Over the years the world of football has been stunned by some of the greatest upsets in the game’s history. We looked at three of the most famous to unearth the biggest shocks of all time.
North Korea, 1966
Thanks to the country’s political situation, North Korea remain on the periphery of international football. Sporadic and generally unsuccessful attendees in the World Cup, the team enjoy only marginally more success in the Asia Cup.
However, one game stands atop all others in the list of North Korean sporting achievements, and it remains one of the great World Cup shocks.
In 1966 Italy were flying high on the world stage, already two-time winners, they drew what many assumed to be the easiest opposition going in the 1966 group stage – North Korea.
The Koreans were embarking on their very first World Cup outing, and little was expected of the side. So when they won 1-0 against the mighty Italy the surprise rippled across the world.
Euro 1992 final
It takes a lot to win an international tournament, but a very special set of circumstances to triumph in one that you didn’t even qualify for.
Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, EU sanctions against Serbia & Montenegro prohibited them from attending the Euro 1992 finals, gifting Denmark an unexpected chance to compete.
Hastily throwing their boots and shirts into suitcases, the team travelled to nearby Sweden, where nobody expected them to do very much at all.
Fast forward to 26 June 1992 and the Danes were not only in the final, but they had claimed the scalps of England, France and Holland, and were now about to face off against the mighty Germany.
Denmark went on to win 2-0, stunning Germany and the watching fans. The win was especially poignant for match winner Kim Vilfort, who had been left the Danish training camp twice during the finals to visit his daughter back home, who was battling leukaemia.
While Danish football hasn’t reached these heady heights since, the story of the 1992 side remains one of the great shocks of the game.
What would the odds of a team that didn’t qualify for a major finals going onto win the competition? Certainly more than Leicester’s famous 500/1 to win the Premier League, probably not far off Lottoland’s odds on the EuroMillions jackpot either – 1 in 140 million.
Brazil vs Germany (1-7)
There have been shocks in football, in fact we’ve just discussed two of them! But no game has ever compared to the now legendary semi-final of the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil, both hosts and favourites had enjoyed a strong run-up to the match. While their squad was far from the calibre of many vintage Seleção sides, it still boasted many of the world’s best players, and of course, Neymar.
Germany had looked strong throughout the competition, and the scene was set for a competitive game – easily the pick of the two semi-final fixtures.
There came a point in the game, roughly around the time of the fifth goal, where even the German side looked stunned by proceedings. Their passing slowed, the tempo dropped and everything became almost dreamlike.
Brazil no longer looked like Brazil, in fact they hadn’t from the 11th minute when Thomas Muller opened the floodgates.
When the final whistle blew, as David Luiz fell to his knees in prayer, the world stood, jaws dropped, as they struggled to comprehend the last 90 minutes. Unless, of course, you were a German fan, then you would have joined with your compatriots in erupting into celebration.
Unsurprisingly it was the most tweeted about event in sporting history, earning over 35 million mentions.