If San Marino were to get even a point against England on Monday, there would be a case to call it the biggest shock in international football history.
Ranked rock bottom of world football at 210 and having never won a competitive match, San Marino’s ambitions are probably limited to keeping the score down against Gareth Southgate’s men – although they did briefly shock England in a 1993 World Cup qualifier, when Davide Gualtieri scored the then quickest goal in international football after just 8.3 seconds – a record since eclipsed by Belgium’s Christian Benteke – before England responded to win 7-1.
Here are some of the biggest upsets in international football this century, and you have the chance to rank them in order of the biggest surprise at the bottom of this page.
Brazil 0-2 Honduras, 23 July 2001, Copa America quarter-finals
Underdogs Honduras were only invited to take part in the 2001 Copa America as last-minute replacements for Argentina, but an own goal from Juliano Belletti and a late effort from Saul Martinez booked the Central Americans’ place in the semi-finals, where they lost 2-0 to hosts – and eventual winners – Colombia.
France 0-1 Senegal – 31 May 2002, World Cup group stage
Reigning champions France came into the tournament in South Korea and Japan as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, but Roger Lemerre’s team made the worst possible start as debutants Senegal claimed a magnificent victory thanks to Papa Bouba Diop’s first-half strike. The Lions of Teranga made it all the way to the quarter-finals, while Les Bleus bowed out in the group stage.
South Korea 2-1 Italy – 18 June 2002, World Cup last 16
Co-hosts South Korea produced one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history by knocking much-fancied Italy out of the tournament at the last-16 stage. Christian Vieri put the Azzurri in front after Ahn Jung-hwan had missed a penalty, but Seol Ki-hyeon’s strike sent the game into extra-time. Perugia striker Ahn made made amends for his penalty miss with the all-important golden goal, sending Guus Hiddink’s team into the quarter-finals.
Latvia 0-0 Germany – 19 June 2004, European Championship group stage
Germany laboured to a goalless draw against European Championship debutants Latvia in Porto. It could have been worse for Rudi Voller’s side as Maris Verpakovskis had two penalty appeals turned down and had a goal-bound shot saved by Oliver Kahn. Neither team made it out of a group that also featured the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
Portugal 0-1 Greece – 4 July 2004, European Championship final
Otto Rehhagel’s workmanlike Greece side had defied all expectations by reaching the Euro 2004 final, where they faced a Portugal side featuring a young Cristiano Ronaldo. Angelos Charisteas broke the deadlock as Greece – inspired by centre-back Traianos Dellas – kept Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Deco at bay to complete one of the biggest fairytales in the history of the game.
Bolivia 6-1 Argentina – 1 April 2009, World Cup qualifier
Another major upset in South America as an Argentina side managed by Diego Maradona suffered their heaviest defeat in more than 60 years. Striker Joaquin Botero scored a hat-trick, while Marcelo Martins, Didi Torrico and Alex da Rosa also scored in the rout. Angel di Maria’s sending off – seven minutes after coming on as a substitute – capped a miserable day for the Albiceleste.
Italy 1-1 New Zealand – 20 June 2010, World Cup group stage
Minnows New Zealand exited the tournament after drawing all three group games in South Africa, but the stalemate with holders Italy will live long in the memory of football fans the world over. It would prove to be Italy’s only point of the competition as they finished bottom of their group behind New Zealand, Slovakia and Paraguay.
Brazil 1-7 Germany – 8 June 2014, World Cup semi-finals
A result that sent shockwaves through the football world. Hosts Brazil were without Neymar because of injury, but none of the home fans packed inside the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte were expecting their World Cup campaign to end in such brutal, humiliating fashion. Eventual winners Germany were at their ruthless best, scoring five times in the first half – including four in six minutes – to inflict Brazil’s heaviest-ever defeat.
England 1-2 Iceland – 28 June 2016, European Championship last 16
Arguably England’s most humiliating defeat since 1950, when they were beaten by the USA at the World Cup. Wayne Rooney put Roy Hodgson’s team ahead with an early penalty, but goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sent the Three Lions crashing out of the tournament in France and resulted in Hodgson handing in his resignation.
Germany 0-2 South Korea – 27 June 2018, World Cup group stage
Sixteen years after beating Italy, the Taegeuk Warriors were involved in another monumental World Cup shock in Russia, defeating holders Germany 2-0 to knock Joachim Low’s team out of the competition in the group stage. The game is perhaps best remembered for Son Heung-min’s late second goal, which came after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had lost possession inside the opponents’ half. Ju Se-jong released Son, who tapped into an empty net to spark wild celebrations in the South Korea dugout.