FIFA World Cup features the best football playing nations in the world and most often the better sides come out as the winners. However, in the grandest stage of the world football, no side is negligible. History shows, the giants are not always guaranteed to secure a victory against the minnows. Sometimes the minnows prove themselves to heavy for the giants. In this content, we will highlight some of the biggest shocks in the FIFA World Cup history.
Biggest Upsets in the FIFA WC History
||Stage and Edition
|Uruguay 2 – 1 Brazil
||Final Round, 1950
|West Germany 3 – 2 Hungary
|South Korea 2 – 1 Italy
||Round of 16, 2002
|Bulgaria 2 – 1 Germany
|United States 1 – 0 England
||Group Stage, 1950
|Cameroon 1 – 0 Argentina
||Group Stage, 1990
|North Korea 1 – Italy 0
||Group Stage, 1966
|Algeria 2 – West Germany 1
||Group Stage, 1982
|East Germany 1 – 0 West Germany
||Group Stage, 1974
|Senegal 1 – 0 France
||Group Stage, 2002
|Northern Ireland 1 – 0 Spain
||Group Stage, 1982
|South Korea 2 – 0 Germany
||Group Stage, 2018
Uruguay Beats Brazil 2-1 (Final Round, 1950)
This game is considered as one of the biggest upsets in the FIFA WC history if not the biggest among all of those. In the tournament deciding final round fixture 2 South American football giants came face to face with each other. It was the very first opportunity for the Celecao to be crowned as the world champion while Uruguay had their 2nd chance within 20 years. Brazil was undoubtedly the favorites on pen and paper and even many of the people had already predicted an easy, massive Brazilian victory. People had no doubt about the outcome of the game. In fact, they were predicting what would be the number of goals scored by the hosts. Friaca’s 47th minute strike gave Brazil the lead as well and they were leading until the 65th minute. Then Uruguay scored 2 goals out of nowhere in 66th and 79th minute thanks to Juan Alberto Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia and bagged the title for the 2nd time in their history.
West Germany Beats Hungary 3-2 (Final, 1954)
It was no less than a fairytale from the thenceforth West Germans. The Hungarian side featured Ferenc Puskas, Nandor Hidegkuti, Sanor Koscis and scored as many as 25 goals in 4 matches before the final. They started the campaign with a mammoth 9 nil victory against Korea and then flooded the very same West Germany side with 8 goals. Then they grabbed back to back 4-2 victories against Brazil and Uruguay in quarterfinal and semifinal respectively. In the final, they once again got the West Germans to beat. Puskas and Czibor gave them an electrifying start and they went 2 nil up within 8th minutes. Spectators were expecting another goal flooding from them but the Germans made an astonishing comeback to level the game within the next 10 minutes! Then with just 6 minutes to play, H Rahn scored his 2nd goal of the day and turned the game on it’s head to hand his country their first ever world cup title.
South Korea Beats Italy 2-1 (Round of 16, 2002)
The 2002 edition was hosted by South Korea and japan and it was the very first time the WC was held in Asia. In RO16, co-host South Korea met European giants Italy. C Vieri put them in front on the 18th minute. Italy had their one foot in the quarterfinal and Seol Ki-Hyeon came with a 88th minute equalizer to keep the Koreans’ dream alive. The game headed to the extra time. The world cup featured Golden Goal in extra time and when the two sides were making themselves mentally ready for the shoot-out Ahn Jung-Hwan silenced the Azzurris with his 117th minute Golden Strike which knocked the Italians out of the tournament and confirmed a quarterfinal place for South Korea for the very first time.
Bulgaria Beats Germany 2-1 (Quarterfinals, 1994)
Defending champions Germany were looking for their 2nd consecutive and overall 4th world title. They ended the group stage as the group leaders with 7 points and defeated Belgium by 3-2 in the Round of 16. They were definitely much stronger side and a Lothar Matthaus strike from the spot put them in very comfortable position. They were just quarter of an hour away from the semifinal and just then the Bulgarians came up with the answer. Back to back strikes within 3 minutes from Stoichkov and Letchkov showed the Germans exit door which was really hard to believe.
United States Defeats England 1-0 (Group Stage, 1950)
The English men has defeated the Americans 10-1! Well, it would have been a much more believable outcome of the game rather than the original score line. It was truly hard to believe for the English media that the English side were really smacked by the minnow Americans. However, the English media had believed it or not J Gaetjens finishing was enough for the Americans to produce one of the biggest shocks in the world cup history.
Cameroon Defeats Argentina 1-0 (Group Stage, 1990)
1986 World Cup winner Argentina were to play the inaugural game of the 1990 edition as the defending champions. Diego Maradona, one of the biggest names in the FIFA World Cup history and his team mates were expected to make fun of Cameroon and starting their campaign comfortably. But the world was to witness something else. In the Stadio San Siro, more than 73 thousand spectators had to watch something which they might have never thought. Omam-Biyik’s 67th minute strike handed the African side lead and the trailing world champions couldn’t find any answer and had to leave the field with empty hands that day. However, later the Albicelestes made it to the final although they were beaten in the final by the Germans.
North Korea Defeats Italy 1-0 (Group Stage, 1966)
Gli Azzurris were one of the hot favorites in the 1966 campaign. They made a smooth start to the campaign as well by defeating Chile 2-0. However, in the 2nd match they had to taste a defeat against a strong Soviet Union side. But yet they were not ready to experience something that much bitter when they took on Asian side North Korea in their 3rd match of the group stage. At the Ayresome Park, the former home of Middlesbrough the thenceforth 2 times world champions were victim of an upset which saw them being kicked out of the competition. A 42nd minute Park Doo-ik strike produced one of the biggest upsets in the world cup history as the Italians got no answer for that strike that day and had to get back to their home with broken dreams.