Biggest upset in World Cup history

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Greatest upset in World Cup history

USA in the semi-final, 1930
0
No votes
USA 1 England 0, 1950
4
40%
Brazil 1 Uruguay 2, 1950
1
10%
DPRK 1 Italy 0, 1966
2
20%
Northern Ireland 1 Spain 0, 1982
2
20%
Cameroon 1 Argentina 0, 1990
0
No votes
Senegal 1 France 0, 2002
0
No votes
Other
1
10%
 
Total votes: 10

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eujin
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Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby eujin » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:33 pm

We have a rather dull record of all agreeing on this site but I thought I'd stick this up anyway. After rewatching the "Game of their Lives" documentary and hearing the voiceover say the DPRK result against Italy was the greatest World Cup upset of all time I thought, well, the English would say that. But 1950 was kind of special.

These off the top of my head, there might be others (Scotland-Costa Rica hardly counts though). ROK in the semis was perhaps a shock, but was it the biggest of all time given that they were hosts? If New Zealand get to the final we can add that, but it's hard to see what else could occur in 2010 that would top some of these.

Just goes to show though that most upsets come via 1-0, which is perhaps not surprising.
Last edited by eujin on Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby sjc_three » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:38 pm

Went for the Northern Ireland one, but it could've gone to 2 or 3 really. The fact it was on home turf swayed it for me.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby nzfooty » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:29 pm

Okay, we may have a disagreement then eujin. How on earth do you justify the inclusion of the Nth Ireland v Spain result? And sjc_three you chose it as the greatest upset. A bunch of England based professionals defeated Spain who were under-performing. Honduras had held Spain to a 1-1 draw in the first match.
What is it that I'm missing in this picture? An upset it was but hardly bigger than, say Germany defeating Hungary in 1954? And that one didn't even make eujin's list.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby Cyclops » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:35 pm

Interesting idea for a poll, but actually really hard to choose. The 'magnitude' of a 'shock' is mostly determined by the reaction of people to the result at the time, and because of the huge gap in time between them it's almost impossible to compare. Personally, I'm stumped!

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby eujin » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:51 pm

nzfooty wrote:An upset it was but hardly bigger than, say Germany defeating Hungary in 1954? And that one didn't even make eujin's list.

Part of me still feels the Germany-Hungary final in 1954 was rigged. I had a friend in Christchurch who emigrated from Hungary in 1956 and he was adamant that FIFA didn't want a communist country winning the World Cup. There were several dodgey decisions, not the least of which the second German goal and the disallowed equaliser. Plus the Germans all mysteriously falling ill from jaundice after the final.
Add to that Puskas was not fully fit, the pitch and weather clearly suited the dour Germans, the Hungarians had been kept up all night and Germany were hardly rank outsiders having won 6-1 in the semis. Unsurprisingly Das Wunder von Bern is on the TV again next week so I'll no doubt have another chance to air my reservations about Germany's greatest sporting triumph.

The next poll will be what was the most outrageous World Cup match.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby eujin » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:17 pm

I think for me it's question between the USA-England and DPRK-Italy games. The US is a lot bigger than England, but the incredible arrogance of the English towards foreigners playing "their" game, the fact that most people in the US probably didn't even know saccah existed at the time and they were regularly getting pounded 11-0 by the likes of Norway prior to the World Cup, plus the fact that the Italians played most of the game with ten men, North Korea had already drawn with Chile (3rd place in 1962) and destroyed the Aussies 9-2 on aggregate in qualifying swings it for me.

The DPRK actually had a pretty handy team in 1966 - if they'd played Italy over two legs they might still have gone through - they were 3-0 up against Portugal don't forget. If you've never seen some of the games I recommend watching them. Unlike the 2010 team they didn't really do defending and just took defenders on left right and centre.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby Rothesay Saint » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:47 pm

I've gone for other - Germany beating Austria 1-0 in the 1982 world cup, the exact score that would see both teams qualify for the next round. Amazing. :albino:
Bring back King Cha.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby Sampo » Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:46 am

I voted for 1950 US over England. Eujin mentioned that America was(is) bigger but that's like saying China and India is bigger and should therefore always win. America really didn't care about soccer back then, one American journalist was at the World Cup and he had to pay his own way and take vacation time to attend. Also, America had lost their last seven games by a margain of 45-2 and after defeating England proceeded to lose to Chile 5-2. The American players were all part time semi-pros as well, so I can't really see how this couldn't be the biggest upset (except for 북한)

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby nzfooty » Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:52 am

Sampo wrote:I voted for 1950 US over England. Eujin mentioned that America was(is) bigger but that's like saying China and India is bigger and should therefore always win. America really didn't care about soccer back then, one American journalist was at the World Cup and he had to pay his own way and take vacation time to attend. Also, America had lost their last seven games by a margain of 45-2 and after defeating England proceeded to lose to Chile 5-2. The American players were all part time semi-pros as well, so I can't really see how this couldn't be the biggest upset (except for 북한)


I agree with you Sampo. It's either that or NK's win in 1966. Can anyone who voted for N Ireland please comment on why they chose that result? As I wrote, some of their players were professionals at big English clubs - and Spain were pish at the time. Very impressive result for N Ireland but not at the level of some of the other upsets.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby mervsdamun » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:43 pm

I voted for England v USA though I would like to change my vote (but cannot). England, as the results against Hungary showed a few years later weren't nearly as good as claimed. They lost other matches at the 1950 World Cup and soon after were trashed by Hungary 6-3 and 7-1.

The inclusion of the Northern Ireland result is a joke. People who have voted for this must have been old enough to remember how it was blown out of proportion by the retarded British press and voted based on that.
Truly disgusting as there was a far greater upset at the 1982 World Cup, with Algeria beating West Germany (and Chile) to be denied a place in the second round by 'The Shame of Gijon'.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby nzfooty » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:23 pm

Yes, I'd go with Rothesay Saint and mervsdamun for Austria v Germany 1982 as one of the most outrages matches. Any other suggestions so that we have a nice inclusive poll? How about Battle of Berne 1954 (Hungary v Brazil), Battle of Santiago 1962 (Chile v Italy), el robo del siglo - 1966 (England v Argentina), Hand of God - 1986 (England v Argentina)... some suggestion, perhaps not all good.

Then perhaps the best or classic match...

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby eujin » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:49 pm

nzfooty wrote:Yes, I'd go with Rothesay Saint and mervsdamun for Austria v Germany 1982 as one of the most outrages matches. Any other suggestions so that we have a nice inclusive poll? How about Battle of Berne 1954 (Hungary v Brazil), Battle of Santiago 1962 (Chile v Italy), el robo del siglo - 1966 (England v Argentina), Hand of God - 1986 (England v Argentina)... some suggestion, perhaps not all good.

Then perhaps the best or classic match...

I was putting a list together. 1990 final was on, and I had Charlie Dempsey as an outrageous World Cup moment and that Kuwaiti guy storming the pitch in 1982.

Let me just try to defend the Northern Ireland inclusion. I didn't vote for it, but I did put it on the list. Firstly, as sjc_three says, Spain were hosts, that has to count for something (we clearly don't have any 60+ year old Brazilians on this board to vote for the 1950 final). Secondly, the population mulitplier has to have some role. Northern Irleand to Spain must be twenty times or so, which is way bigger than DPRK to Italy. Both are footballing nations which can't be said of India, Pakistan or the Phillippines, so the population multiplier does play a role. Thirdly, Spain were and had been for a long time a world football powerhouse. Real Madrid were in the European Cup final in 1981 and the semis in 1980- five of the Madrid players were in the Spain squad. Barcelona won the Cup Winners Cup just before the tournament started. Fourthly, Northern Ireland were hardly England aristocrats in disguise, with players at clubs like Stoke, Norwich, Watford, Luton and Burnley (Stoke were lower first tier, Norwich, Watford and Luton upper second tier and Burnley upper third tier at the time). Whiteside played at Man Utd and Jennings at Arsenal but the starting 11 in Valencia also included players from Toronto and Tulsa (isn't that where Chandler from Friends gets sent?) And fifthly, I can't imagine any side that starts Martin O'Neill being favourites for anything.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby nzfooty » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:01 pm

The NI players were full-time professionals from strong clubs! The clubs you mention all were still at high level. At the time English clubs were the strongest in Europe (for example, Ipswich Where-is-That Town had won the the 1981 UEFA Cup showing the depth in the league. Aston Villa had won the 1982 Champions Cup. English clubs at the time were doing much better than the Spanish.

You also know very well that traditionally club form does not easily translate to the NT team in Spain.

In addition that Toronto player you mentioned, that's Jimmy Nicholl who in 1982 had just spent eight years at Manchester United, before a short stint in Canada. Soon after he was back in the UK playing for Sunderland, WBA and Rangers.

The guy at Tulsa on the other hand, David McCreery, had spent 5 years at Manchester United, and after a short snit in USA had seven years at Newcastle.

Mal Donaghy? Another one that went onto play for Manchester United (and Chelsea).

Chris Nicholl? Had won two league cups with Aston Villa in the 70s.

Gerry Armstrong? Five years with Tottenham under his belt.

Sammy McIlroy? Eleven years at Manchester United. Had just transferred to Stoke.

John McClelland? Was with Rangers, went on to win the English title with Leeds United.

Sammy Nelson? Had fifteen - yes 15 - years with Arsenal until 1981.

Tommy Cassidy? A decade at Newcastle.

Tommy Finney? Spent time at Manchester United.

George Dunlop and O'Neill had time at Manchester City.

And as you point out Pat Jennings was at Arsenal (one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time) and Norman Whiteside at Manchester United.

Not English aristocrats in disguise?

How on earth did this lot get mixed up with the likes of North Korea, the American teams of 60+ years ago even the Algerian team of 1982 that defeated W Germany is very hard to understand. At least you didn't vote for them.

N Ireland eliminated Sweden, Portugal and Israel on the way to the WC - and given that the Spanish needed a penalty to draw with Honduras in the previous match - this is the biggest surprise of all time?

As for the population multiplier, when you are from a catchment area for one of the world's biggest leagues that hardly counts (unless you are the size of the Faroe Isl). How many people live in Catalonia? More than in N Ireland, but it's not that much bigger.

Sorry, but in my opinion the choice of N Ireland is an extremely unfortunate one.

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby Cyclops » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:37 am

While I think your anger is disproportionate on this matter, it was fascinating to read your breakdown of the NI team that day. Virtually every one of those players is a legend in some way, either at their club or nationally, and it's reminded me what a different world British football was in those days. Nevertheless, I think your comprehensive argument against the inclusion of that game should simply be that, rather than an indictment of an interesting post that didn't pretend to be anything other than an attempt to start a debate (which it did).

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Re: Biggest upset in World Cup history

Postby nzfooty » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:50 am

Oops... I may have gotten carried away with the exclamation marks and highlighting but my post was more about expressing surprise rather than anger. Anyway eujin started it by claiming "we have a rather dull record of all agreeing on this site" so I threw some stuff back at him.

Apologies to him and the NI voters if I came out too aggressive. I just got carried away "in the heat of the moment".


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