In the lead up to the World Cup, we look at the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.
SENEGAL 1-0 FRANCE (JAPAN/KOREA 2002)
The Senagalese – coached by Frenchmen Bruno Metsu – went on the attack in the opening game of the tournament from the outset against the reigning world champions and when Pape Bouba Diop scored in the 30th minute, the Zinedine Zidane-led French side crumbled. France became the first defending champions to exit in the group stage, whilst Senegal went on the reach the Quarter-Finals.
NORTH KOREA 1-0 ITALY (ENGLAND 1966)
Pak Do-Ik became a hero in the communist state after scoring the only goal in a remarkable win over Italy in Middlesbrough. It was a disaster for the Italians and shocked the whole world, considering the highly unfancied North Koreans were not even expected to qualify for the tournament. They went on to lose 5-3 to Portugal in the quarter-finals in Liverpool, but to even win a World Cup match was a huge achievement.
USA 1 – ENGLAND 0 (BRAZIL 1950)
England went into their first World Cup signalled as potential winners after losing only four of its past 30 games. Perhaps cockily, England rested star player Stanley Matthews against a bunch of part-timers and it proved to be a massive error of judgement as Haiti-born Joe Gaetjens scored the only goal of the game. The USA may have gone on to be knocked out in the group stage on goal difference to the English, but it’s a game that will go down as one of the biggest upsets in sporting history.
URUGUAY 2-1 BRAZIL (BRAZIL 1950)
With the 1950 World Cup winner decided in a group stage format, Brazil went into its final game against Uruguay a point ahead and only needed a draw to the claim a home World Cup triumph. In front of an incredible 173,850 at the Maracana the scores were locked at 1-1 with ten minutes to go, before Alcides Ghiggia put the Uruguayans ahead and the Maracana became a scene of complete silence.
SOUTH KOREA 0-0 SPAIN, SOUTH KOREA WIN 5-3 ON PENALTIES (JAPAN/KOREA 2002)
South Korea entered the quarter-finals of its home tournament by controversially beating Italy in the Round of 16. It was yet another controversial win for the South Koreans as Spain were disallowed two perfectly legitimate goals. With the Spanish players losing their temper, the home side held their nerve to win in a penalty shootout and reach the semi’s. South Korea went on the lose to Germany in the final four, but it didn’t stop many in the football world -particularly the Italians and Spaniards – thinking the dodgy refereeing was part of a FIFA conspiracy.