Saudi Arabia’s 2-1 victory over Argentina in the FIFA World Cup on Tuesday was something of a miracle.
Lionel Messi’s squad suffered a lesson in humilityin Lusail, Qatar. According to the specialized Transfermarkt website, the value of the Argentine workforce is close to $900 million. Saudi team? A small part of that amount, estimated to total $35 million.
This is not the first time that such an uproar has occurred at international football’s most important meeting. Here are five such surprising finds from the past 20 years.
France 0-1 Senegal (2002)
The dedication soon gave way to consternation in the French camp. After the first victory in its history in the 1998 World Cup, France had great aspirations for the tournament, which was held in South Korea and Japan four years later. Since their first duel, Roger Lemerre’s men have suffered defeat against the surprising Senegalese, who were making their debut on the world stage. Papa Bouba Diop was the only one to thread the needle and France finished last in their group.
Italy 1-2 South Korea (2002)
During this same edition, which was held in Asia, South Korea experienced the most beautiful moments in its history in football. Victories over Poland and Portugal saw them through to the Round of 16, setting the stage for a seemingly uneven duel against the Italians. The South Koreans equalized in the 88th minute thanks to Sol Ki-hyun, and then Ahn Jong-hwan sowed hysteria in Daejeon by touching the goal in the 117th minute, eliminating the “Azuris”.
USA 1 – England 1 (2010)
The front page of the daily “New York Post” of June 13, 2010 reveals: “USA wins 1-to-1”. Less than 60 years after surprising England in the 1950 World Cup, the Americans have done it again for their Anglo-Saxon rivals. Clint Dempsey’s 39th-minute success allowed Uncle Sam to extract a decisive equalizer from the English in South Africa. Both countries later eliminated themselves in the group stage, but were eliminated from the competition in the round of 16.
Italy 0-1 Costa Rica (2014)
Since their coronation in 2006, the Italians have not reached the knockout stage of a World Cup. In Brazil 2014, the losers were Uruguay and Costa Rica. Led by Keylor Navas in superb form between his post, the small Central American country dealt a blow to the Italians on June 20, 2014. Attacking midfielder Bryan Ruiz deceived Gianluigi Buffon’s alertness in the 44th minute and packed La Nazionale four days later.
Germany 0 – South Korea 2 (2018)
Germany had no reason not to seek to defend their crown, which they earned in Brazil, during this edition in Russia. However, that dream soon turned into a nightmare when they lost in the match against Mexico and came close to defeat against Sweden. However, it was the surprising South Korea that drove the final nail into the coffin of the “Manshaft”, which had never suffered exclusion from the group stage in its history. A goal from Kim Young-gwon in the 93rd minute and Hong Min-soon in the 96th minute sealed the fate of the Germans.
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