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Three great FIFA World Cup upsets you probably didn’t know about

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup produced some big upsets in the opening week, with Saudi Arabia beating pre-tournament favorites Argentina 2-1 and Japan then following up the act to beat Germany by the same margin.

While these will be considered some of the greatest upsets in the history of the tournament, they only served to identify one key element: that the World Cup has long been a host to such results. In this article, we’ve listed three famous upsets that happened before the ones we’ve seen in the 2022 edition.


North Korea 1-0 Italy (1966)

There was a time when North Korea participated in the World Cup, and even set the world alight with its soccer performances. The Italians, who are four-time FIFA World Cup champions, tied with Germany and one behind Brazil’s five, are one of the most storied nations in the game’s history. However, they’ve failed to qualify for the 2022 edition of the World Cup, which is an upset in its own sense. This has left the outright winners market very open, and you can still get into the game by claiming the Caesars promo Ohio to dabble in the tournament winner market where Brazil are among the favorites to lift the cup with odds of +250. Caesars is one of the best rated sportsbooks on BonusFinder and their promo could come in very handy this World Cup season.

The Italians had already won two World Cups before 1966, and had their tactical innovation known as ‘Catenaccio’ – a defensive style that emphasizes the defense and some of the dark arts that the game lets individuals get away with – was formed in the ‘60s, but that didn’t stop Pak Doo-Ik from finding the back of the net and claiming a historic win for his nation.

Senegal 1-0 France (2002)

Considered one of the greatest games in soccer history, France was heading into this tie as World and European champions. They had some of the greatest players of the generation representing them in Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry.

On the other side was Senegal, who’d never played in the World Cup before, and were full of players who played their football in the French league. Papa Bouba Diop scored the winner, and in some sense, the Sadio Manes of this world might not have been global stars if it wasn’t for this Senegal team that captured hearts by making it all the way to the quarterfinals in that tournament. That team’s legacy lives on with Aliou Cissé, who is the current manager of the Senegal national team, and led the nation to their first African Cup of Nations win in 2022.

Roger Milla Celebrates Goal” (CC BY 2.0) by Paolo Camera

Cameroon 1-0 Argentina (1990)

This was Diego Armando Maradona’s Argentina, and they were coming off of their second World Cup triumph in 1986. Maradona, arguably the greatest player with a ball at his feet, was also playing his football in Italy at the time, which hosted this tournament.

Argentina would go on to make it to the finals before losing out to the Germans, but not before losing to a Cameroon side earlier in the competition.

Francois Omam-Biyik scored the only goal of the game to give the African side a historic win. Cameroon would go on to become the first African side to make it to a World Cup quarterfinal. Cameroon’s Roger Milla also became one of the most recognizable athletes in the world for his celebrations throughout the tournament.