The 5 Biggest Shock Results in World Cup History

We’re counting down towards the World Cup at Unibet, and taking a look back at previous editions of the famous tournament as we do so.

Here, we look at the five biggest shocks in the competition’s history.

Will we see anything to rival them in Brazil?


5. Argentina 0 Cameroon 1, 1990


The opening match of Italia ’90 was supposed to see World Cup holders Argentina establish themselves as a key force in the tournament at the San Siro in Milan, but instead Cameroon spoiled the party.

The underdogs remarkably won 1-0 courtesy of a header Francois Omam-Biyik, and despite ending the match with nine men they were able to cling on to a stunning victory which set them on the way to becoming the first ever African side to reach the quarter-finals.


4. East Germany 1 West Germany 0, 1974

Finalists in 1966 and semi-finalists in 1970, hosts West Germany were expected to sweep aside neighbours East Germany in a match full of political intrigue in Hamburg in 1974.

But the East Germans refused to be beaten, and a goal from Jurgen Sparwasser 16 minutes from time secured them the top spot in their group ahead of their neighbours, who eventually recovered to win the tournament.


3. North Korea 1 Italy 0, 1966


No-one at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park could quite believe what they saw, as the heavily-fancied Italians lost out to the unknown North Koreans.

Pak Doo-Ik scored just before half-time as North Korea leapfrogged Italy to take second place in the group and knock the Europeans out, although they would lose 5-3 to Portugal after going 3-0 up in the next round, with Eusebio scoring four times.


2. France 0 Senegal 1, 2002

In a match with echoes of Cameroon and Argentina in 1990, holders France were stunned by Senegal in 1990 on the way to a shock first round exit.

Missing Zinedine Zidane, the French could still call upon the likes of Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly and Patrick Vieira in Seoul, but they were no match for the vibrant Senegalese side who took the lead on the half hour mark through Papa Bouba Diop.

Try as they might the French couldn’t get back into the game, and Senegal went on to achieve a result which shocked the world.


1. USA 1 England 0, 1950

England’s first ever World Cup didn’t exactly go to plan, as they lost 1-0 to the part-time USA team in Belo Horizonte on the last occasion the tournament was held in Brazil.

This result was so shocking that, when the British press heard about it over the wires, they mistakenly felt that the scoreline had been printed incorrectly, and that England had in fact won 10-1 or 10-0.

Joe Gaetjens grabbed the only goal of the game as an England team featuring Tom Finney, Billy Wright and future World Cup-winning manager Alf Ramsey were humbled in embarrassing fashion. 


Fancy a shock in this World Cup? Check out our odds here