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Top Five Biggest Upset in World Cup History

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World Cup is the ultimate competition for football teams. The teams are spread across five continents. The continent of Europe and South America have the best teams for the game. Usually, when the other continents play those two, they end up losing or at most can draw the game. Since Football is unpredictable, sometimes the big teams end up losing to the minnows. These types of games are known as ‘Upsets’ in the football world.

In the various editions of the world cup, many upsets have happened. The type of Upset that has a huge impact on the world cup’s result. Let’s Look at some of the greatest ‘Upsets’ in the world cup.

5) Argentina vs Cameroon(1990 Italy) 

Leading up to the world cup, Argentina was the defending champions. As always they were the favorites this time as well. The presence of Diego Maradona was itself a big plus for the Argentine team. Participating for only the second time in history Cameroon defeated Argentina by a single goal scored by Francois Omam Biyik in the sixty-first minute. Cameroon went on to concede two red cards are were reduced to nine men yet they didn’t concede against Diego Maradona-led Argentina. Cameroon also went on to qualify as the group winners for the knockouts. Although they lost this game, Argentina went on to the final of the tournament.

Argentina vs Cameroon 1990
Argentina lost to Cameroon.

Final Scoreline: Cameroon 1 – 0 Argentina

4) Argentina Vs Saudi Arabia(2022 Qatar)

The most recent one on the list, Another Argentinian defeat. This time from the hands of an Asian team. Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina with a second-half comeback. Although Argentina managed to nick a goal in the first ten minutes, Argentina lost its way in the second half as they went on to concede two goals in the second half.

The goals scored by Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari in the 48th and 53rd minutes gave Saudi Arabia the win. Argentina scored three illegal goals in the first half but they all were ruled out for offsides by VAR. Argentina’s efforts for scoring goals were not rewarded as Saudi Goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais stood like a wall in between the nets. He later went on to win the man of the match as well.

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia lost (1)
Saudi won the game 2-1.

Final Scoreline Argentina 1 – 2 Saudi Arabia

3) Senegal Vs France (2002 Japan / South Korea)

The 21st century and Its world cup curse for defending champions began from this match. Although a good team and pretty much a favorite after Brazil after the world cup, Frace lost their best player Zinedine Zidane for the first two matches at the world cup which meant he was not present in the game against Senegal. Zidane’s Injury meant France got unbalanced. They unbalanced so much that they lost to Senegal who was playing their first world cup. They have not participated in this tournament before.

Senegal vs France World Cup 2022
Senegal pulled the upset of the decade.

As it transpired, Papa Bouba Diop, who himself passed away in 2020, slid in to score the only goal of the game for the Lions of Teranga in the 30th minute, after El-Hadji Diouf had burst away down the left flank and sent in a perfect low cross. El-Hadji Diouf is mostly regarded as the architect of this win as he was the one who ran down France’s defense to send a perfect cross for Papa Bouba Diop to score.

Final Scoreline: Senegal 1 – 0  France

2) Brazil Vs Uruguay (1950 Brazil)

This game is often referred to as the biggest upset in football world cup history. The host Brazil was in top form. Everybody predicted Brazil to win. The specialized press and the general public were so confident of victory, based on Brazil’s almost indomitable form, that they had already started declaring Brazil the new world champions for days before the match. Newspapers such as the Gazeta Esportiva in Sao Paulo and O Mundo in Rio de Janeiro proclaimed victory the day before the game.

Brazil vs Uruguay 1950 World Cup
Uruguay defeated Brazil in the 1950 World Cup Final.

 A draw would have secured the Brazilian victory. Brazil was on top in the first half but was unable to lead the game but in the early second half Brazilian man, Albino Friaça Cardoso managed to score. This meant Uruguay needed at least two goals to win the tournament and that was what Uruguay did. Uruguayan Juan Alberto Schiaffino equalized for Uruguay in the mid-second half. With Eleven minutes remaining for the full-time Alcides Ghiggia managed to break the whole of Brazil’s heart. 

Did You Know: Young Pele dreamed of winning the Worldcup after this match. Pele saw his dad crying after Brazil’s loss and promised him he will bring the world cup home.

1) USA vs England (1950 Brazil)

So it was called soccer in 1950, isn’t it?

In another 1950 Upset, England was defeated by a very very big underdog side of the USA. Eventually dubbed the ‘Miracle on Grass,’ America’s 1-0 upset over 70-1 favorites, England, at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil remains one of the greatest shocks in World Cup history – even if its impact was felt more on one side of the Atlantic than the other. Before the game, England was heavy favorites against a hastily assembled U.S. team, which was composed of part-time players.

USA vs England 1950 World Cup
The USA won the match 1-0.

The game’s only goal was scored by Haitian-born U.S. center forward Joe Gaetjens in the 39th minute of the game. After that goal, England was unable to equalize and lost the game. Even though the USA won this game, they lost their next game to chile 5-2 and didn’t even qualify for the next World Cup. It took them 40 years to qualify for their next one as they qualified for the 1990 world cup.

Final Scoreline: USA 1 – 0 England

These are some of the big Upsets that have happened in the world cup. Not only these but some other upsets have happened as well. Brazil’s disastrous loss of 7-1 to Germany can be considered the greatest if not one of the greatest shocks in football history. Italy’s loss to North Korea in 1966 can’t be ignored either.

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