The 10 Biggest World Cup Upsets

It can be hard to look beyond the established nations when looking at the odds for World Cup matches but things don’t always go to script. We’ve compiled the top ten biggest World Cup upsets just to show that lightning can strike.

Read more: World Cup bitcoin betting: All you need

#10 Switzerland vs Spain

In the 2010 World Cup, the reigning European Champions, Spain, boasting superstars like Iniesta, Xavi, and David Villa were shocked by a lowly Swiss team in their opening game in South Africa. Gelson Fernandes bundled in a scrappy winner, ending Switzerland's 18-game losing streak to Spain.

#9 Northern Ireland vs Spain

At the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Gerry Armstrong scored an unlikely goal that sent Northern Ireland’s fans into delirium, and humiliated the hosts. Victory helped them to become unlikely winners of Group 5, and set the Irish on the way to the quarterfinals and the hosts on a path to elimination.

#8 Senegal vs France

#8 Senegal vs France

No one expected Senegal to do much in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, having been drawn in a group including World Cup holders and European champions France, Uruguay and Denmark. On a rainy day in Seoul the Lions of Teranga proved everyone wrong as they defeated France in the opening game of the tournament, becoming every neutral’s favourite team, and progressing to the quarterfinals - equalling the best performance of an African team at the World Cup.

#7 South Korea vs Italy

In 2002, Korea and Japan were given the chance to host the FIFA World Cup - the first Asian host nations, the first World Cup hosted by two nations and the first of the millennium.

Though Italy’s loss to South Korea in the 2002 FIFA World Cup could be considered one of the biggest scandals in football the 2-1 victory over the Italians qualifies as one of our Top 10 biggest World Cup upsets.

Whether you believe the penalty awarded was correct, Totti’s second yellow card was fair, or Italy’s disallowed goal legitimate, what counts is that South Korean came back from 1-0 down to upset the favoured Azzurri.

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#6 USA vs England

The 1950 World Cup saw England take part in their first FIFA World Cup. With the likes of Stanley Matthews and captain Billy Wright, the debutantes were favourites to take home the trophy, while the USA team - made up of amateurs - were considered a stepping stone to England lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy.

Despite England dominating in the early stages of the game, a deflected shot for the Americans and some heroic defending stunned England gave us one of the 10 biggest World Cup upsets.

#5 North Korea vs Italy

July 1966, an unknown North Korean side pulled off one of the World Cup’s biggest upsets defeating European powerhouse Italy, 1-0 thanks to a well-taken goal from Pak Doo-ik.

#4 Cameroon vs Argentina

At Italia 90, the world watched one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history as Cameroon - finishing the game with only 9 men - beat holders, Argentina, captained by Diego Maradona (in his prime), 1-0. The Indomitable Lions went on to the quarter-finals where they lost a closely contested game with England.

#3 Scotland vs Holland

Archie Gemmill scored a solo goal at the 1978 World Cup that some might have included in their Top 10 unforgettable World Cup goals. It has certainly been immortalised in the cult film, Trainspotting.

Picking up a loose ball on the right wing, Gemmill goes on a magical mazy run, jinking past two oncoming defenders, nutmegging a third, before coolly chipping the ball over the Dutch goalie.

Sadly for the Scots, victory against a Holland team widely tipped to win the tournament wasn’t enough to stop Ally’s Army from enduring an embarrassing early exit, having themselves been upset by Peru earlier in the group.

#2 Algeria vs West Germany

At the 1982 World Cup, the Algerian national team recorded one of Africa’s greatest victories to defeat Germany and make our Top 10 biggest World Cup upsets.

In the first match of Group 2, footballing powerhouse and reigning European champions West Germany were expected to sweep aside minnows, Algeria. The pre-match ridicule from the Germans clearly ignited the Algerian players to pull off a great 2-1 victory with their speed and dynamic style of football.

Sadly for Algeria, this remarkable success wasn’t enough to see them progress, as German and Austria conspired in their final game to produce a 1-1 result that sent both through in a game that was so shameful in its collusion that it changed World Cup rules.

#1 West Germany vs Hungary

The Mighty Magyars led by Ferenc Puskás had racked up a 31-games unbeaten record over five years before entering the field in the 1954 World Cup Final against West Germany. Ravaged by World War II and easily beaten 8-3 by Puskás and his Hungarian teammates in the group stages, the world expected a repeat performance.

With Puskás and Czibor putting Hungary two goals ahead early on, the final seemed to be going to script until Germany, and what has become known as the Miracle of Bern, changed all that. The result is seen by many as critical to the creation of the steely character that defines the psyche of the modern German national team.

The World Cup has produced so many great underdog stories that is was hard to produce a definitive top 10 list. Follow us @cloudbet on Twitter and let us know any that you think should have made our Top 10 biggest World Cup upsets.

If you feel inspired by this litany of giant-killing, then check out our World Cup odds. For those that are new to Bitcoin, don’t worry. It is easy to get started with bitcoin betting at courtesy of Bitcoin 101 section.

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