The Greatest Upsets In FIFA World Cup History

Football is undoubtedly the most popular sport on the planet, correlating to the fact that the FIFA world cup is the biggest event.

The traditional four-year gap helps build incredible enthusiasm and excitement, as the greatest teams in the world get ready to compete for the ultimate prize.

While the competition still undoubtedly has teams that are more likely to win, anything is possible on the field. As the saying suggests, “the ball is round”, and the games listed below are proof of it. One thing for certain though, the results of these matches made tons of people lose money when indulging in sports betting online.

For this reason, it’s important to exercise caution and only bet the funds that you can afford to lose. Responsible gambling ensures that you enjoy getting into the sports betting action without risking your financial well-being – so, make sure to bet on football deliberately.

West Germany VS Algeria

Taking place in 1982, this match had a clear favorite. West Germany were the reigning European football champions, having players such as Paul Breighter, Lothar Matteus, and even multiple-time Ballon D’Or winner Karl-Heinz Rummenige.

Germans were quite confident in their victory, as during a press conference, their head coach was overheard saying that if they do not beat Algeria, they are taking the next train home. Obviously, they did not uphold this statement after their defeat.

On one hand, the confidence of the Germans was earned, since no African team up until that point had ever defeated a European team in a world cup matchup, but Algerian players Rabah Madjer, and Lakhdar Belloumi, who many consider the greatest player in the country’s history, would cut that streak short thanks to two goals.

Rummenige’s one goal for Germany was not enough to even the scales, resulting in a massive upset, and an extremely significant outcome for African sports history.

The aftermath of the match and the conclusion of the group section marks an arguably even bigger event for the sport of football as a whole. The progress of Algeria in the 1982 world cup was stopped by an infamous Austria V Germany match, which went down in the history books, as “The disgrace of Gijon”.

Due to the standings, both teams knew that in order to safely progress, they would need to end the match 1-0 in Germany’s favor.

On the 10-minute mark, Horst Hrubesch scored a goal that would absolutely thwart the pace of the match moving forward, resulting in both teams showing zero enthusiasm or effort to play further.

The match indeed ended 1-0 West Germany, resulting in rule changes that every final group game from that point forward, would be played at the same time, without players or coaches having information about what they need to do to progress. That way, all the teams involved will try their absolute hardest to win, to guarantee their chances.

North Korea VS Italy

It is a miracle that North Korea’s national team even qualified for the 1966 world cup, and that is the case not just for political reasons. The DPRK were by far the most freshly assembled team in the tournament, having played their first official match just two years prior to the World Cup, in 1964 where they drew 0-0 to Myanmar(Burma).

Italy was their third matchup and as the Koreans were coming off a draw with Chile, and a 3-0 loss to the USSR, it is easy to guess which team the clear favorite of the match was.

Despite the odds, DPRK shocked the world, as the goal from the forward Pak Seung-Jin, resulted in not only the match being lost for Italy but also their elimination from the world cup.

Despite the surprising upset, DRPK’s run would soon be cut short in the round of sixteen, due to the loss to Portugal (3-5). As for Italian players, upon their return to Rome, they were greeted by extremely disappointed fans, as well as, rotten tomatoes.

USA VS England

In the year 1950, the debut of the English national football team ended in an unbelievable group stage exit due to the defeat they suffered at the hands of the US football team.

This result was so surprising, that the news reporters were allegedly convinced that there had been some sort of a mistake with the information they were receiving and that the actual result of 1-0 US, was 10-0 in favor of England.

While the English team was undisputedly regarded as the best team in Europe, and a heavy favorite to win the world cup, the US were looked at as a bunch of amateurs. Not surprising, considering how they lost to the touring Manchester United team, shortly before the world cup.

It was unbelievable to watch just how many chances the Englishmen missed to put the USA away. Their offense was relentless, yet, lacked execution and finishing.

Ultimately, despite all odds, a goal from American forward Joe Gaetjens at the 37-minute mark earned them a victory over England. While the British continued their pressure and offense, US defenders showed great resilience, and ultimately, the match ended 1-0.


As incredible as football leagues such as La Liga, Bundesliga, and premier league are, nothing quite compares to the thrill of the world cup.

However, there is one aspect that is common in all football matches, and as this article has hopefully demonstrated, that aspect is unpredictability, a major part of a fan’s excitement and thrill.