Football is the world’s most followed and the most played sport, no other sport even comes close to enjoying the popularity of football. With a fan base of over 3.5 billion people, it truly is the number 1 sport in the world. In South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe football is like a religion, only in North America does football (soccer) take a backseat to other more localized sports, such as baseball, American football, and basketball.
And the showcase and ultimate prize in football is the World Cup. Held every 4 years teams from all over the world compete for the Jules Rimet Trophy, with over half the population of the planet tuning in to watch live broadcasts of the games. This of course is a great opportunity for gamblers, avid or part-time punters bet an estimated $155 billion USD on the 32 team finals. But not everything goes to plan and that’s why we love football, in each of the finals there are some major upsets that stun the football world. Gambling on football can be a bit more predictable than gambling at a live casino on the table or slots, but nothing is black and white when it comes to the football world cup. Here are some of the biggest and shocking upsets in world cup history.
Amateurs vs Professionals, USA 1-0 England (1950)
In 1950 Brazil hosted the first world cup since before the second world war, the 1942 and 1946 competitions were canceled due to the war, and everybody was looking forward to life getting back to normal. England was one of the favorites to win the competition, but football and sports do not always work like that. Under the rules of the competition, only the winner of the qualifying group stage featuring Chile, The United States, Spain, and England would progress. England who was making their world cup debut after a disagreement with FIFA the football world’s governing body saw them miss the first three. England were favorites not only to beat the American team who were 500 to 1 to win the cup but were also favorites to qualify.
The English team was a professional team with well-known names such as Bert Williams, Alf Ramsey, Billy Wright, Tom Finney, and Roy Bentley. The American team consisted of part-time footballers with jobs ranging from hearse driver, high school teacher, dishwashers, and letter carriers. It should have been a foregone conclusion, but Haitian born Joseph Gaetjens headed home from 12 yards in the 37th minute. This went on to be the only goal of the game and one of the world cup’s biggest upsets for fans and gamblers alike. Both teams were later eliminated from the group stage after further losses, and Uruguay went on to defeat Brazil in the final.
A Big Upset, West Germany 3-2 Hungary (1954)
If you look at the score from today’s perspective you could be forgiven for wondering why the Germans didn’t score more. But in 1954 the world was different, Germany was a shattered and divided nation. With the ravages of the second world war plaguing the country and its football team was not considered to be very good. The Hungarians which were given the name “Golden Team” had legends such as Puskas, Hidegkuti, and Czibar that made them the favorites to beat West Germany and win their first world cup.
And this was not a group qualifying game, it was the final. Hungary were massive favorites after not losing an international match in the 4 years previous. Things went to plan for Hungary and they were winning 0-2 within 8 minutes, but the Germans had different plans. With Maximillion Morlock scoring 1 for West Germany and 2 goals from Helmut Rahn, one of the biggest world cup upsets still to this today took place on a cold night in Switzerland. Everybody was stunned and it became the first of 4 world cup victories for the Germans, who would have to wait 36 years for East and West Germany to reunite and play football as one team again.
Debutants vs World Cup Holders, Senegal 1-0 France (2002)
This is one of the biggest shocks in world cup history and live casino gambling. Senegal a young side whose players mostly played in France, but not for the title-challenging teams. And France, the current world cup holders, a team that had lost only six games since lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy in France 4 years earlier, opened the tournament in Seoul, South Korea. What should have been an easy warm-up game for France and its superstars including, Zidane, Henry, Pires, Trezeguet, Leboeurf, and Desailly turned out to be the start of a shambolic defense of their title.
Early in the game, it was clear that the young Senegal team was more than capable of containing France, and with France’s aging defense looking vulnerable on each attack it wasn’t long before Senegal took the lead. Pape Bouba Diop’s 30th minute strike was enough for Senegal to claim a famous win and get France off to a bad start, from which they never recovered. The reigning champions only managed 1 point and no goals in the group stage and went home early an embarrassed team.
It’s Not The Result, It’s The Score, Brazil 1-7 Germany (2014)
It wasn’t so much who might win, either side was about evens with the bookmakers and the semi-final game between these footballing giants promised to be a good game but a tight scoreline. How wrong everybody was. Although Brazil was missing Neymar and Silva through injury, they still had a first-rate team, and they had a very impressive home record, no home losses in 62 matches. That unbeaten streak which lasted since 1975, was about to stop in unbelievable fashion.
The game started lively but in the 11th minute Thomas Muller scored and that opened the floodgates. By halftime, Germany was leading by 5 goals to nil, Brazil was in shock, Germany was shocked, the bookmakers and the rest of the world were shocked. The Germans went on to win 7-1. In Brazil, the public and government called it a national disaster and went into mourning, the Germans faced Argentina in the final and won their 4th world cup in extra time 1-0.
One of the reasons we love football and sport, in general, is that no matter what people say the underdog is always in with a chance. The bookmakers don’t always get it right, the results above nobody predicted.