat of all time with a 42nd minute goal and Italy never recovered, were eliminated and pelted by rotten fruit when they arrived back home.
North Korea led Portugal 3-0 in the quarter-final before Eusebio put an end to their romantic tale, scoring four times in a 5-3 win.
— — —
2. United States 1 England 0
Belo Horizonte, Brazil, June 29 1950
England, who gave soccer to the world in the 19th century, did not take part in the World Cup until it was held for the fourth time in Brazil in 1950.
England had won their opening match against Chile and were expected to crush the United States and advance to the Final Pool. However, a team containing future World Cup-winning coach Alf Ramsey, Tom Finney and Stan Mortensen lost to a 38th minute goal from Haitian-born Joe Gaetjens.
England were then beaten by Spain in their next match and eliminated.
— — -
3. Cameroon 1 Argentina 0
Milan, Italy, June 8 1990
World champions Argentina began the defence of their crown with a truly shattering 1-0 defeat by Cameroon in the opening match of Italia ‘90, with Francois Omam Biyik heading the only goal after 67 minutes.
Diego Maradona, skipper of the side that won the title in 1986, could do nothing to stop the loss to the Africans who ended the match with only nine men after Francois’ brother Andre Kana Biyik and Benjamin Massing were sent off.
— — -
4. Senegal 1 France 0
Seoul, South Korea, May 31 2002
Twelve years after the world champions lost to an African side in the opening match in 1990, the same thing happened again when France, who were also European champions, lost to World Cup debutants Senegal.
Every Senegalese player was with a French League club, their manager Bruno Metsu was French and Papa Bouba Diop condemned France to defeat with a close-range goal after 30 minutes.
France went out in the group stage without scoring.
— — —
5. West Germany 3 Hungary 2
World Cup Final, Berne, Switzerland, July 4 1954
Hungary had not lost for four years, had beaten the Germans 8-3 in the group stages and were 2-0 up after only eight minutes in the final with goals from Ferenc Puskas and Zoltan Czibor.
But the Germans were level inside 19 minutes with goals from Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn and in the pouring rain Rahn scored the winner with five minutes to play.
Hungary were dubbed the “best team never to win the World Cup” while in Germany the match became known as “The Miracle of Berne”, with a film of the same name made later.
— — —
6. Uruguay 2 Brazil 1
World Cup Final, Rio de Janeiro, July 16 1950
Strictly speaking, this was not the final but it was the match that decided the winners of the Final Pool at the 1950 World Cup which Brazil fully expected to lift on home soil.
Brazil only had to draw to become world champions and were 11 minutes away from the title before calamity struck for them.
They took the lead through Friaca two minutes after halftime but goals from Juan Schiaffino and Alcide Ghiggia gave Uruguay a win that put Brazil in almost a week of national mourning.
— — —
7. Northern Ireland 1 Spain 0
Valencia, Spain, June 25 1982
Northern Ireland, in their first finals since 1958, stunned the hosts with a 1-0 win on a hot night in Valencia that sent a chill through Spain.
Gerry Armstrong is always reminded of his winner by the Northern Ireland fans and, although both teams qualified from the group, Spain never got over the defeat.
They were eliminated in the second round, winning only one of their five matches in their own tournament.
— — —
8. Algeria 2 West Germany 1
Gijon, Spain, June 16 1982
The first shock of the ‘82 World Cup came when Algeria beat European champions Germany on their debut at the finals.
Rabah Madjer, who scored for Porto with a backheel in the 1987 European Cup final against Bayern Munich, netted the opener and Lakhdar Belloumi the winner after Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had equalised for the Germans.
Algeria were eventually denied a place in the second round after the infamous game between West Germany and Austria when both teams appeared to stop trying after the Germans took an early lead. The 1-0 scoreline suited both teams. The Germans went on to lose the final to Italy.
— — —
9. New Zealand 1 Italy 1
Nelspruit, South Africa, June 20 2010
New Zealand, 1000-1 no-hopers to win the World Cup at the start of the tournament and ranked 78th in the world, held the world champions to a 1-1 draw with a battling performance after Shane Smeltz poked the ball home in the seventh minute.
Italy equalised in the 29th with a Vincenzo Iaquinta penalty after Daniele De Rossi’s shirt was tugged but despite pressing for most of the match they could not find a winner.
— — -
10. Ireland 1 Italy 0
East Rutherford, United States, June 18 1994
Ray Houghton’s high looping shot beat goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca after 12 minutes and Italy never recovered in the heat of New Jersey in the opening group match.
Ireland went out in the second round to Netherlands while Italy reached the final where they lost on penalties to Brazil.