West Germany's win over Hungary in 1954 is usually considered the greatest shock in a Final. Despite losing 8-3 to Hungary with a weakened team earlier in the competition, the Germans triumphed 3-2 against the much-loved Magic Magyars in the finale. Football Italia looks back at some of the competition's craziest results...
Defeat by the United States in Belo Horizonte is the bleakest day in England's World Cup history. A team rich in talent – including future national boss Alf Ramsey, Billy Wright, Stan Mortensen and Tom Finney – failed to get the better of the part-timers after hitting the woodwork four times. The 1-0 loss effectively knocked England out while the USA celebrated their greatest tournament success. Back in England most people believed the result to be a misprint. Forty-three years later England lost to the States again – 2-0 in a friendly at Foxboro – to return to the headline: 'Yanks 2 Planks 0'.
Italy were sent tumbling out of the 1966 World Cup by North Korea with the players returning home to a hail of rotten fruit. Edmondo Fabbri's Azzurri needed just a point to be sure of qualification. Against all expectations, a goal from Pak Doo Ik at Middlesbrough's Ayresome Park gave North Korea their first and only win in the tournament. The Koreans would go on to lead Portugal 3-0 in the quarter-finals before the magical Eusebio helped his side to a 5-3 victory.
Scotland left Argentina 1978 at the first hurdle, but only after a sensational 3-2 win over eventual runners-up Holland. Archie Gemmill netted that legendary goal which has gone down in World Cup history, but a loss to Peru and a draw with Iran made a mockery of boss Ally MacLeod’s pre-tournament claim that Scotland would return home with a podium finish.
Group Two of Spain ’82 was hit by scandal. Algeria made a storming World Cup debut beating tournament favourites West Germany 2-1 thanks to goals from Rabah Madjer and Lakhade Belloumi. The North Africans went on to defeat Chile 3-2 before being cheated out of a second round place. Austria and West Germany contrived a 1-1 draw in their final game, which was enough for the two European countries to qualify.
The hosts were humbled despite Northern Ireland playing with 10 men for the final 30 minutes after Mal Donaghy was dismissed. Gerry Armstrong struck just before the break at Valencia's Casanova Stadium to send the Irish through to the second stage.
Cameroon had already made an impression on the World Cup, emerging unbeaten during the 1982 tournament. They perhaps pulled off the greatest shock of all-time by defeating Diego Maradona and the reigning champions in the opening game of Italia '90. Milan's San Siro crowd witnessed Francois Oman Biyik's header which trickled past Nery Pumpido. The Africans finished with nine men and Pumpido played no further part in the tournament in which Argentina were runners-up to Germany.
This was something of a derby with Eire and Italy clashing at New York's Giants Stadium. Italy Coach Arrigo Sacchi got his tactics horribly wrong, while Jack Charlton's were spot on. Ray Houghton's early lob was no more than the Republic deserved although both countries progressed to the next stage – with Italy eventually ending the competition as runners-up.
The second surprise of USA '94 saw an ageing German side outclassed by the revelations of the tournament. Bulgaria had not won a Finals match until beating Greece during the first round at their eighteenth attempt. Goals from Hristo Stoichkov and a diving header from Iordan Lechkov turned the game around after an early second half penalty from Lothar Matthaus.
The script was written for a shock. Most of Senegal’s best players plied their trade in Ligue 1, it was their World Cup debut and they were pitted against holders France – who once ruled the African nation. Papa Bouba Diop netted the only goal of the game as Les Bleus were eliminated from the competition in the first round without scoring a single goal.
Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno is still seen as responsible for this defeat in Italy. Giovanni Trapattoni’s side had a good goal ruled out, saw Francesco Totti dubiously dismissed, as well as having a soft penalty given against them. Perugia’s Ahn Jung-Hwan netted the extra time Golden Goal which sent the Azzurri packing, while the co-hosts progressed to the semis after also benefitting from decisions in the last eight tie against Spain.
Having lost just one game in four years, Spain’s 2010 World Cup debut ended in surprise defeat to a defensively stubborn Switzerland side. A Gelson Fernandes strike proved to be the difference between the two outfits as Spain were paid to pay for a number of missed opportunities. It ultimately mattered not as La Furia Roja went on to win the trophy for the first time.