The Most Recent Underdog Stories in World Cup History

Spain debuting with defeat, Italy and Germany falling in the group stage, and the surprising Costa Rica leading the group of death. We bring you fascinating underdog events in recent world cup history that even affected the FIFA World Cup betting fans.

Spain 0-1 Switzerland – 2010<.h3>

Spain won its first and so far only world cup title in the 2010 edition, which was played in South Africa. However, the Spaniards' trajectory started differently than everyone expected. In group H, they were the last seeded selection to debut in the world, and at that time, they were already favourites as they came from a Euro 2008 title. So, the Spaniards are the only world champions with defeat in their debut in the entire history of the world cup.

Costa Rica Leading the Group of Death – 2014

One of the most surprising campaigns that have ever happened in the history of the world cup was that of Costa Rica in Brazil in 2014. They were considered the team selected for the punching bag in group D. Group D had three world champion teams: Uruguay, England, and Italy. The debut was with a victory and comeback in Uruguay. They won 3-1 at Arena Castelão, in Fortaleza.

As if the shock of this result were not enough, they moved on, this time knocking Italy 1-0 in Recife, and ended their participation in the “group of death,” holding the tie with England by 0-0 and breaking the standings in the first place. The Costa Rican saga had another happy chapter. They had a victory in the Round of 16 over Greece on penalties, until, also on penalties, they fell in the quarterfinals to the Netherlands.

World Champions Falling Out Of the Group Stage: Slovakia 3-2 Italy – 2010

Still, in the 2010 edition, this time, the zebra came to take down a giant. The Italians were the current world champions and were lucky in the group draw, having as opponents the selections of Paraguay, New Zealand, and Slovakia.

Despite the weak group, the Italians did the favour of stumbling against Paraguayans and New Zealanders, having to beat the Slovaks. The final score was a 3-2 defeat and a melancholy farewell to the group stage. This was one of the Italians' worst participation in the world cup's history.

South Korea 2-0 Germany

In the following edition, it is not news that the winning teams are being eliminated in the group stage. France in 2002, Italy in 2010, and Spain in 2014. However, in the case of Germany in 2018, it was impactful. Their debut in the cup was met with a defeat to Mexico by 1-0. Still, the Germans fought until the end and managed to turn the game against Sweden, and won 2-1 with a goal in the last minute. But this victory was of no avail.

In the third and final group match, they needed to beat South Korea, who, at that point, had already been eliminated. The Germans launched the attack but suffered a hard blow in the final stretch, with the first South Korean goal, and then, with Manuel Neuer in the attack, they took the second and were defeated. In this way, the curse continued.


There you have it—some of the most interesting World Cup underdog stories. The Qatar 2022 World Cup is currently underway, and we are excited to know what other story it has for us. Thanks for reading!