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The greatest FIFA World Cup upsets Part 1

Chuck Blake

Updated: Nov 14, 2022 02:08

The greatest FIFA World Cup upsets Part 1

argentina-0-1-cameroon

The FIFA World Cup has produced some major shock results over the years

Argentina and France have both lost opening matches as reigning champions

Cameroon, Senegal, USA, Norway and Costa Rica among the tournament’s most famous giant killers

The FIFA World Cup, which was first played almost a century ago, has gained popularity among football fans in part because it frequently produces unexpected outcomes. A few of these surprises have now become part of football mythology.

The most well-known upsets from the competition are examined by FIFA+, including a handful of defending champions' stumbling starts.

Clevpicks.com will introduce you The greatest FIFA World Cup upsets...

France 0-1 Senegal, Korea / Japan 2002

france-0-1-senegal

How big a shock was it?

This surprise occurred in the tournament's first game. The defending world champions France appeared to have an even stronger team than the one that won the championship on home soil four years prior, despite being without the services of injured Zinedine Zidane. In addition, Les Bleus held the title of defending European champions after taking the crown in 2000. Senegal's match in the World Cup finals was their first ever.

What happened next?

The French were under pressure after the loss and, following a draw with Uruguay, they hurried a clearly injured Zidane back into the lineup for the decisive group encounter against Denmark. France was suddenly eliminated from the tournament since the gamble did not turn out well. Senegal, meanwhile, created history by reaching the Round of 16 and defeating Sweden before losing to Turkey in the quarterfinal.

One-hit wonders?

The Senegalese have only participated in the World Cup once since 2002, at Russia 2018, where despite earning four points, they were eliminated in the group stage.

What became of the heroes?

By scoring the game's lone goal against France, Papa Bouba Diop established himself as a national hero. The former midfielder sadly passed away in 2020 after a protracted illness. Aliou Cisse, who participated in the famous French defeat, is now in charge of leading Senegal.

Germany play a final warm-up game against Oman on 16 November. Their first group-stage game in the World Cup is against Japan (23 November), before they take on Spain (27 November) and Costa Rica (1 December).

Argentina 0-1 Cameroon, Italy 1990

argentina-0-1-cameroon

How big a shock was it?

In the opening game in Milan, when Diego Maradona and his teammates were supposed to put on a show, the defending champions failed to get going and lost to a team playing in just their second World Cup.

What happened next?

The Indomitable Lions eventually won the group, advanced to the quarterfinals, and fell to England in a nail-biting match. Argentina bounced back from the setback to finish third in the group and advance to the Final, where they were defeated by West Germany. En route there, they defeated Brazil and Italy.

One-hit wonders?

Since 1990, Cameroon has competed in five World Cups, however they have never advanced past the group stage.

What became of the heroes?

Francois Omam-Biyik, who scored the game-winning goal for Cameroon versus Argentina, had a successful career and played in France and Italy. The team's most prominent player was the veteran Roger Milla, who was still wearing the Cameroon jersey in USA 1994, where he set a World Cup record by scoring the oldest goal at the age of 42.

Italy 0-1 Costa Rica, Brazil 2014

italy-0-1-costa-rica

How big a shock was it?

In a group with three former world champions, Costa Rica was considered to be a complete outsider. Contrary to predictions, Costa Rica began their tournament with a victory over Uruguay in their first game and then proved it wasn't a fluke by defeating Italy in their second game.

What happened next?

Italy was eliminated in the group stage as expected, while Costa Rica won the group and went on to have their finest World Cup history, surpassing their run to the Round of 16 in Italy 1990 by making it all the way to the quarterfinal. With a victory in the penalty shootout, the Netherlands put a stop to their heroics..

One-hit wonders?

Costa Rica participated in the 2018 World Cup in Russia again but was eliminated in the opening round.

What became of the heroes?

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who went on to play for Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain and win a number of trophies, was the star of the Los Ticos' campaign in Brazil.

England 0-1 USA, Brazil 1950

england-0-1-usa

How big a shock was it?

Despite finishing third at the first World Cup in 1930, the USA had little to no footballing tradition to speak of at the time, while England had a strong reputation as the game's creators.

What happened next?

Spain won the section to move on to the final four-team round while neither team advanced.

One-hit wonders?

The United States has made it to the knockout round four times since their historic victory in Belo Horizonte in 1950. When they defeated a highly regarded Colombian team in the Group Stage on home soil in 1994, they claimed their biggest victory since England.

What became of the heroes?

Forward Joe Gaetjens, who scored the game-winning goal for the USA versus England, had a tragic fate; he passed away under strange circumstances in his native Haiti in 1964.

Italy 0-1 Korea DPR, England 1966

italy-0-1-korea-dpr

How big a shock was it?

Italy won the tournament twice, while Korea DPR was a first-time participant. The Italians were eliminated from the competition by this unexpected victory, which occurred in the last round of group games.

What happened next?

In the quarterfinal, Korea DPR nearly pulled off another shock when they quickly took a 3-0 lead over Portugal, but Portugal came back to win 5-3.

One-hit wonders?

Since England 1966, Korea DPR has only competed in one World Cup, in South Africa 2010, where they lost all three of their group games.

What became of the heroes?

The game's lone goal was scored by Pak Doo-Ik against the Italians. He was a corporal in the army at the time and eventually turned into a youth coach.

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