The biggest upsets in World Cup history
Japan and Saudi Arabia stun former winners and potential champions in the 2022 World Cup, to add more upsets to the tournament’s history.
Few people would have had Saudi Arabia down to pull off the first giant-killing result of Qatar 2022. Not only were they up against one of favourites to win the tournament, until today they had never even won their opening game at any World Cup - this being their sixth appearance. Yet they pulled off one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history - Saudi Arabia, the rank outsiders whose odds to lift the trophy stood at +50000 before kick-off, delivered a sucker punch to Messi’s Argentina, ranked at +650.
A day later and the Japanese thought they’d have a taste of that beating-a-big-gun feeling, coming from behind to beat Germany 2-1. It really has been an unpredictable start to this latest edition of the World Cup.
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Messi and Argentina lose to Saudi Arabia
Hervé Renard’s men went in at half-time trailing 1-0 in Tuesday’s opening Group C match in Lusail - Messi’s ninth-minute penalty separating the two sides. Whatever Renard said in his pep talk, it seemed to do the trick - within seven minutes of the restart, Saleh Al Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari had put the Green Falcons into the lead. After that it was a case of clinging on for the remaining 38 minutes of regulation time plus an agonising four minutes of stoppage-time while fans in the stands looked on in a mixture of amazement, and trepidation.
But they did it, pulling off one of the greatest coups of World Cup history, matching those of North Korea, who beat the mighty Italy in 2002 and the USA’s 1-0 triumph over England with a team comprised of amateur players at Brazil 1950.
Saudi Arabia can proudly take their place among the teams who defied all the odds to pull off David vs Goliath wins at the World Cup. Here are some of the other more memorable shock World Cup wins.
Biggest upsets and shock results in World Cup history
Cuba 2-1 Romania (France 1938)
North Korea 1-0 Italy (England 1966)
East Germany 1-0 West Germany (West Germany 1974)
Algeria 2 - West Germany 1 (Spain 1982)
Northern Ireland 1-0 Spain (Spain 1982)
Argentina 0-1 Cameroon (Italy 1990)
Bulgaria 2-1 Germany (USA 1994)
Italy 0-1 Republic of Ireland (USA 1994)
Brazil 1-2 Norway (France 1998)
Senegal 1-0 France (Korea/Japan 2002)
Korea Republic 2-1 Italy (Korea/Japan 2002)
Switzerland 1-0 Spain (South Africa 2010)
Italy 0-1 Costa Rica (Brazil 2014)
Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia (Qatar 2022)
Germany 1-2 Japan (Qatar 2022)