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FIFA World Cup History: Biggest Upsets

Teams that Defied the Longest Odds on Soccer's Grandest Stage

Will Surprise Team Emerge in Qatar?

The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18. As expected, teams like Brazil, England, France and Argentina are among the betting online favorites to win gold.

But, what about those teams that could pull off a stunner? For example, there’s Croatia, the 2018 runners-up, who are offering a +5000 price to win the 2022 edition. There’s also Wales, a team that hasn’t played in a World Cup since 1958, but it’s offering a +600 price to win Group B.

FIFA World Cup History: Biggest Upsets
YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP

Perhaps those and other teams can be inspired by the biggest upsets in WC history. Buckle up because we’re going on a trip down memory lane.

Let’s check out the latest World Cup odds & lines. We’ve got plenty of strategies for you to consider before selecting your picks from our odds to win the World Cup list.

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Uruguay (1950)

Brazil has won the World Cup title five times. The Selecao would have six if it hadn’t been for South American rival Uruguay. In 1950, there were no knockout stages. The top four teams from the Group Stages used to collide in the Grand Finale, in which each team had to face the other three once.

The Selecao crushed Sweden 7-1 and Spain 6-1. Therefore, all host country Brazil needed against Uruguay was a draw. Brazil went ahead on a goal from Albino Friaca, but Los Charruas turned things around in a 14-minute span and ended up winning 2-1. Juan Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia were the scorers.

Cameroon (1990)

Prior to the 1990 edition in Italy, Cameroon had only played in one World Cup (Spain 1982). Therefore, nobody was expecting anything from the Lions. Nevertheless, they opened the tourney with a 1-0 victory over Argentina, the defending champions who were led by Diego Maradona. After that, they became known as the Indomitable Lions.

Cameroon also defeated Romania to advance to the Round of 16, in which they beat Colombia. Cameroon became the first African team to reach the quarterfinals. They put up a good fight against England before losing 3-2.

Bulgaria (1994)

Led by Hristo Stoichkov, Bulgaria forgot about the soccer odds and defeated Greece, Argentina, Mexico and Germany on American soil. They advanced all the way into the semifinals, but they couldn’t stop Roberto Baggio. Italy ended their run with a 2-1 victory. Prior to that, Bulgaria’s best result in a WC was fifteenth place.

Individually, Stoichkov ended up sharing the Golden Boot with Oleg Salenko from Russia. Both scored six goals.

Croatia (1998)

France 1998 was Croatia’s first World Cup appearance. In the Group Stage, they defeated Japan 3-1 and Jamaica 1-0. They couldn’t defeat Argentina but put up a good fight in a 1-0 loss. That was enough for them to advance.

In the Round of 16, they defeated Romania 1-0. Then, despite being huge online gambling underdogs, they crushed Germany 3-0 in the quarterfinals. They were eliminated by eventual champion France 2-1 in the semis.

Davor Suker ended up as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.

Costa Rica (2014)

After the 2014 WC draw was held, no one included Costa Rica in their soccer picks. Los Ticos ended up in the Group of Death alongside England, Italy and Uruguay. Well, Los Ticos weren’t intimidated and defeated Uruguay 3-1 and Italy 1-0 before a 0-0 draw with England.

In the Round of 16 in Brazil, they defeated Greece in an epic penalty shootout. That was when Keylor Navas became a superstar. Later, in the Round of 8, they managed to draw 0-0 to the Netherlands but lost 4-3 in the penalty shootout.

Costa Rica became only the second team from CONCACAF to have played in the quarterfinals. The other one was the United States.

That’s right, Mexico hasn’t been able to get past the Round of 16. Maybe this is the year they end up being the Cinderella team.

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