From: Lleo
Subject: World Cup upsets
Date: 28/12/2001

Four of the biggest World Cup upsets I am aware of. Feel free to add to this

a. USA 1-0 England, 1950

Who would have expected that? The USA'an team, composed mostly of immigrants
and amateurs, football being a borderline unknown sport in the US, beating
the mighty English. The creators of the game who, in an act of yet unknown
generosity, were gracing the Brasilian World Cup with their presence...

There are those stories of how shocking the result was, such that the
English newspapers actually thought it was 10-1 instead of 0-1. Such was the
impact of Larry Gaetjens (an Haitian immigrant, dishwasher in the US) goal,
which also demolished the English arrogance and added little IndependÍncia
stadium, Belo Horizonte, to the World Cup history.

b. North Korea 1-0 Italy, 1966

Maybe Italy was not at its best moment in the 60s. Like the other WC'70
finalist, their 1966 was to be forgotten. But no one would expect newcomer
North Korea to be in such a roll, to beat Italy and qualify for the next
round, being the first Asian team to make it.

c. Algeria 2-1 West Germany, 1982

This is where the African teams were starting to show something, after
decades of Tunisias and Zaires and non-participation. Of course, no one
would expect Germany, of all teams (it feels like they never lose to
minnows - hey at least in 1982 it was justified...), to lose to a World Cup
newbie like Algeria. Big upset, and it took a suspect 1-0 win over Austria
to prevent them from making the second round.

d.  Argentina 0-1 Cameroon, 1990

The World Champions, with Maradona and all. At the other side, Cameroon, who
probably was not more regarded before WC'90 than, say, Senegal is being for
2002. Cameroon would go on to prove that their win over Argentina was not a
fluke, but all in all, their whole campaign was surprising.



From: Petrovich
Subject: Re: WC upsets
Date: 28/12/2001

Apart from those you mentioned, from those I was too young to see:

e. Brazil 1 - 2 Uruguay, 1950

(Sorry, Lleo.) Brazil needing only a draw, in a match played in a packed
Maracan„. After a debut hickup against Switzerland, Brazil had simply
demolished everyone that came across. Uruguay suffered tremendous pressure,
went 1-0 down, but recovered s. I've seen footage of the match and it gives
tears in your eyes to look at the dejection in the face of the huge
brazilian crowd.

f. Hungary 2-3 West Germany, 1954

Somebody has already explained why in a thread above. 1950's Hungary widely
held in sports literature as the best team ever not to win a World Cup.

From those I was lucky enough to watch

g. Algeria 2 - 1 West Germany, 1982

Also explained above

h. Italy 1 - 1 Cameroon

Italy would went to win the tournament in style but were nearly thrown out
of it by the (then) unknown minnows of Cameroon. Gregoire M'Bida equalised
just a minute after Graziani had given Italy the lead. Italy eventually
edged out the Africans only in 'more goals scored' criteria, but this scare
did much in the way of waking them up.

i. Belgium 4-3 USSR after extra time, 1986.

Belanov's hat-trick (including two awesome goals) not enough against a
Belgium side that twice came from behind  to suddenly erupted into the

j. Spain 5 - 1 Denmark, 1986

Denmark were starting to be tipped for glory after trouncing Uruguay 6-0 and
easing past West Germany and Scotland. Taking the lead to a Jesper Olsen
penalty seemed only another step but it proved to be the final one. Awful
mistakes at the danish back and a perfect tactical match from the Spaniards
ensured the latter a deserved quarter-final

k. Argentina 1 - 3 Romania, 1994

Despite the loss of Maradona, Argentina were hot favourites to this one but
bumped into Hagi's genius coupled with Dumitrescu and Raducioiu making the
games of their lives. A pulsating match and a classic in counter attacking
terms finishing with an upsetting but nevertheless deserved win for the

l. Germany 1-2 Bulgaria

Germans seemed in perfect control of this one, specially after a Matthaus
penalty had put them in front but a final sprint by surprise package
Bulgaria earned them  something no other team had done since 1962 -
eliminating before the semis. First a perfectly curled free-kick by
Stoichkov and then a fulminating header by Lechkov and suddenly Germany were
stranded and unable to recover.



From: Riffster
Subject: Italy - North Korea - the ultimate upset
Date: 29/12/2001

The recent thread about World Cup upsets mentioned
the shocking 1-0 defeat of Italy by an underdog North
Korean side. It got me thinking about that game that
still is remembered with vividness by many Italians.

The loss to North Korea was a huge failure for Italian
football - coming at a time when Inter and Milan were
fairly dominant in club play on the continent and world.
The Azzurri were then, as now, considered in the elite
of World football. North Korea was barely on the map
of the world, much less that of football.

Bulgarelli's injury that forced him to leave the game in
the first half at a time when there were no substitutions
was undeniably a factor. But likely influences were the
Italians smug assuredness as they approached the game,
resting several high profile players with an eye on the
latter rounds (despite having lost to the Soviets in the
game prior to North Korea.)

The incredible Pak Doo Ik goal (a name still known
in Italy after all these years) near the end of the half
sent shock waves throughout the world. Despite frenzies
efforts throughout the second half, the Italians (thanks
in part to some atrocious finishing by Perani) could not
score on their opponents. The Azzurri then returned in
disgrace to Italy, and despite efforts to make the arrival
secret and secure, were greeted with a hail of rotten
tomatoes and fruit at the airport.

But the story of that North Korean team is even more
fascinating - here is a link to a great story on that team -
the team that ran like no other of its' time - that ran like
a "winged horse"

- Riff "Hungry like a horse" Ster


From: Gaborzinho
Subject: Re: World Cup upsets
Date: 01/01/2002

In article , (thomas) wrote:

> In article <>, (Paul C) wrote:
>>On Mon, 31 Dec 2001 21:54:19 +0100, anders thelemyr
>> wrote:
> On a related note, part of the "magic" of the Magyars was beating England 
> at Wembley.  Not to take anything away from them (they were obviously a great 
> team), but I wonder how magical they would be considered if that match never 
> took place.
Well, we will never know the answer. But the magic had been established earlier, 
that is why Sir Stanley Rous invited Hungary to play at Wembley against England. 
Remember, it was held a week after England played against an All-Europe team for 
which no less than 7 Hungarian players were selected. So at first Hungary turned 
the match down. Only after much discussion at the highest level did they agree to 
play the match and forgo the gala match. The English press made it into much more 
than what Hungary thought of this matchup, all that "Match of the Century" 
business was their invention. IMHO they tried to recapture their lost image prior 
to next year's WC in light of the 1-0 loss to the US. Many in England thought 
they will have no problem beating Hungary, a sentiment shared by most of the 
players. (Who is that chubby little chap? We will murder that bunch!) During 
the match they didn't know what hit them. But still they blamed the loss on 
one key strategical element, namely that Hidegkuti, the center-forward played 
in a withdrawn position as opposed to the traditional striker's up-on-top 
position. All the technical stuff went straight over their heads. They even 
asked for a rematch in Budapest and arrived with high hopes. (Hungary won 7-1 
and they could have won that match 27-1.) That was the match, not the one at 
Wembley, that rocked the foundation of the English football and resulted in 
fundamental changes. Hungary's credentials up to that point included winning 
the 1952 Olympics, which was not the watered-down competition of today. They 
also beat Austria (an eventual bronze medalist in 1954) several times, 
Yugoslavia (a formidable team in its own right), Sweden (WC finalist, albeit 
at home, in 1958), and Italy at home at their Olympic Stadium opener, totally 
dominating them, 3-0. This was the backdrop of the match at Wembley. The 
adjective "magic" had already been pinned on them.

I have a story about the match against Italy. The Italian center forward 
Galli, created a few dangerous situations early in the match. Puskas yelled 
back to the center fullback Lorant: "How long will number 9 dazzle?" The next 
time Galli got tackled so hard he ended up on the running track, then the next 
time he got challenged for a header and hit the ground real hard. He was not a 
factor in the rest of the match. At the banquet, Lorant went over to the 
Italians' table and wanted to shake his hand. When Galli saw him approach, he 
instinctively raised his arm, as if defending himself. Even his own teammates 
laughed. Lorant was one of the hardest, most physical defenders I have ever seen. 
Yet, he was never sent off, as he always tackled the ball. He could also joggle 
sitting down all day long with either foot or head. And he was the sweetest 
guy off the pitch, one of the few people at that time in Hungary I knew, who 
owned a car. A nice sports car it was, he bought it after Hungary won the 
Olympics in 1952. After the match, Rakosi the head of the government and 
the communist party who ruled the country, called the dressing room to 
congratulate the players. Lorant got on the phone and said: "Comrade Rakosi, 
workers in this country have their own cars. Is it OK if I bring one back 
with me?" The stunned Rakosi said yes. He did not know that during the match 
Lorant ripped the communist emblem off his jersey.