With the 22nd iteration of the FIFA World Cup now less than one month away, fans are starting to get excited as 32 nations compete to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.
Five-time winners Brazil are the current favourites for the tournament, and you can get on this and bet on casino and sport with stake.com this winter.
The group stages always offer a particular source of entertainment, with the potential for shock results augmenting often high-octane matches with plenty of goals.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the greatest World Cup shocks of all-time, while asking what sets these matches apart!
#3. USA 1 England 0 (1950)
Although the USA finished third in the first ever World Cup finals in 1930, they’d been unable to build on this by the time the Brazil WC in 1950 came around.
In fact, the USA team at this tournament was packed full of inexperienced and part-time players, so they were given little chance of upsetting a star-studded England side featuring Wilf Mannion, Stan Mortensen and the brilliant winger Tom Finney.
However, the Three Lions were stunned by Haitian-born striker Joe Gaetjens’ first half goal, when the forward deflected Walter Bahr’s 25-yard strike into the net.
England simply couldn’t respond despite their increasingly frantic efforts in the second half, and ultimately slumped to an infamous and harrowing defeat.
#2. Cameroon 1 Argentina 0 (1990)
Next up is another group stage clash, and one that saw defending world champions Argentina kick off the 1990 tournament in Italy.
Their opponents were unfancied Cameroon, who making only their second ever WC finals appearance at a time when African nations hadn’t made their mark on the international stage.
Despite featuring star players like Jorge Burruchaga, Diego Maradona and striker Claudio Caniggia, however, Argentina failed to score against their opponents, while they fell behind when Francois Omam-Biyik’s header skirmed into the net following a goalkeeping error.
The match almost descended into chaos when Cameroon had two men sent-off to finish with nine men, but they hung on to secure a famous win!
#1. Uruguay 2 Brazil 1 (1950)
Our second entry from the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, this match actually took place in the showpiece final game at the iconic Maracaña Stadium.
In what ultimately become known as the ‘Tragedy of the Maracaña’, overwhelming favourites Brazil took to the field in front of around 200,000 impassioned fans to enjoy what they expected to be more of a coronation than a keenly contested football match.
In fact, their unfancied opponents were barely given any consideration at all, while the party got started in earnest when Friaca fired the hosts into an early second half lead.
Brazil’s subsequent collapse has since gone down in football folklore, with Juan Schiaffino equalising after 66 minutes before Alcides Ghiggia struck the winner to virtual silence in the Maracaña just 11 minutes from time.
This remains one of the FIFA World Cup’s most iconic historic matches, and one that we’d argue delivered the biggest surprise of all-time.