Top 10 Shocks of the FIFA World Cup 2014 So Far

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Over the years the football World Cup has thrown up plenty of results that are discussed to this day among football fans. For instance, the opening day 1-0 defeat of defending champions France by minnows Senegal in the 2002 World Cup remains one of the biggest shocks as does the remarkable run of an unheralded Portugal side fuelled by the otherworldly talents of Eusebio. In the same vein, the World Cup in 2014 has also thrown up plenty of such results and this article presents to you 10 of the biggest shocks of the tournament so far.

10. Brazil 0-0 Draw with Mexico

The hosts Brazil are the overwhelming favourites for the title in the 2014 World Cup and in the group stages they were expected to blow away their opponents with goals galore, however that was not to be in the group stage game against Mexico. In a game in which Mexico defended resolutely, the Brazilian launched themselves into the opponents’ half time and again only to be thwarted by the defenders. On the other hand, whenever they managed to breach the defence they were met by the Mexican goalkeeper who pulled off one incredible save after another to keep the score to 0-0.

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9. Italy’s Shock Elimination

4 time World Champions Italy were expected to go deep into the business end of the tournament with a team that included the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli, however in one of the biggest shocks of the World Cup so far, the Azzurri bowed out of the tournament under conscientious circumstances. They started the tournament well with a 2-1 victory against England but then lost 1-0 to Costa Rica, however they still had their fortune in their own hands as they only needed to avid defeat against Uruguay in the last game. Everything was going smoothly for them in that game as they held on 0-0 till late even after the defender Marchisio has been shown the red card but in the 81st minute Uruguayan defender Diego Godin headed a corner into the Italian goal. There was no way back for Italy after that.

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8. England Failing to Win a Single Game

The English football team come into every World Cup with a lot of expectations riding on them and to be honest, the team that they sent out this year looked promising since the manager Roy Hodgson decided selected a team that apparently had the right blend of experience and youth. However, they lost the first game to Italy 2-1 and then lost 2-0 to a Luis Suarez inspired Uruguay in the next game, to all but confirm their ouster from the tournament. However, in the last game against Costa Rica they played out a timid 0—0 draw to bow out of the tournament in disgrace.

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7. Greece Going Through to the Next Round

The only claim to fame of the Greece national team is their triumphant campaign in the 2004 European Championships and since then they have done little of note at international tournaments. As a matter of fact, after they lost 3-0 to Columbia in the first game and then 0-0 with Japan, it was almost a given that they would be eliminated from the tournament. They had to win against the Ivory Coast in the last and with game tied at 1-1 it all looked glum for Greece, however the referee awarded the Greeks a penalty in the dying minutes of the game. The penalty was a controversial one, however Samaras scored the spot and Greece qualified for the next round under dramatic circumstances.

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6. Australia Going into the Lead versus the Netherlands

After the Netherlands had decimated the defending champions Spain 5-1 in their opening game, it was a foregone conclusion that World Cup minnows Australia would be in for a humiliating experience. Everything seemed to be going according to the script when Robben scored the first goal for the Dutch in the 20th minute but the Aussies rose to the challenge and equalised in the next minute through Tim Cahill. However, there was stunned silence all over the ground when Mile Jedinak put Australia into the lead in the 54th minute. There was a genuine belief that the Australians had a chance to win the game but Robin van Persie restored parity quickly and Memphis Depay scored the winner to avoid a huge upset.

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5. Algeria’s Qualification into the Round of 16

The unheralded Algerians were not expected to qualify for the second round but they showed enough grit and determination in their very first game against the much fancies Belgian side, which beat them 2-1 after scoring 2 late goals. However, they came into their own in the next game as they whipped Japan 4-2. They needed to get a draw against Russia in order to get through to the next round and it all looked lost when Russia took the lead in the 6th minute. However, the Algerians hung on and eventually their perseverance paid off as they equalised in the 60th minute. This was a shock that would be remembered for a long time, particularly because of the fact that this is the first time they made it to the knockout stage in 4 attempts in World Cups.

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4. Portugal Beaten 4-0 by Germany

When the fixtures list for the World Cup, you must have marked the game between Portugal and Germany in the group stage as the one to watch considering the sort of talents both teams possess. However, the game turned out into a one sided affair as the World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo looked out of sorts and well oiled German attacking machinery ran havoc to go 2-0 early in the first half. Portuguese defender Pepe was sent off for violent conduct and the match turned into a punishment for Portugal as Germany cantered to a 4-0 win, with Muller scoring a hat trick.

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3. Mexico Conceding Only 1 Goal in the Group Stage

When the World Cup kicked off Mexico were thought to be a team who might be one of the few teams who had a chance of beating Brazil but no one really thought that they would go through the entire group stage by conceding only a solitary goal and that too in their last game, when Croatia scored a late goal in a 3-1 win for the Mexicans. The secret to their remarkable defensive success depends on a set of highly skilful defenders who can shadow their opponents with unbelievable expertise and in addition to that they are also good when it comes to winning the ball in defensive half. All of it came as a shock of course for everyone who had thought that the Mexicans would concede goals aplenty.

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2. Costa Rica Topping the ‘Group of Death’

When you looked at the teams that Costa Rica had been clubbed with at the group stage you would not have given them much of a chance. However, England, Uruguay and Italy were in for a surprise as none of them could beat the plucky Costa Ricans who showed what they were made of. They beat a much fancied Uruguay side 3-1 in their first game and followed it up with a narrow 1-0 victory against 4 time champions Italy. These results were not down to luck or anything since Costa Rica played with a plan and defended resolutely while making sure that whenever they attacked they had numbers forward. The way Costa Rica killed the ‘Group of Death’ was one of the biggest shocks of the tournament so far.

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1. Spain’s Opening Day Spanking at the Hands of the Netherlands

At number 1 is the shock from which football fans are yet to recover and considering the fact that it was the heaviest defeat ever suffered by a defending champion at a World Cup speaks volumes about the result. Spain went into the lead in the first half and everyone must have thought that it would be a typical 1-0 Spanish victory, but the Dutch had other idea. The runners up of the 2010 World Cup threw caution to the wind and attacked Spain with such gusto that they had no answer. In the end it looked as if the score would have been far worse than the eventual scoreline.

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Conclusion

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