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6 of the most shocking losses in World Cup history

Saudi celebration win over Germany
It is fair to say that all Arsenal fans will be enjoying the current football season. Mikel
Arteta’s side have been in fine form overall and this has left them sitting atop the Premier League table. The 2022/23 football season also has a World Cup to enjoy, and this is now in full swing over in Qatar.

Although it has meant an annoying break for the Gunners when they were doing so well, no one can deny how amazing it is to have World Cup games on to enjoy. This enables fans to not only follow Arsenal favourites, like Bukayo Saka for England and Gabriel Jesus for Brazil, but also giants of the game, such as Messi.

Shock losses already part of World Cup 2022

As in the Premier League, a large part of the World Cup’s charm is underdog victories. This has already happened in Qatar, with Japan pulling off an unlikely 21 comeback win over Germany and Saudi Arabia doing the same to Argentina.

Underdog wins are not just fun to watch in the World Cup either. If you like to bet on football at the top UK betting sites, picking out a team who is not fancied to win and seeing them pull it off is very exciting too. This is not just because of the long odds you would be paid out on for the victory,but also the validation of your hunch that the outsider could win.

While the above losses already show that World Cup 2022 will have its share of these results, there have also been some very famous shock losses in the competitions history. But which six do people still remember most?

Cameroon 1 – Argentina 0

Cameroon’s underdog win against Argentina in the Italia 1990 World Cup is probably still one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.

Argentina did not play well on the night and looked lacking in any kind of intensity. Cameroon, on the other hand, did step up to the plate and won thanks to a strong Omam-Biyik header. This was despite having two men sent off in the match!

This was a great win when you think that Argentina came into this game as reigning World Cup champions and had the iconic Diego Maradona in their team.

Senegal 1 – France 0

In the same way as Arsenal’s recent League Cup exit to Brighton was a shock for many, this result was one that most did not see coming.

The 2002 World Cup was held in Japan and Korea and was one of the best editions of the competition in recent memory. In many ways this shock result mirrored the opening day loss that Argentina suffered in 1990.

As with Argentina, France were coming into this match as reigning champions and had a side packed full of star names. Although they were missing the talismanic Zidane for this specific game, people like Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera should still have taken the French to a fairly easy win.

The Senegal team had other ideas though and showed more desire than the French to come out on top. A breakaway goal saw Papa Bouba Diop find the net and send the stadium into raptures. As the match summary shows, this was a really greatwin for a Senegalese team who really lit up the whole tournament.

South Korea 2 – Italy 1

This is another game from the 2002 World Cup and shows what a fabulous tournament it was for producing shock results.

When South Korea were set to face European giants Italy, no one really gave them much of a chance. Italy, after all, were multiple winners of the tournament and had some superb players, like Totti, in their squad.

A Vieri goal after only 18 minutes seemed to suggest that the Italians would be fine and on course for an easy win. They couldn’t build on it though and a last-gasp 88thminute equalizer from Seoul Ki-hyeon seemed to revitalise South Korea. This saw them go on to grab an unexpected victory with an extratime golden goal from AhnJun-hwan.

Algeria 2 West Germany 1

Heading all the way back to the 1982 World Cup in Spain, we find another result which has gone down in the annals of World Cup history. As with the modern German side, West Germany were a real force on the global football stage and were heavily fancied to beat Algeria in this game from Group 2.

However, Algeria lived up to their nickname of the ‘Desert Foxes’ and showed plenty of guile, cunning and determination to upset the odds. This result is even more amazing when you think that this was Algeria’s firstever World Cup and that West Germany were coming into the competition as the champions of Europe.

Algeria were a very good team at the time and more than matched the Germans for skill. They went 10 up at 54 minutes when Porto’s Rabah Madjer found the net. Although the Germans equalised through Rummenigge, Algeria hit straight back and Belloumi scored to complete a fantastic 10pass move.  

Scotland 3 – Netherlands 2

This loss came from the 1978 World Cup in Argentina and is still remembered in football as a major upset. At the time, the Dutch team were at their peak and in the middle of the ‘Total Football’ era. This meant they had players like Cruyff, Neeskens and Rep to ease past the Scottish side with in their final group game.

Although pretty much everyone expected a thrashing for the Scots, no one told them! A Rob Rensenbrink goal seemed to set the Dutch up perfectly after 35 minutes but this only seemed to spark Scotland to life. It saw them hit back with 3 unanswered goals of their own, with the 2 that Archie Gemmill scored making him a national hero. Although the Dutch scored again, the Scots held on for a famous victory.

USA 1 – England 0

Although the modern-day USA football team play at a high level, they were not always held in such regard across world football. This was certainly true for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil and many people could only see England emerging triumphant in this Group 2 game.

This was even more true when you think the USA at the time were made up of mostly part-time players and England came into the match in fine form. However, Joe Gaetjens scored for the US in the 38th minute and his team held on for a truly shocking win.

World Cup upsets all part of the competition

As the above shows, the upsets we have already seen in World Cup 2022 in Qatar are nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, the games we have listed above show that this tournament has a history of delivering results that can shock fans and make heroes out of the most unlikely people.

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