The 11 greatest World Cup shocks

Germany’s 7-1 defeat of Brazil was the shock to end all shocks. Nevertheless, other teams have also suffered humiliation at the World Cup finals.

A Brazil soccer fan screams as Germany defeats her team 7-1 in the semi-final World Cup match. Picture: AP

Here, we take a look at a selection of those humilating defeats for teams on the World Cup stage:

USA 1 England 0, Brazil 1950

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The most humiliating defeat in England’s history. The tournament favourites dominated to start with but in the 37th minute the US stunned them by taking the lead through Larry Gaetjens. Walter Winterbottom’s side could not hit back and suffered a hugely embarrassing defeat.

North Korea 1 Italy 0, England 1966

Until Tuesday night, perhaps the most surprising World Cup scoreline ever. Italy were expected to thump the Asian minnows but, against all the odds, the Koreans’ defence held firm against the might of the Europeans. The now legendary Pak Doo Ik was on hand to score a scarcely believable winner.

Scotland 3 Holland 2, Argentina 1978

Holland’s celebrated ‘total football’ side were in their prime, brimming with confidence and fully expected to dish out a real lesson to the Scots. However, Archie Gemmill had other ideas and fired a superb brace, and with Kenny Dalglish also popping up to score, the Dutch were defeated.

Cameroon 1 Argentina 0, Italy 1990

Cameroon, reduced to nine men after a double sending-off, produced another strong candidate for the biggest-ever World Cup shock against the reigning champions. Until Tuesday night, of course. In only Cameroon’s second appearance in the finals, they stunned the South Americans and stole the hearts of supporters when Francois Omam Biyik headed home the winner.

Costa Rica 1 Scotland 0, Italy 1990

Another of the catalogue of embarrassing results in Scotland’s history. Juan Cayasso condemned the Scots to one of their darkest days with the only goal. Scotland turned in a dreadful performance and set the wheels in motion for another first-round exit.

Republic of Ireland 1 Italy 0, USA 1994

Even Ireland’s travelling army could surely not have believed their side would defeat the mighty Italy. But Jack Charlton’s men did exactly that, thanks to Ray Houghton’s brilliant 25-yard strike. The Irish defence kept the Italian strike force at bay as Charlton’s men sent their supporters into ecstasy.

France 0 Senegal 1, Japan and South Korea 2002

The World and European champions were left stunned in their opening game of the tournament through a goal from El Hadji Diouf. France went close and hit the woodwork twice, but the African nation held on for victory.

USA 3 Portugal 2, Japan and South Korea 2002

America surged into an incredible 3-0 lead after only half an hour thanks to goals from John O’Brien, an own goal from Jorge Costa, and Brian McBride. Beto scored just before the interval to give the fancied Europeans hope and Jeff Agoos’ second-half own goal set American nerves jangling - but they hung on for a famous victory.

Italy 1 South Korea 2, Japan and South Korea 2002

Ahn Jung-hwan, who missed a first-half penalty, was the Korean hero with the dramatic winner three minutes from the end of extra-time in this second-round match. In an extraordinary encounter, Seol Ki-hyeon scored in the 88th minute to cancel out Christian Vieri’s opener. Italy striker Francesco Totti was also dismissed in extra-time.

Spain 0 Switzerland 1, South Africa 2010

Switzerland stunned European champions Spain with a narrow win in the teams’ Group H opener in Durban. Gelson Fernandes got the only goal in the 52nd minute, before Spain’s Xabi Alonso was denied by the crossbar in the 71st minute. Spain wasted a hatful of other chances - and the Swiss held on.

Spain 1 Holland 5, Brazil 2014

Spain had recovered from that Switzerland defeat to win the tournament four years ago, and after Alonso’s first-half penalty it seemed business as usual at the start of their title defence. But Robin van Persie’s flying header sparked a barnstorming Dutch fightback in which he and Arjen Robben scored twice apiece, with defender Stefan de Vrij also on target.