Despite the 2022 FIFA World Cup officially kicking off on Sunday, November 20, it took two days to officially spark to life with a shocking result.
Where does Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina rank among World Cup upsets?
Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1 in a World Cup shocker but what are the other big upsets in the history of the Mundial?
Saudi Arabia stunned one of the pre-tournament favourites, Argentina in the opening game of Group C with a 2-1 result no one saw coming.
Argentina were on a 36-game unbeaten run and took an early lead through Lionel Messi’s penalty which made it even more unlikely that Saudi Arabia would win but they went on to do just that with two second-half goals.
The result is one of the biggest upsets in FIFA World Cup history which inspired us to go down memory lane to look at some similarly shocking results in the tournament’s history.
Here are five of the biggest FIFA World Cup upsets in no particular order.
Cameroon 1-0 Argentina (Italy 1990)
Argentina arrived at Italia '90 as the defending champions led by the iconic Diego Maradona so they were expected to run over Cameroon in their opening game.
The Argentines were in for a shock as was the rest of the world when the Cameroon team made up mostly of journeymen in lower French divisions won 1-0.
Francois Omam-Biyik scored the only goal of the game in the 67-minute to secure the most improbable result of the 1990 World Cup.
West Germany 1-2 Algeria (Spain 1982)
West Germany were the overwhelming favourites to whitewash African debutants, Algeria and the Europeans clearly expected an easy game from their pre-game comments.
“If we don't beat Algeria, we’ll take the next train home,” said coach Jupp Derwall, one of the players was credited with the statement, “We will dedicate our seventh goal to our wives, and the eighth to our dogs.”
Algeria stunned their opponents to secure a 2-1 win out of the blue with goals from Rabah Madjer and Lakhdar Belloumi.
Senegal 1-0 France (Korea-Japan 2002)
Star-studded defending champions France losing their opening game in Korea-Japan 2002 to World Cup debutants, Senegal would have broken the internet had it happened today.
Boupa Diop’s 30th-minute goal proved sufficient to secure an unexpected win for Senegal and was the catalyst for a terrible tournament for the defending champions.
France went on to finish bottom of the group without scoring a single goal and two defeats in what was a horrible title defence.
Bulgaria 2-1 Germany (U.S.A 1994)
USA 1994 was Germany’s first appearance as a unified nation following the fall of the Berlin Wall and they were also the defending champions.
The squad was packed with experienced talent including Lothar Matthaus, Jurgen Klinsmann and Matias Sammer but they were stunned in the quarterfinal by unfancied Bulgaria.
A masterclass performance by Hristo Stoichkov help Bulgaria come from behind to beat Germany with two late goals, the matchwinner scored by Yordan Letchkov.
South Korea 2-1 Italy (Korea-Japan 2002)
Led by Guus Hiddink and roared on by boisterous home support, South Korea put on a performance worthy of hosts in 2002.
The round of 16 tie against Italy was expected to be the end of the road for South Korea who had already defied expectations by finishing top of their group.
The host nation fell 1-0 behind to the favourites but Seol Ki-hyeon's equaliser forced extra time and Ahn Jung-hwan won the game with a golden goal.