The World Cup has already begun, but the most interesting thing begins only after we are treated to the first defeat in the tournament. It’s safe to say that after the shocking result on Tuesday, when Saudi Arabia defeated Lionel Messi and one of the tournament favorites Argentina, the frenzy has begun. We don’t want to be prisoners of the moment, but we also don’t want to downplay this shocking outcome. The World Cup is nearly 100 years old and we’ve seen quite a few stunning results over the years, so let’s pick our top five disappointments to see how Argentina’s defeat stacks up against the rest.
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1. Senegal 1-0 France, 2002
It was the opening match of the tournament in Japan and South Korea. France just won the 1998 World Cup at home. They had Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane in their prime against a Senegalese team that had never qualified for a World Cup before this match. Papa Bouba Diop, who sadly passed away in 2020, scored the winning goal, took off his shirt and laid it on the ground near the corner flag before his teammates joined him for the dance. It was one of the most iconic moments in the history of this tournament as the Senegalese reached the quarter-finals for the first time.
2. Cameroon 1-0 Argentina, 1990
Who can forget what Roger Milla and the Indomitable Lions did in Italy. Their Cinderella entry into the quarterfinals was a first for any African nation. And so far, no African team has reached the semi-finals. François Omam-Biyik scored the winning goal to defeat the reigning 1986 champions.
Italy 90 began with one of the biggest upheavals in World Cup history. Cameroon beat world champions Argentina 1-0.
A goal and two red cards are served with some senseless cruelty. Barry Davis on 🎙Wonderful things pic.twitter.com/lqAvBzHIaw
— Football of the 80s and 90s ⚽ 🏴̠̠̠̠̠̠۠֠ 🇺🇦 (@80s90sfootball) June 8, 2022
3. North Korea 1-0 Italy, 1966
The Italians already had two world titles, and the North Koreans made their debut. Pak Doo-ik scored the only goal of the match to deal with the upset. In the same tournament, the North Koreans narrowly missed another stunning result, taking a 3-0 lead over Eusebio’s Portugal in the round of 16 before noticeably squandering their lead by conceding five goals and being knocked out of the Liverpool tournament.
4. Saudi Arabia 2-1 Argentina, 2022
What can we say about the Saudis. A master class in back row defense with countless offsides and goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais who did everything in his power to keep his team in position to make an incredible defeat. In Argentina, their 36-match unbeaten streak that began in 2019 has come to an end. Will this be a sign that everything will be ahead in Messi’s last push, or will Albiceleste bounce back and end the group with six points?
5. Switzerland 1-0 Spain, 2010
Usually a European team’s victory over another European team is not enough to get into the list, but this is just a testament to how great the Spanish team was before, during and after this tournament. During the break in the 52nd minute, Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok got ahead of Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas, while Gelson Fernandes, a defensive midfielder from Cape Verde, pulled out to score the only goal of the match. Spain are the only team to have lost their first World Cup and won the title, while the Swiss failed to qualify from their group.