If you’ve been following this year’s World Cup edition, you would have realised something:
The upset level in the tournament is above 9000.
And I’m not kidding. Just look at Germany. The reigning champions were oh so unceremoniously kicked out this year at the hands of not Brazil, not England, but South Korea.
But did you know something? That’s not the only upset we’ve witnessed and groaned over this tournament. Heck, it might not even be the worst.
With that in mind, let’s just go through the 7 most shocking upsets we’ve had thus far, and hope that we don’t get any more because we gotta empathise with all the footie betters out there.
Note: Upsets are not ranked in any particular order.
1. South Korea 2 – 0 Germany
It looked obvious on paper: South Korea, a side with zero points and all but pride to play for, faces off against reigning World Champions Germany, a side with three points and in desperate need of a win to secure advancement to the next stage.
Pretty clear cut right? Or at least that’s what we thought, seeing how reality actually had a different plan in mind.
Cho Hyun-woo’s goalkeeping heroics and South Korea’s persistent defence and opportunity-taking might’ve contributed to the win, but in the end, Germany can only look at themselves and wonder why they didn’t win the match, when they literally dominated the whole match.
2. Argentina 0 – 3 Croatia
Argentina might’ve struggled in the preliminary stages of the World Cup, but they were still expected to go a long way in the tournament. I mean, just look at their players. Messi, Aguero, Higuain, Dybala… the list just goes on. How can a team like this possibly not do well in the tournament?
Alas, the next thing we knew, we got this.
Fresh from a 1-1 draw with Iceland, Argentina needed all three points to secure a comfortable place in the group table, only to do the reverse and leave football fans everywhere wondering the same thing:
Did Messi disappear on his teammates, or did his teammates disappear on him?
3. Germany 0 – 1 Mexico
Hey look, Germany’s in the picture again. Hi.
With its first matchup against Mexico, Germany was expected to breeze through and continue its conquest as reigning champions of the 2014 World Cup. And it certainly has the resources too, seeing how it boasts an arsenal of worldwide stars like Neuer, Muller, Reus, Kroos and more. A simply outstanding line-up.
What happened next, however, was out of anyone’s control.
Rather than breezing through, Germany ended up being breezed through instead. A tough inclination, considering all the expectations riding on their tall shoulders.
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4. Spain 1 – 1 Russia (Russia wins on penalties 4-3)
Let’s be honest here; Spain, the champion of World Cup 2010, was expected to go really far in the competition, and it wasn’t hard to figure out why. Apart from boasting arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now, they also have a solid defence, midfield and forward line that seems all too strong for their own good.
But in a cruel twist of fate, Spain, like its goalkeeper, underperformed in the last 16, and ended up kneeling at the feet of the host country.
Out you go then, Spain.
Let’s just hope that De Gea can recover from this whole World Cup fiasco; because if there’s one thing Man Utd fans don’t want, it’s this shaky, untrustworthy keeper that seems all too short of confidence.
5. Uruguay 2 – 1 Portugal
Now just to clarify; Uruguay is by no means a weak team. Having entered the last 16s of its own volition, Uruguay is a solid team with an exceptional attacking line in the form of a Suarez-Cavani partnership. So in that respect, it really isn’t surprising to see Uruguay stake out a win over its opponent, Portugal.
But let’s face it; Portugal has the man Cristiano Ronaldo, and while his counterpart Messi fell to powerhouse France, Uruguay isn’t exactly France if you get my gist. Granted, Cavani might’ve slaughtered Portugal like Mbappe did Argentina, but if you put things into perspective, Uruguay isn’t exactly the best. Good, definitely, but not champion-tier.
As such, the end results of this tie no doubt pull a few surprise strings, especially those with Ronaldo posters in their rooms.
Ronaldo, so impressive in the group stage, was unable to penetrate the great wall that was Uruguay’s defender Diego Godin, and they ended up bowing out to the men in blue.
6. England 0 – 1 Belgium
Admittedly this one wasn’t much of an upset, seeing how both sides can win and no one will blink an eye. Add in the notion that both teams have effectively secured advancement by this match and they are essentially just playing to determine who tops the table, and you pretty much got the gist of it.
Even so, you don’t normally play a match to lose, no matter the circumstances, But that’s precisely how the match unfolded, a boring mess that made spectators wonder:
Though one’s comment did make you wonder whether Januzaj’s goal was but a slight miscalculation.
7. Germany 2 – 1 Sweden
And last but not least, we’re rounding things up with today’s poster child, Germany. This time, however, it’s not a shock defeat on its part or anything.
Quite the reverse actually.
Facing off against Sweden in its second match, Germany needed all three points if it was going to stand any chance of advancement, but by halftime, it didn’t seem to be heading that way. Trailing by one goal at the break, Germany fans were left astounded as their country, the reigning champions of 2014, was looking at an early exit from the competition.
Sweden fans, on the other hand, were cheering because it seems like they’ve got the game in the bag.
And then the impossible happened; Germany equalised in the 48th minute, and things were looking up.
Until Jerome Boateng’s sending off, that is. All of a sudden Germany was in danger of losing even their one existing point with ten men left on the pitch.
Then injury time came, and Germany continued pressing on doggedly. And they were handsomely rewarded for it, when a Toni Kroos freekick in the dying minutes secured them all three points when just 45 minutes ago, they were looking at zero.
All of a sudden, Germany didn’t seem like the early party-leavers anymore; if there’s anything, they seem to be intent on being the last at the party.
But as we all know, that didn’t quite stretch out the way the Germans wanted, seeing how they suffered their shock defeat at the hands of South Korea the very next match.
Surprises, surprises and more surprises
With it only being the last 16s, the World Cup has already seen its fair share of surprises.
- De Gea’s shockingly terrible form
- Neuer messing up at being the eleventh outfielder
- Germany’s group stage elimination
And many more. Really, it’s one World Cup to be remembered (though we still wouldn’t pay a hundred plus bucks for the package. Fk that). With that in mind, we can only look forward to future face-offs and wonder…
Are there going to even be more in-your-face moments in the last rounds?
Guess we will just have to wait and see.
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