This year's World Cup has been of surprises from the underdogs. First, it was the favored Spain losing to the underrated Swiss. Then on Day 10, the defeating World Cup champion Italians were stunned with a 1-1 draw against New Zealand. But how do these compare to the biggest upsets in the tournament's history? Zack Faigen takes a look.
U.S. over Colombia, 1994
Colombia was one of the favorites in 1994, but the hosts scored a huge upset with the help of defender Andres Escobar's own goal in their group stage matchup. Escobar was later shot and killed back in Colombia. Most people believe he was killed because of the own goal, possibly because Colombia's elimination led to huge gambling losses for some powerful drug lords.
South Korea over Italy, 2002
The fact that South Korea were co-hosts of the 2002 World Cup makes this huge upset slightly less shocking in the history of the event. Still, the Asian side's victory over world power Italy was a stunner, as they beat the Italians 2–1 in sudden-death extra time to reach the quarterfinals.
Northern Ireland over Spain, 1982
On neutral soil, Spain would have been the heavy favorite in this clash. But this wasn't on neutral soil. The World Cup was held in Spain in 1982. Northern Ireland shocked the hosts, 1-0, a result made all-the-more surprising given that Northern Ireland played much of that second half with 10 men.
Cameroon over Argentina, 1990
The African side got the 1990 event off to a shocking start with an upset over the reigning World Cup champions. Cameroon would top its group and eventually reach the quarterfinals, the first time that an African side had done so.
East Germany over West Germany, 1974
In a huge upset filled with political implications, the East Germans held their West counterparts scoreless in the 1-0 victory. East German forward Juergen Sparwasser (left) scored the lone goal past West German defenders Horst Hoettges (on ground), Berti Vogts (kicking) and goalkeeper Sepp Maier.
North Korea over Italy, 1966
The biggest upset of the England-hosted 1966 World Cup came in group play when North Korea beat the heavily-favored Italians. The 1-0 win helped North Korea win their group, and prevented Italy from advancing. North Korea would eventually lose to Portugal, 5-3, after being up 3-0 in one of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history.
Bulgaria over Germany, 1994
In a quarterfinal stunner for the ages, Bulgaria came back from a 1-0 deficit with two late second-half goals to send the Germans home. The Germans, in a way the reigning champions as West Germany had won the World Cup in 1990, were playing as a unified country for the first time since before World War II.
Senegal over France, 2002
It was a battle of former colonial power vs. its former colony. It was also reigning World Cup champions vs. severe underdogs. It didn't matter. Senegal shocked France in their opening group-stage match, 1-0. Senegal would advance out of the group stage, while France was held scoreless in all three games, marking the worst performance ever for a defending champion.
U.S. over England, 1950
England were a soccer powerhouse, the U.S. an international punching bag. Here's a stat: the odds of the English winning the World Cup was 3-1; the odds of the Americans winning was 500-1. Only one American journalist even attended the World Cup, and he did so on his own dime. The 1-0 win was such a stunner that some publications in England presumed the scoreline they received was in error, and printed the result as either 10-0 or 10-1. Unfortunately for the Americans, they lost their other two opening matches and did not advance. The country would not qualify for another World Cup until 1990.
Uruguay over Brazil, 1950
On par with the shocking U.S. win over England from that year, but this one gets the nod because it was in the final. Under the old rules of the World Cup -- in which point totals were used to determine the winner, not just the winner of the match -- Brazil needed only a draw against Uruguay. Oh, and Brazil were the hosts! Brazil had won their previous two matches by a combined 13-2 score and were big favorites in the final. On that day, 200,000 people filled Estadio do Maracana to watch the home side. Brazil took a 1-0 lead early in the second half, but Uruguay would equalize soon thereafter and score the winner with just over 10 minutes to go. Brazil was denied its first World Cup, which would come eight years later.