MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 13:16:41

Top five World Cup shocks

With the World Cup eight days away, Sports Mole picks out five of the tournament's biggest shocks.

Almost 80 nations have competed at the World Cup, but only eight of them have managed to get their hands on the famous trophy.

As a result, every four years there are a host of teams that many believe are merely there to make up the numbers.

Nevertheless, that has not prevented David from getting the better of Goliath on occasion. With that in mind, Sports Mole has picked out five of the biggest shocks in the tournament's history.


5. Senegal 1-0 France, 2002

Defending champions France kicked off the 2002 tournament against debutants Senegal, with only one result anticipated. The Africans didn't read the script, though, as Papa Bouba Diop turned in El-Hadji Diouf's cross in the 30th minute to score the only goal of the game. It was a competition that saw the Senegal players announce themselves on the world stage, while France finished bottom of the group.



4. North Korea 1-0 Italy, 1966

Not too much was expected of North Korea in 1966, although they did go into their final group encounter with a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. However, their opponents in Middlesbrough were Italy, resulting in the Asians being given little chance of progressing. As it was, Doo-Ik Pak scored four minutes before the break to send his nation through, while Italy - some people's favourites to lift the trophy - exited the tournament at the first hurdle.



3. Uruguay 2-1 Brazil, 1950

To this day, the 1950 final remains the darkest moment in the history of the Brazilian national side. The format was altered for this tournament, where instead of knockout stages, a four-team round-robin was installed. Hosts Brazil had romped their first two games against Sweden and Spain, meaning that they only needed a draw against Uruguay to win the competition in front of 170,000 supporters in the Maracana. Friaca put the Yellows in front shortly after the restart, but late goals from Juan Alberto Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia earned the Uruguayans the trophy.



2. West Germany 3-2 Hungary, 1954

During the group stages of the 1954 World Cup, the Hungarians had thrashed their West German counterparts 8-3. Both nations went on to reach the final, with Hungary, who boasted the legendary Ferenc Puskas in their team, unbeaten in the last six years. So, when Puskas and Zoltan Czibor put their nation 2-0 up within the opening eight minutes in Bern, it appeared that there was only going to one winner. Yet Max Morlock reduced the arrears, before Helmut Rahn bagged a brace to secure the trophy for West Germany, who were made up primarily of amateur footballers.



1. USA 1-0 England, 1950

Heading into the 1950 World Cup, it was reported that the semi-professional American team had been thrown together at the final moment, with some players only taking part in one training session before the tournament got underway. Their second group opponents, England, were among the favourites to reach the final, with the likes of Tom Finney, Alf Ramsey, Stan Mortensen and Billy Wright in their ranks. That quartet were powerless, though, as Joe Gaetjens struck during the first half to earn the USA a surprising two points. The Americans would not win again at a World Cup for 44 years.



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England's David Beckham celebrates scoring against Mexico on May 25, 2001.
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