What is the biggest defeat in World Cup history? 10 most crushing losses in the tournament

What is the biggest defeat in World Cup history? 10 most crushing losses in the tournament

The FIFA World Cup has been full of surprises. It has produced some incredible fixtures with unbelievable outcomes over the years. Most frequently, these surprises involve underdogs pulling off victories over or drawing with heavyweights like Germany, Italy, Brazil, or Argentina in the face of overwhelming odds. What is the biggest defeat in World Cup history?

Biggest defeat in world cup history
Friends cheering world cup with painted flag. Photo: rawpixel.com
Source: Getty Images

The World Cup's history is filled with unexpected victories, humiliating losses for the reigning champions, and heroic comebacks as tournament dreams are realized and crushed. Amidst all these, some football fans have experienced great thrills and excitement while others have experienced sorrow and tears.

What is the biggest defeat in FIFA World Cup history?

The biggest World Cup defeat may have been Brazil's 7-1 loss to Germany at home. Argentina's 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia during this year's World Cup was another crushing defeat. Here are some of the most heartbreaking losses in this tournament.

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10. 1954: Germany 3-2 Hungary

Biggest defeats in World Cup history
German midfielder Max Morlock falls to the ground and pushes the ball into the net. Germany won the world championship title for the first time. Photo: DB/picture alliance
Source: Getty Images

Admittedly, this doesn't look like one of the most significant defeats ever. However, it is startling when you consider that Hungary had destroyed every opponent they had faced up to that time and that they had Ferenc Puskas, a football genius.

Additionally, Hungary had gone four years without losing, and the two teams had met in the tournament's group stages, with Hungary winning 8-3. They also defeated Brazil and Uruguay by scoring 4-2 and South Korea 9-0.

9. 1994: Bulgaria 2-1 Germany

Biggest defeats in World Cup history
A disappointed German fan wipes his tears after the 1994 Soccer World Cup quarter-final between Bulgaria and Germany. Photo: Oliver Berg
Source: Getty Images

In their first appearance as a single country after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany sought to defend their global championship in USA '94. However, after easily advancing to the quarterfinals, Bulgaria, with the erratic Hristo Stoichkov, presented the holders with a curveball in the last eight.

8. 1974: Poland 7-0 Haiti

Biggest defeat in World Cup history
Haitian defender Arsene Auguste (R) tackles Polish forward Grzegorz Lato during the 1974 World Cup Photo: STAFF/AFP
Source: Getty Images

Haiti struggled in its 1974 World Cup debut, scoring only twice in three games while conceding 14 goals. They lost 3-1 to Italy and 4-1 to Argentina, in group 4, but their worst performance was against Poland with a 7-0 defeat. Undoubtedly, this is one of the biggest defeats in history.

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7. 1982: Hungary 10-1 El Salvador

Biggest defeats in World Cup history
Hungary wins the 1982 FIFA World Cup group match 10:1 against El Salvador Photo: Karl Staedele
Source: Getty Images

In the 1980s, Salvador suffered the biggest defeat in World Cup history at the hands of Hungary. The record-breaking match occurred at Nuevo Estadio in Elche, Spain, as the second game of Group 3.

6. 1974: Yugoslavia 9-0 Zaire

Biggest defeat in World Cup history
Yugoslav forward Dusan Bajevic (R) heads the ball past substitute goalkeeper Dimbi Tubilandu from Zaire to score a goal in the 1974 World Cup Photo: STAFF/AFP
Source: Getty Images

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, once known as Zaire, also had the biggest defeat in World Cup history. It was one of the most crushing losses following a 9-0 defeat to Yugoslavia. Some of their players had boycotted the game in protest of unpaid wages

5. 1950: USA 1-0 England

Biggest defeats in World Cup history
England footballer Alf Ramsey watches as a shot beats goalkeeper Bert Williams during World Cup 1950.Photo: Popperfoto
Source: Getty Images

England was stunned in the 1950 final match by a USA team of part-time players. There was a lot of anticipation for England to win the tournament because of their previous record of 23 victories, three ties, and four losses. However, the USA pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history when Joe Gaetjens, a Haitian-born player, scored the victory goal.

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4. 1978: Argentina 6-0 Peru

Biggest defeats in the World Cup history
Americo Gallego, between Gurriti and Chumpitaz, heads the ball towards the Peruvian goal during the second final round of the World Cup in 1978. Photo: Scheidemann/picture alliance
Source: Getty Images

Argentina advanced to 1978 final after defeating Peru 6-0, making it the biggest defeat in World Cup history. However, controversy erupted after six Peruvian players allegedly allowed Argentina to score the goals.

3. 2022: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

Biggest defeat in world cup history
Nawaf Al-Abed and Al-Malki of Saudi Arabia celebrate their second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Photo: Sebastian Frej/MB Media
Source: Getty Images

Many people expected Argentina to win the World Cup when they came to Qatar as Copa America champions led by seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi. However, the 53rd-ranked Saudi Arabia in the FIFA World Cup 2022 shockingly defeated them, making it one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history.

2. 2002: Senegal 1-0 France

Biggest defeat in World Cup history
El Hadji Diouf (No.11) of Senegal takes the ball around Marcel Desailly (No.8) of France during the France v Senegal match in 2002. Photo by Shaun Botterill
Source: Getty Images

The curse of the reigning champions would befall France during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Minor issues marred Les Bleus' preparations, and despite the brilliance of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, they struggled in their opener without Zinedine Zidane.

To make it the biggest defeat in the tontournament history, Senegal took full advantage of France's stage fright to make their World Cup debut, thanks to Papa Bouba Diop's legendary goal.

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1. 2014: Brazil 1-7 Germany

Biggest defeat in world cup history
Brazil supporters react after the 1-7 defeat in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Semi-Final match between Brazil and Germany. Photo: The Asahi Shimbun
Source: Getty Images

Arguably the biggest defeat in World Cup history was Brazil’s 1-7 crushing loss against Germany. Brazil, the host nation, and Germany competed in the first semi-final of 2014. Even though Brazil was missing Neymar and Thiago Silva, the game was still expected to be a tight affair. However, the unexpected happened, and Brazil faced a tremendous loss leaving their fans in tears.

What's the biggest defeat in football history?

The biggest defeat in football history occurred on 31 October 2002, when SO l'Emyrne played AS Adema and lost the match 149-0. Although SO l'Emyrne chose to lose in protest against officiating decisions that had been made against them during a four-team playoff event, the game still maintains the world record for the highest scoreline, as acknowledged by The Guinness Book of Records.

What is the biggest defeat in international football?

American Samoa set the record for the biggest professional international defeat when it was beaten by Australia 31-0 in a 2002 WC qualifier on 11 April 2001. This loss is well-known in football since it was a FIFA World Cup qualification game. However, despite a ruthless victory against a weak American Samoa team, Australia could not qualify for the 2002 World Cup, losing in a playoff to Uruguay.

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What country has the most losses in WC?

Mexico holds the record for the most World Cup losses, having competed in 16 different WC finals tournaments. The country has participated in 53 FIFA World Cup games, 25 resulting in losses. As a result, Mexico is not proud to hold this record, and the nation hopes to get rid of it at future World Cups.

World Cup history has experienced some of the most crushing losses. In the ongoing tournament, fans have already witnessed some unexpected losses when Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia and Germany lost to Japan. Nonetheless, the championship is still in its early group stages, with room for comebacks. So, according to you, what is the biggest defeat in World Cup history that you will never forget?

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Racheal Murimi (Lifestyle writer) Racheal Murimi is a content creator who joined Yen in 2022. She has over four years of experience in creating content. Racheal graduated from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology with a bachelor's degree in BCom, Finance. She has amassed sufficient knowledge working on various topics, including biographies, fashion and lifestyles, guides, and more. In 2023, Racheal finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. You can reach her at wambuimurimi254@gmail.com

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