The World Cup is the most popular football tournament in the world. Every four years, FIFA allows different nations of the world to host the event, offering massive revenue generation, economic growth and enormous recognition to the host nation. This is the period when football clubs allow players to represent their home country. Altogether, there’s a chance to set new records, break current ones and, of course, have the ultimate opportunity to take home the most prestigious tournament cup in the world.
1. Italia ’90 World Cup (Cameroon upsets Argentina)
African teams are often the underdogs in international football tournaments. While their teams have exceptional talent, synergy is always the problem. To make matters worse for a mediocre Cameroon team, they were playing against the Argentines, who were not just the better side but a two-time world champion.
However, one of the greatest upsets in football history followed. The Cameroonians sent the Argentines out of the tournament, going down as one of the greatest World Cup upsets. The Argentine defeat was a shocker for the world and a surprising day for sports betting football fans as well as shifting football statistics.
2. France ’98 (Zidane leads France to victory)
Long before Zidane, ex-Real Madrid striker and current Real Madrid coach, head-butted an Italian defender, Marco Materazzi, the legendary striker gloriously led his country’s football team to victory at the 1998 World Cup tournament. France faced-off with Brazil at the finals, where Zidane incapacitated the five-time champions with an early two-goal lead in the first half.
The Brazilians never got their rhythm back as they could not execute a successful equalizer. France finally put a nail to the coffin with an extra goal to secure themselves as world champions and a seat with Argentina, German, England, and Italy who hosted and won the FIFA World Cup in 1978, 1974, 1966 and 1934 respectively.
3. South Africa 2010 (Donovan last-minute goal secured the US for the next round)
Because the USA could only secure one point from each of the first two previous group matches, they desperately needed a win against Algeria to finish with five points and qualify for the knockout stage.
Just before the end of the game, Landon Donovan pulled off an unexpected goal to secure a place for the United States in the group stages. It was the only goal of the match but what made it great was its near-death timing.
4. Brazil 2014 World Cup (Van Persia’s brought hope to the Dutch side)
If you have heard of the phrase “the Flying Dutchman,” then you may have probably seen the iconic Robin Van Persie goal that gave the Dutch side the needed equalizer just before the end of the first half.
The spectacular goal brought hope back to the Dutch side, and they eventually finished the match with a 5-1 scoreline against Spain, the reigning champion. Robin’s excellent finish still remains one of the greatest in world football.
5. Brazil 2014 World Cup (Germany humiliates Brazil)
Brazil had already won the title five times, while Germany won only three times before 2014. Brazil were technically the favorite to win the game, and the tournament altogether. It wasn’t just because they were better by statistics, but they were also the host nation.
Still, Germany was no pushover. Perhaps, the Brazilians underestimated their opponent because a 7-1 finish was a great humiliation. Reports have it that one lucky sports betting fan predicted that Germany would destroy Brazil 7-1. At the odds of 500-1, his lucky guess won him thousands of dollars.