Top 10 Shocks - Part 2

Top 10 Shocks - Part 2

5. North Korea 1-0 Italy, 1966 – In the conclusive game of the group phase, the Azzurri were sent packing by a mobile and energetic Korean outfit who before the tournament were favourites to go home pointless. Pak Doo Ik’s solitary goal was enough to convince the Ayresome Park crowd, and the world, to take notice as North Korea reached the last 8. Only a one man magic show from Eusebio could inspire Portugal to knock them out, after the Koreans had sprinted to a 3-0 lead within the first half hour.

4. Northern Ireland 1-0 Spain, 1982 – Group favourites and hosts Spain were taught a lesson in complacency when Northern Ireland, complete with the youngest player to ever play in the World Cup (Norman Whiteside), beat them courtesy of a 47th minute Gerry Armstrong goal. The 45,000+ partisan crowd in Valencia were left scratching their heads and Spain finished the group in 2nd place, behind the Irish. Both subsequently finished bottom of their second phase groups, which marked the end of their World Cup 1982 dreams.

3. Uruguay 2-1 Brazil, 1950 – A Maracana crowd no smaller than 170,000 was left bewildered as outright favourites Brazil tasted defeat at the hands of Uruguay. After so much hype from the media, a proclamation from Rio’s Mayor that Brazil would emerge victorious, and the fact that prior to the match Brazil had scored 13 and conceded just 2 (in 2 final round matches), the Celeste did the unexpected and overturned an early deficit to win their second and last World Cup to date.

2. West Germany 3-2 Hungary, 1954 – The fact that this match has been nicknamed the “Miracle of Bern” pretty much says it all. West Germany, with their amateur players, were hammered 8-3 in an earlier round by the “Golden Team.” This was by no means an embarrassment as the Hungarians were unbeaten in 32 matches ahead of the final and, even with only a half-fit Ferenc Puskas, were expected to win the Jules Rimet trophy without much of a challenge.

1. USA 1-0 England, 1950 – It seems that the English have been experts at making excuses for longer than first thought. Haitian-born Joe Gaetjens' first-half goal was enough to dash English hopes, which before the tournament were sky-high due to their impressive post-war record (23 wins, 3 draws, 4 losses). English newspapers presumed the 1-0 scoreline to be a misprint, and even though 8 of the American starting XI were born on American soil, so strong was the outcry from England that the US team was made up of non-American ‘imports’ that a FIFA hearing (in which the USA were cleared of any wrongdoing) was initiated. What makes this even more amazing is that the US team consisted of part time footballers, who spent the majority of their lives as school teachers, dishwashers and the like. Hugely shocking and hugely embarrassing for His Majesty’s men.

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