The 5 Biggest World Cup Shocks

The 5 biggest World Cup shocks of the last 20 years that we will never forget


The World Cup has produced some of the biggest moments in the history of the beautiful game, but what have been the biggest shocks of the last 20 years? Football fans gather every four years hoping to see some of the greatest players of all time, with Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo wowing audiences around the world in the 21st century.

Sometimes it’s not these big players who have the biggest impact on the game, because there’s always an opportunity for some underdogs to assert their authority at the biggest tournament in world football!

Here are our picks for the 5 biggest World Cup shocks of the last 20 years, looking at tournaments from Brazil, Japan, and more.

5-Germany beat Brazil 7-1 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup produced plenty of shock moments, with England being knocked out of the group stage for the first time since 1958.

When Germany and Brazil met in the semi-finals, bookmakers and fans expected Brazil to win thanks to the competition on home soil. That proved not to be the case as Brazil would be decimated 7-1 by Germany.

Germany would lead 5-0 after just 29 minutes thanks to goals from Toni Kroos, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller, and Sami Khedira. The game was locked up before half-time and it got worse in the second half after a double from Andre Schurrle saw the Germans extend their lead to seven before Oscar scored a consolation in the last minute of the game.

Germany would go on to win their first World Cup in 24 years after Mario Gotze’s late extra-time goal against Argentina clinched the trophy.

4-Switzerland beat Spain 1-0 at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Between 2008 and 2012, Spain had memorable international campaigns after winning back-to-back tournaments with two wins at the Euros and one at the World Cup.

However, they received a shock to the system from Switzerland during their historic 2010 World Cup campaign. Switzerland would hand the European champions their first defeat in nearly four years thanks to a goal from Gelson Fernandes that saw underdogs Switzerland take out the Champions League 1-0.Spain would bounce back from that to advance to the final where they would beat the Netherlands 1-0 thanks to a superb finish from Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta that saw them make history and win their first-ever World Cup.

3-South Korea beat Italy 2-1 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup

The 2002 FIFA World Cup saw one of the greatest yet most controversial World Cup runs by an unknown South Korean team led by Guus Hiddink. After topping their group against Portugal, USA, and Poland, World Cup co-hosts South Korea were drawn to face Italy in the round of 16.Italy was one of the favourites for the tournament thanks to their star-studded squad that featured the likes of Daniele Maldini, Alessandro Del Piero, Francesco Totti, and Fabio Cannavaro to name a few.The match was officiated by Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno and throughout the match, the officiating seemed incredibly biassed in favour of the South Koreans.

Frustration was mounting for the Italians as the South Koreans’ aggressive hard-driving was not penalised once, despite Zambrotta being hit by a two-way challenge, Del Piero being elbowed in the face and Francesco Totti being fouled in the box, leading to him arguing and being sent off for simulation.

However, the scoreline speaks for itself and sent shockwaves through the tournament after Ahn Jung-Hwan’s goal saw The Azzurri crash out of the World Cup.

South Korea will continue to shock and reach the semi-finals after beating Spain on penalties. However, the fairytale ending for South Korea was Michael Ballack’s goal in the semi-final for Germany.

2-The Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Back to 2014! The opening Group B match of the 2014 World Cup saw a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands.

Spain would emerge victorious in their last meeting thanks to Andres Iniesta’s goal to lift their first-ever World Cup trophy.

Spain would take the lead in the first half after Xabi Alonso converted a penalty. However, the Netherlands would equalise just before half-time thanks to a spectacular header from Robin Van Persie.

That goal would light a fire in this ruthless Dutch side as they would give the Spaniards four more goals in the second half, with Van Persie grabbing the second and Arjen Robben scoring twice. It would end up being the first time Spain had conceded more than two goals in more than one game since the 1994 World Cup in the USA.

Defeat would affect the reigning European and world champions as they would be knocked out of the group stage after missing out on Chile, who would have finished second behind the Netherlands.

1-Senegal beat France 1-0 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup

Going into the 2002 World Cup, France was on paper on course for a tournament to remember, largely due to the group they were drawn in and the calibre of players they had in their arsenal. With the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, and more, the French team seemed destined for World Cup success.

France faced Senegal in the opening match but the 1998 winners were dealt a huge blow after Zidane was ruled out through injury.The game was dominated by Senegalese forward El Hadji Diouf, who managed a torn French defence.Senegal would shock the world in the 30th minute when Pape Bouba Diop scored the decisive goal to hand France their first defeat of the tournament.

Senegal would advance to the quarter-finals, where they would fall short of Turkey, thanks to a golden goal from Ilhan Mansiz.

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