Most Unlikely World Cup Results
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Most Unlikely World Cup Results

November 4, 2019

Gracenote® released a short list of the most
unlikely victories in World Cup history, using the company’s proprietary football ranking
system. The system was originally developed in 2002; the methodology based on the Elo
system which is used for ranking chess players – and it’s been fine-tuned over the intervening
16 years. Every time two teams compete, one “wins” points from the other depending on
the result, the winning margin, who is at home and the relative strength of the two
teams playing. We also weight the number of points which change hands by the importance
of the competition, so World Cups and continental championships are the most important and friendlies
the least important. So, for example, if Brazil (ranked number
one) wins a friendly, 1-0, on neutral ground against 28th ranked Costa Rica, Brazil will
improve its rating by relatively few points as that result is more or less expected. If
however Germany beats Brazil 7-1 in Brazil at a World Cup finals, Germany’s rating will
improve considerably at the expense of Brazil’s as both are strong teams and the final result
as well as the winning margin are something of surprise. Gracenote’s Football Rankings use ratings
measuring team strength to estimate the probability of a win or draw for each team in competition.
Matches won in normal time by the underdog with the smallest percentage chance of winning
according to these estimates are identified as the biggest shocks. So, the following is the top-5 most shocking
wins based on the data: 5. Uruguay 2-1 Brazil (14.3%) World Cup 1950 While this match was part of a final group
phase, it was effectively the World Cup final as the winners were guaranteed to lift the
Jules Rimet Trophy. In fact, Brazil only needed to avoid defeat to be proclaimed World Cup
winners on home turf in this final match of the tournament. With 25 minutes remaining,
Brazil looked set to do just that but Uruguay scored twice in 13 minutes to literally silence
the audience of nearly 200,000. In Brazil, the result would haunt the country for more
than 60 years. 4. Ghana 2-0 Czech Republic (13.9%) World
Cup 2006 After reaching the 2004 European Championship
final and negotiating a relatively tough qualification group, the Czechs were regarded as a dark
horse team at the 2006 World Cup. Ghana were making their World Cup debut and had already
lost to Italy in a tough group. In their match, the Ghanaians were able to comfortably beat
the Czechs, taking the lead after only 70 seconds to pull off one of the less likely
results in World Cup history. 3. Algeria 2-1 West Germany (13.1%) World
Cup 1982 Algeria’s first ever World Cup match delivered
their finest result with Lakhdar Belloumi providing the assist for his team’s first
goal and scoring the game winner against West Germany, one of the tournament favourites.
However, Algeria failed to progress from the group despite this strong start. 2. Switzerland 1-0 Spain (10.3%) World Cup
2010 Spain were the favourites to win the 2010
World Cup. Opponents Switzerland had beaten only South Korea and Togo, at the World Cup
since 1954. Spain had 22 shots to Switzerland’s six but a Gelson Fernandes goal in the 52nd
minute clinched the upset for the Swiss. Spain, of course, managed to recover from the loss
and would go on to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy three weeks later. 1. USA 1-0 England (9.5% chance) World Cup
1950 England were the favourites to win the 1950
World Cup in Brazil while the USA team was a semi-professional squad of which little
was expected. Despite England’s dominance of the match, particularly in the first half,
Joey Gaetjens’ 38th minute header won the game for the United States. It would be another
44 years before the US would win again at the World Cup.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. The Germans said that they thrashed their opponents Algeria by so much that they'd commemorate their 6th goal to their wives, their 7th to their dogs. They ended up losing.

  2. a few things I've noticed:

    1. Czechia didn't reach the EURO 2004 finals, they were kicked out in the semi final by Greece

    2. Switzerland also beat Romania in 1994

  3. Knew that’d be number 1! It’s criminal that that England side didn’t do more. Are these rankings separate to the ones on the ELO website? I always use that site and I’m not really sure how these are different

  4. Elo models building on experience. African vs European games were rare, so chance of winning versus Czech Republic was higher than the 14%.

  5. Assume this video was made before the world cup right? Because according to, South Korea's 2-0 win over Germany is on par with Ghana's win over the Czechs (80 pts for Korea, 82 points for Ghana).

  6. Czech Republic did not reach the 2004 Euro Final. That was between Greece and Portugal, with the former winning.

  7. People who say "Where is X, Y, Z? Oh this list is stupid" are complete fucking morons if you watched the intro this is not there opinion, this is based off the biggest change in the 2 teams elo rankings after the match.

  8. Something is incorrect 2:10
    The Czech Republic didn't reach the EURO 2004 Finals. They reached the semi finals and lost to Greece that won EURO 2004 from Portugal.

  9. you have one fact wrong… Switzerland had another victory in world cup's history before 2010, a 4 – 1 versus Romania en 1994

  10. This was a really interesting video, and I enjoyed a bit more than the World Cup tactics and profiles and stuff.

  11. great video, but the Czech Republic wasn't in the Euro 2004 final. The final was played between Greece and Portugal.

  12. This was nice. I am a little surprised that none of Costa Rica's wins from the 2014 world cup are on here, though.

  13. Great video again guys! Just for curiousity's sake, what were the percentages of West Germany winning in the 1954 final against Hungary?

  14. Is there a website when i can pin 2 teams and have a probably generated of the chances of win/draw/lose ?

  15. I love this time when my recommendations are filled with football videos because of the world cup. It's sad that it will all end soon after the finals.

  16. Czech Republic reached the Euro 2004 SEMI FINAL not final as you say in the video, or are you still trying to forget what Greece did hehe!

  17. So many mistakes. Switzerland beat Romania in 1994, Czech Republic did not reach the Euro 2004 final, they reached the semifinals.

  18. Switzerland also won against Romania in 1994. That fact however didn't increase their chance of beating Spain in 2010.


  20. Cool video once again, but that system is as misleading as FIFA's world rankings. In reality the have been much bigger surprises than those. E.g. Korea eliminating both Italy and Spain in 2002, Cameroon beating Argentina in 90, Senegal beating France in 2000, even Russia eliminating Spain this year, etc.

  21. The greatest upset I remember was Northern Ireland Vs Spain at the 1982 World Cup (in Spain). Northern Ireland were down to ten men for half of it too..maybe Spain were not seen as a Top Team then (?), But it was an amazing result at the time.

  22. I get that Gracenote must be a sponsor or something, but you really should stop calling it "Gracenote's ranking" because what you're describing is just ELO. Gracenote is hardly the first organization to apply ELO to contests besides chess.

  23. What, so Norways 2-1 win over Brasil in the Worldcup was not one of the most unlikely wins in football history, got it

  24. Spain were far from the nr 1 favorite to win the tournament in 2010 when it started lol. The Netherlands, Argentina and Germany were all bigger favorites. And Brasil was a huge favorite too.

  25. Good vid but Czech Republic made it to the Semis at Euro 2004 not the final, they were knocked out by Greece.

  26. Can you guys please make a video of how the fifa rankings work. It would really be helpful if y’all make it thanks

  27. I was expecting Senegal's victory over World champion France in Japan & Korea 2002. One of my best memories from WC.

  28. How about North Korea v Italy 1966, Cameroon v Argentina 1990, USA v Columbia 1994 and Australia v Japan 2006 to name a few.

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