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Top five: World Cup surprise packages
NOT many people would have put money on the minnows of Costa Rica progressing from their World Cup group after just two matches, but after seeing off two former tournament winners they've done precisely that.
The Central American country - population 4.5million - showed England how it should be done as they firstly convincingly beat Uruguay 3-1 before seeing off Italy 1-0 to make it through to the second round with a game to spare.
Football is littered with a history of shock results, so in tribute to Costa Rica we present five more World Cup surprise packages.
Despite being hosts for the 1962 tournament Chile went into the competition not expected to do much. The country had been badly affected by its worst-ever earthquake a couple of years before and it was touch and go if the seventh World Cup could go ahead. It did, and the hosts found a novel way of getting past each of their opponents. They ate Swiss cheese before beating Switzerland, necked platefuls of pasta before seeing off Italy in the Battle of Santiago - famously described as "the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football" by the late David Coleman - and downed vodka to see off the USSR in the quarter finals. They found coffee didn't agree with them ahead of their semi final, which they lost to eventual champions Brazil.
Nobody gave the west Africans a prayer as they opened Italia 90 with a match against holders Argentina. They were already down to ten men when Omam Biyik scored what proved to be the winning goal thanks to some hilariously inept goalkeeping. The Indomitable Lions held out despite being reduced to nine men after one of the best fouls of all time, Benjamin Massing's brutal assault on Claudio Caniggia. With Roger Milla in the form of his 38 years they proved that was no fluke by beating Romania and Colombia to set up a quarter final tie with England, and they were seven minutes away from another shock victory before Gary Lineker converted the first of two penalties to finally bring their journey to an end. As Bobby Robson remarked: "We didn't underestimate them, they were a lot better than we thought."
Similar story to Cameroon. Opening game of the tournament? Check. Trophy holders looking to lay down a marker? Check. African opponents given no hope by anyone? Check. Well deserved victory for said underdogs, as Papa Bouba Diop scores a first half winner to condemn the former colonial overlords to an embarrassing defeat? Check. Senegal then drew with an impressive Denmark team and sealed progression from their group with a 3-3 draw with Uruguay - a game they nearly lost after the South Americans missed a last-minute sitter to win 4-3, having been three goals behind at one point. Sweden were then defeated in the second round before a golden goal defeat by Turkey in the quarter finals.
South Korea, 2002
South Korea had never even won a World Cup finals match before they jointly hosted the 2002 tournament alongside Japan. Their subsequent run to the semi finals was therefore a huge surprise. Controversial refereeing decisions undoubtedly helped them, leading to accusations of skulduggery, but the Koreans beat some of the big names in world football along the way. Led by Dutch boss Guus Hiddink they beat Poland and highly-fancied Portugal to get out of their group before a second round win over Italy. Ahn Jung-Hwan netted the golden goal winner - leading to the president of Perugia, the Italian club he played for at the time, to vow he would never play for his side again for his lack of gratitude towards the country where he made his living. A penalty shoot-out win in the quarter final with Spain followed, despite the Spanish having two seemingly legitimate goals chalked off, before a semi final loss to Germany.
Ghana had made a statement at the previous World Cup, making it out of a group containing the Czech Republic and eventual winners Italy before being eliminated by Brazil. They went one better in South Africa four years later, progressing alongside Germany from their group before an extra time victory against the USA took them into the quarter finals. They more than held their own against an experienced Uruguay side and had the chance to become the first African side to reach the semi finals of the competition when, in the final minute of extra time, Luis Suarez punched a shot off the goalline. He was sent off and was roundly criticised as he wildly celebrated Asamoah Gyan missing the resulting penalty, and the Black Stars were eliminated in a shoot-out despite lighting up the tournament with a brand of bright, attacking football that had largely been missing.
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