The thing that makes football great is its’ unpredictability. If the strongest football team won every game, there would be no reason to watch. For football fans, there is nothing better than a shock result – that moment when you stare in disbelief at the television screen, or better still, towards the pitch from your seat in the stadium, stunned by what just happened. These are the moments football fans live for. Here are five of the most shocking results in football history.
5. MK Dons 4-0 Manchester United – English League Cup 2nd Round, August 25th 2014
The stunning decline of Manchester United from Premier League winners in 2012/13 to a miserable seventh place finish in 2013/14 was a cause of great agony for Manchester United fans and a source of great delight for their rivals. But once the floundering David Moyes had been fired and Louis Van Gaal had been installed as manager, most United fans believed their club would soon return to the dominant position they’d enjoyed during the 25-year reign of Alex Ferguson.
A shock loss at home to Swansea and disappointing draw against Sunderland to start their Premier League campaign did nothing to prepare United fans for this shocking 4-0 capitulation to MK Dons, a club that had only been in existence for 10 years and were playing their football in League Two, the third-tier of English football.
4. North Korea 1-0 Italy – World Cup Group Stage, 19th July 1966
In 1966, Italy were already two-time World Cup winners and North Korea had never even entered the competition. Most people would probably expect the Italians to welcome the North Koreans to the world stage with a heavy defeat, but the North Koreans battled hard and came away with a shocking 1-0 victory thanks to a Doo-Ik Pak goal in the 41st minute.
If this were a dead rubber group match, the result would be a little more understandable, but Italy went into this game needing just one point to qualify for the next round. The huge difference between the two teams levels of both experience and ability mean that this match remains one of the most surprising victories in the World Cup’s history.
3. Denmark 2-0 Germany – European Championship Final, 26th June 1992
Before Euro ’92 began, Denmark weren’t just outsiders to become champions, they weren’t even in the tournament! Having originally failed to qualify, the only reason the Danes were even competing in the tournament was the break up of Yugoslavia and subsequent E.U. sanctions against Serbia & Montenegro that barred them from taking up the vacant spot. Far from just being there to make up the numbers, the Danes stunned Europe with a shocking string of victories over the likes of France, England and Holland, before finally downing reigning world champions Germany in the final.
2. Uruguay 2-1 Brazil – World Cup Final Group Stage, 16th July 1950
The 1950 World Cup was the only that didn’t follow the format of a group stage followed by a knockout round. Instead, the winners of the first group stage advanced to a final round group stage. This final round initially seemed the perfect showcase for the host country, Brazil, as close to 140,000 fans packed into Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium to watch the Brazilian national team thrash Sweden 7-1, and over 150,000 crammed in to see them demolish Spain 6-1.
The group format then meant Brazil only needed to secure a draw against Uruguay in the last game to lift the World Cup in front of a crowd of over 170,000. Brazil went 1-0 up early in the second half, only for Uruguay to slip two goals past them and claim a 2-1 victory. The more than 170,000 fans at the Maracana watched in stunned silence as Uruguay were crowned world champions. This was the most shocking and humiliating defeat Brazil ever suffered on home soil at the time. They’ve since managed to top it!
1. Brazil 1-7 Germany – World Cup Semi-Final, 9th July 2014
It’s a sign of the times that Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of Brazil instantly became the most Tweeted about sports event ever, with 35.6 million tweets being sent out related to it – or just over 5 million Tweets for every goal Germany stuck past the hapless World Cup hosts.
This shocking result broke plenty of other records as well, including the most goals Brazil had ever conceded and the biggest ever World Cup semi-final defeat. Many fans and pundits predicted Germany would defeat a Brazilian team who’d been fairly unimpressive on the road to the semi-final, but nobody predicted the shocking scoreline that, after a frenzy of four goals in 10 minutes, would cause the stunned Brazilian fans to start cheering for their German conquerors.
These are five of the most shocking results in football history. One of the biggest reasons that football is the most popular spectator sport in most countries is that you never know when something even more surprising will happen.