World Cup biggest upsets, ranked: Argentina’s loss to top 5 Saudi Arabia, 2002’s No. 1 France loss

The World Cup is already underway but the fun doesn’t really begin until we deal with our first upset of the tournament. It is safe to say that after the surprising result on Tuesday which saw Saudi Arabia beat Lionel Messi and one of the tournament favorites Argentina, the madness began. We don’t want to be prisoners of the moment, but we also don’t want to underestimate the magnitude of the outcome of this trauma. The World Cup dates back nearly 100 years and we’ve seen quite a few amazing results over the years, so let’s pick our top five upsets to see where Argentina’s loss stacks up against the rest.

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1 – Senegal 1-0 France in 2002

The opening match of the tournament was in Japan and South Korea. France won the 1998 World Cup on home soil. They had Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane making their debut against a Senegalese team that had not made it to the World Cup before this game. Papa Bouba Diop, who died grieving in 2020, scored the winning goal, took off his shirt and laid it on the ground near the corner flag before his teammates joined him in the dance. It was one of the most iconic moments in the history of this tournament as the Senegalese reached the last eight in their first appearance.

2- Cameroon 1-0 Argentina in 1990

Who can forget what Roger Milla and the Indomitable Lions of Italy accomplished. Cinderella’s run to the quarter-finals was the first for any African nation. However, to this day, no African team has reached the semifinals. François Omam-Beck scored the winning goal to dethrone the 1986 champion.

3. North Korea 1-0 Italy in 1966

The Italians already have two World Cup titles under their belt and the North Koreans were making their debut. Pak Do-ik scored the only goal of the match to pull off the upset. In the same tournament, the North Koreans almost pulled off another upset, edging out 3-0 against Portugal in the last 16 before notably squandering their lead by conceding five goals to exit the tournament in Liverpool.

4. Saudi Arabia 2-1 Argentina in 2022

What can you say about the Saudis here. Defensive mastery from the back line with countless offside traps and goalkeeper, Mohammed Al Owais, who did everything he could to keep his side in position to pull off an incredible upset. Argentina have seen their 36-match unbeaten run dating back to 2019 come to an end. Will this be a sign of last minute things to come for Messi or will the Albiceleste come back and finish the group with six points?

5. Switzerland 1-0 Spain in 2010

Normally, one European team defeating another European team shouldn’t be enough to crack the list, but this is just a testament to how great the Spanish team was before, during, and after this tournament. During a breakaway in the 52nd minute, Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok got past Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Cape Verdean-born defensive midfielder Gelson Fernandez came out from midfield to score the only goal of the match. Spain is the only team to lose the World Cup opener and win the title while the Swiss failed to get out of their group.

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