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The history of the World Cup goes back a long way, as does your history at There have been many downfalls for the favorites, including again at the World Cup in Qatar. Here's a look back at some of the most memorable defeats.

USA - ENGLAND 1:0, 1950

Still considered the mother of all defeats by soccer purists. The English were taking part in the World Cup for the first time and, along with Brazil, were the top favorites to win the tournament. After all, they came from the motherland of soccer with a postwar record of 23 wins in 30 games and only four defeats. And the USA? An absolute footballing developing country with part-time kickers.

But Joe Gaetjens headed in a goal after 38 minutes to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. The English suddenly got heavy legs, nothing worked.

The defeat was a shock for the English, who had traveled to Brazil with the self-image of being the kings of soccer. The match was representative of England's performance in World Cups, which, with the exception of the 1966 World Cup at home, has been rather unfortunate.

Wembley stadium


Superlatives are not to be missed here. The mother of all defeats was followed by the mother of all sensations in 1966. In Middlesbrough, two-time world champions Italy met North Korea. The Asians, even more a soccer-developing country than the U.S. in 1950, won 1-0 thanks to a goal by Pak Doo-Ik, a full-time dentist, just before the break.

The Italians, whose reporters had been making fun of the North Koreans' soccer skills before the game, were shocked and outraged in equal measure.


Probably the mother of all ugly defeats. In their last group game, the Brazilians desperately needed a win against Portugal. Pelé went into the game banged up. The perfidious tactics of the Portuguese: kick and maltreat the exceptional striker and hope for their exceptional striker - Eusebio - up front. The plan worked.

Pele had to be treated several times after several fouls, Eusebio scored twice. The magicians from South America had to leave, Portugal failed in the semifinals against world champion England.

DENMARK - FRANCE 2:0, 2002

If ever there was a team with penetrating power, it was France at the 2002 World Cup. Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet and Sylvain Wiltord were among the world's best strikers. Zinedine Zidane was supposed to put them in the spotlight.

France almost could not help but become world champions again. But Zidane was missing injured in the first two games. And so the French were eliminated after three games in which they had not scored once, not even in the dismal 0:2 in the final group game against Denmark.


Tiki-Taka, the equally dreaded and (for the spectator) annoying short passing game is dead! That was the realization for soccer experts after the disastrous performance of the then reigning World and European champions Spain at the World Cup in Brazil.

The 1:5 loss to the Netherlands cemented this supposed new tactical era in soccer. In the meantime, we know that tiki-taka survived the 2014 World Cup. In the 7-0 win over Costa Rica a few days ago, the Spaniards played more than 1,000 passes, more than ever before at a World Cup.


Loosely based on Lothar Matthäus: If, would have been bicycle chain! If the German team had been just a My more concentrated in front of the opponent's goal in the last group game against South Korea, if luck had been just a little kind to the team - then probably no one would have had the idea to accuse the national coach Joachim Löw of vanity and blindness.

Who knows, presumably Germany would have been getting more and more into the swing of things, remembering its own World Cup history, which says that the Germans can bite their way into a tournament like this, as they did especially in the eighties. But as it was, it was a fitting end for the DFB team in a tournament that had begun with an appalling performance in a 1-0 loss to Mexico.

In a mediocre group, Germany was eliminated last, and yet Löw stayed on, wanting to make up for everything two years later. That, too, went wrong. Should Germany be eliminated early this time, too, some might get the idea that national team soccer is currently still jerky because Löw didn't want to step down in 2018.

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