England’s game at Belo Horizonte this evening brings back memories of one of their worst ever World Cup moments… Got, Not Got takes a look at that game and nine other shock results.
1 – England v United States 1950.
After remaining aloof from the first three World Cups, England finally joined FIFA and deigned to join the party after the Second World War. Very soon they would be wondering about the wisdom of that decision, playing Goliath to the United States’ David.
The 1950 World Cup, held in Brazil, started according to the script for England with a 2-0 win over Chile in the Maracana. But on June 29th in the Estadio Independencia, Belo Horizonte England suffered utter humiliation at the hands of a group of amateurs loosely affiliated to the USA.
A strong England side that included Wilf Mannion, Tom Finney, Alf Ramsey, Stan Mortenson and Jimmy Dickinson (Stanley Matthews was rested) lost to a 38th minute goal scored by Haitian Joe Gaetjens, who waited on tables for a living.
England hit the woodwork four times, one effort was ‘cleared’ from a yard behind the goal line; England keeper Bert Williams did not touch the ball in the second half; and Mortenson was rugby tackled by Charley Columbo when clear on goal… but an equaliser never came.
Back home some newspapers assumed the scoreline to be a typing error and credited England with a 10-1 victory.
2 – Argentina v Cameroon 1990 –
Italia 90’s curtain raiser at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan paired defending champions Argentina with Cameroon and nobody gave the Africans a hope in hell; but the ‘Indomitable Lions’ were no wide eyed innocents, returning home from Espana ‘82 unbeaten, drawing with Italy, Poland and Peru.
They beat eventual finalists Argentina with a subtle blend of skill and extreme violence. After soaking up pressure from the Argentinians for the first hour of the game Cameroon had Andre Kana dismissed.
Incredibly, the ten men then took the lead when Omam Biyik rose athletically to plant a downward header that squirmed under keeper Nery Pumpido and over the line.
Cameroon were further reduced to nine men when Benjamin Massing was sent off for an almost poetically savage foul on Claudio Caniggia. Cannigia picked up a loose ball in his own half and sprinted up the park, twice he had his heels clipped, and ran his last twenty yards with his body way ahead of his legs desperately trying to regain his balance, before Massing moved in with a coup de grace that left the blond striker pole axed and lying still on the turf.
Nine man Cameroon held out for the remaining few minutes before the final whistle heralded wild scenes of celebration.
3 – Scotland v Peru 1978 –
Scotland began their Argentinian Adventure in Cordoba, riding on a huge wave of Ally McLeod-inspired overconfidence. They got off to a decent start when Peru keeper Ramon Quiroga spilled a shot from Bruce Rioch, allowing Joe Jordan to open the scoring in the 14th minute; but three minutes before the break Peru unzipped Scotland’s defence and Cesar Cueto fired an equaliser past Alan Rough.
On the hour the Scots wasted a chance to equalise after Rioch and been scythed down in the area by Hector Chumpitaz. Don Masson’s poor spot kick was easily blocked by Quiroga and Scotland’s spirits seemed to slump.
Teofilo Cubillas gave Peru a 72nd minute lead with a superb free-kick struck with the outside of his foot. Five minutes later Cubillas found the top left hand corner of Rough’s goal again, this time with a shot on the run from 25 yards.
This wasn’t one of the World Cup’s biggest upsets, Peru were a decent side and Scotland had never progressed past the first round, but Ally McLeod had created an illusion that Scotland were invincible and in one evening their high hopes had been brought to earth with a bump.
4 – Spain v Northern Ireland 1982.
Billy Bingham played at outside-right for Northern Ireland in all five of their games in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden; the next time they qualified, in 1982, Bingham was the manager. Ireland drew 0-0 with Yugoslavia and 1-1 with Honduras, before facing Spain in the final group game.
After a bruising first half encounter the Irish stunned the 50,000 crowd in the Estadio Luis Casanova, Valencia when they took the lead against their hosts two minutes after the break.
Gerry Armstrong went on a 70 yard surging run and fed to ball to Billy Hamilton down the right. His cross was intercepted by Arconada, but the Spanish keeper succeeded only in teeing up Gerry Armstrong with a chance which he smashed home from ten yards.
Northern Ireland had 43 minutes to hang on, which looked even less likely when Mal Donaghy was sent off with half an hour remaining. But a combination of luck, gritty determination; and veteran keeper Pat Jennings in great form, saw Northern Ireland, hold out for a famous victory, topping Group 5.
Billy Bingham beamed from ear to ear as he hugged his captain Martin O’Neill – having emulated his own achievement as a player in making it into Round Two…
5 – Costa Rica v Scotland 1990.
Drawn in a Group C alongside Brazil and Sweden, Scotland’s best hope of a win appeared to be in their opening game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, against World Cup debutants Costa Rica.
But well travelled coach Bora Milutonivic had the Costa Ricans moulded into a tight unit capable of a decent passing game. After Scotland had pushed forward throughout the first half to no avail, the underdogs took the lead four minutes into the second half. A sweeping move upfield saw seven passes pinged around, then a smart back heel executed by Geovanny Jara allowed Juan Cayasso the time and space to slot the ball past Jim Leighton.
Scotland had 40 minutes to retrieve the situation but they found goalkeeper Luis Conejo in fine form. His finest moment saw him block a Mo Johnston effort from point blank range. Scotland could not find a way through and the final whistle saw their hopes of progressing into the knockout stages in tatters.
Although the Scots beat Sweden 2-1, so did Costa Rica, and they proudly took second place in Group C, behind Brazil.
6 – North Korea v Italy 1966.
North Korea qualified for their first World Cup in 1966 but were unsure what sort of reception they would get from the people of Middlesbrough, just thirteen years after the end of the Korean War. They needn’t have worried, Teeside’s football fans welcomed them with open arms and cheered them to the rafters in their three games at Ayresome Park.
After a 3-0 defeat against the USSR and a 1-1 draw with Chile it looked as though the Koreans would be bowing out after their last Group 4 game against Italy.
But a Doo Ik Pak strike in the 42nd minute was the only goal of the game and a stunned Italy returned home to the traditional rotten tomatoes reception.
The Koreans almost pulled off an even bigger shock in their quarter-final at Goodison Park, going 3-0 up against Portugal within 25 minutes. But Eusebio then scored four times, Portugal won 5-3, and normal service was resumed.
7 – South Korea’s win over Italy in 2002.
Having lost to North Korea in 1966 Italy completed the set in 2002, suffering defeat at the hands of co-hosts South Korea in a second round tie in Daejeon.
You would be hard pressed to find an Italian who accepts the scoreline at face value, however, with conspiracy theories claiming that South Korea were being ‘helped’ towards the final.
In the 4th Christian Panucci hauled Seol Ki-Hyeon to the ground in the area, but Ahn Jung-Hwan’s spot kick was brilliantly saved by Gianluigi Buffon.
The Azzurri then went ahead in the 18th minute when Christian Vieri nodded home from a corner.
Italy decided to sit on their lead and clammed up, a tactic that almost worked until the 88th minute when a defensive error from Panucci allowed Seol Ki-Hyeon in for an equaliser.
Extra-time saw Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno mired in controversy. He showed Francesco a yellow card for diving in the penalty area when he had clearly had his trailing leg kicked and had a poke in the eye for good measure. It was his second caution so Mr Moreno solemnly raised the red card.
Ten man Italy then scored what proved to be a legitimate goal but Damiano Tomassi was incorrectly flagged offside.
With three minutes of extra-time remaining Ahn Jung-Hwan made amends for his penalty miss, heading home the Golden Goal winner and heightening Italy’s seething sense of injustice. They had already had four ‘goals’ disallowed in the tournament, and were convinced that they had been nobbled.
The quarter-final match between Spain and South Korea did nothing to allay the Italians suspicions, with Ruben Baraja and Fernando Morientes both having seemingly good goals ruled out before the Korean’s progressed to the semi-finals.
8 – Senegal beat holders France in 2002.
Senegal, playing in their first World Cup, sensationally beat their former colonial masters, World Cup holders and European Champions France in the opening game of the 2002 tournament.
Les Bleus, who were missing an injured Zinedine Zidane, looked a shadow of the side that had beaten Brazil in the final four years earlier.
After half an hour El Hadji Diouf charged down the left before squaring the ball for Pape Bouba Diop who took advantage of ponderous defending to net from close in.
He ran to the corner flag, took off his shirt, laid it carefully on the turf and, joined by his team mates, did a funny little dance round it.
Although Thierry Henry struck the crossbar with shot from the edge of the area the scoreline remained 1-0 and Senegal ended the game as worthy winners.
They progressed into the second round where they beat Sweden 2-1, before losing 1-0 to Turkey in the quarter finals.
France drew 0-0 with Uruguay, lost 2-0 to Denmark and went home with out scoring a goal. They were the first reigning World Cup champions since Brazil in 1966 to be eliminated at the group stage.
9 – Algeria 2-1 West Germany 1982.
When European Champions West Germany faced Algeria, in their first World Cup, in Gijon no one gave the Desert Foxes a chance, certainly not German coach Jupp Derwall who promised: “If we don’t beat Algeria I’ll take the next train home!”
But Algeria, playing an exciting brand of attacking football, took the lead early in the second half when Rabah Madjer seized on a loose ball from a Harald Schumacher save.
That improbable lead lasted just 13 minutes before Karl-Heinz Rummenigge restored parity sliding into the six yard box to meet a low cross from the left.
But the north Africans’ spirits were not dampened and straight from the kick off they poured forward, Lakhdar Belloumi producing a carbon copy of Rummenigge’s goal to regain the lead.
This time, despite several close calls, there was no way back for Germany and the final whistle sparked wild celebrations from players and supporters.
Sadly Algeria did not reap the reward for their great achievement, West Germany and Austria conspiring to claim first and second slots in Group 2 for themselves… and Jupp Derwall never did catch that train.
10 – Italy 0:1 Ireland 1994.
Italy met the Republic of Ireland in the Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey in the opening game of Group E.
The Irish and Italians from New York arrived en masse and there were 75,000 fans who witnessed Ireland’s giant killing act.
The kick off was delayed when both teams lined up in the tunnel wearing white shirts, but after the Irish had changed into their traditional green they didn’t have to wait long for something to celebrate. From 25 yards Ray Houghton floated a majestic shot over Italian keeper Gianluca Pagliuca and under the crossbar, sending the Irish contingent wild with delight.
A five man midfield and an inspired performance by centre-half Paul McGrath kept the Italians at bay for the remaining 79 minutes of the game, before the supporters set off to paint New jersey and New York green.
Ireland lost to Mexico and drew with Norway and for first and to date only time a World Cup group ended with all four teams level on 4 points.
Ireland and Italy could not be separated by goal difference or goals scored so Ireland progressed because they had beaten Italy when the teams played each other.
Italy also sneaked through as one of the best third placed teams and made it all the way to the final, while Ireland lost 2-0 to Holland in the second round.
Much, much more old stuff in ‘The Lost World of Football’ – rediscover it… available now in branches of WH Smiths and Waterstones or can be ordered online here…