x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Five World Cup shockers

With the 2014 World Cup beginning on Thursday, a look back at some of the most shocking results in the tournament's history.

In this Oct. 3, 1951 file photo, French forward Rene Alpster beats English defender Alf Ramsey, centre, and goalkeeper Bert Williams to score France's second goal in the England - France International soccer match at London's Highbury Stadium, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Now aged 90, Williams was the goalkeeper who conceded the only goal of the game when a team of journeymen Americans beat a talented England side in Brazil in 1950, one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history(AP Photo)
In this Oct. 3, 1951 file photo, French forward Rene Alpster beats English defender Alf Ramsey, centre, and goalkeeper Bert Williams to score France's second goal in the England - France International soccer match at London's Highbury Stadium, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Now aged 90, Williams was the goalkeeper who conceded the only goal of the game when a team of journeymen Americans beat a talented England side in Brazil in 1950, one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history(AP Photo)

The World cup finals kick off on Thursday when Brazil take on Croatia, and it was the opening game of the tournament where two of the five biggest shocks in the history of the event occurred. We run down those two and three other World Cup stunners.

(For what it’s worth, we know of a camel that thinks Croatia could join this list)

United States 1, England 0 (1950)

England arrived at their first World Cup finals having lost just four times in 30 matches. Facing a team of part-timers, they opted to rest key player Stanley Matthews. A goal by Haiti-born Joe Gaetjens earned the Americans a 1-0 win. Neither side made it through to the next round.

North Korea 1, Italy 0 (1966)

Pak Do-ik struck the winner in a 1-0 victory over Italy in a group match in the unglamorous setting of Middlesbrough, England. North Korea had to wait until 2010 for their next appearance. “I learnt that playing football can improve diplomatic relations and promote peace,” Pak said in an emotional return to Middlesbrough in 2002.

Northern Ireland 1, Spain 0 (1982)

Unfancied Northern Ireland crashed Spain’s World Cup fiesta, beating the hosts 1-0 through a Gerry Armstrong goal early in the second-half. Spain could not even take advantage of their opponents being reduced to 10 men for the final half-hour as defender Mal Donaghy was sent off. The Irish went through to the quarter-finals but their adventure ended there.

Cameroon 1, Argentina 0 (1990)

Cameroon, a side with few famous names, won 1-0 through Francois Omam-Biyik’s headed goal in the first game in 1990. “We hate it when European reporters ask us if we eat monkeys and have a witch doctor. We are real football players and we proved this tonight,” Biyik said.

Senegal 1, France 0 (2002)

In a repeat of 1990, another unfancied African team came up against the champions, possessing a global superstar in Zinedine Zidane. Senegal, coached by Frenchman Bruno Metsu, took a 1-0 win through a goal from midfielder Papa Bouba Diop and eventually made it to the quarter-finals.

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