Biggest Upsets of the 2022 World Cup


The 2022 World Cup has been a rollercoaster, giving fans around the world the thrill of a lifetime.

This year’s iteration of the prestigious event has seen numerous upsets since its start on Nov. 20, beginning with wild results in the group stage.

The unpredicted victories have continued into the knockout stage as Croatia defeated Brazil on Friday after a round of penalty kicks for the Vatreni to secure a spot in the semifinals.

With more action left in store, let’s take a look at the biggest upsets of the 2022 World Cup thus far:

Croatia defeats Brazil 1-1 (penalties: 4-2) in quarterfinals

Brazil entered the quarterfinal matchup as a heavy favorite over Croatia, despite the Vatreni reaching the 2018 World Cup Final. Neymar and co. were stunned after scoring the first goal of the game in extra time after a goalless 90 minutes. After an impressive equalizer from Croatia’s striker Bruno Petković, it was penalty shoot-out hero Dominik Livakovic who lifted the Vatreni into the semifinal. The Croatians now head to the semifinals for the second straight World Cup after their 2018 tournament ended in a loss to France in the final.

Japan defeats Spain 2-1 in Group E finale

Japan’s win over Spain led them to win its group for the first time in history. The Samurai Blue’s victory sent them to the round of 16 for the second straight World Cup and the fourth time in the last six tournaments. Japan went on to fall to Croatia in penalty kicks in the round of 16 as it was seeking its first knockout stage win in history.

Morocco defeats Spain 0-0 (penalties: 3-0) in round of 16

It was a historical win for Morocco. The Atlas Lions defeated Spain, the 2010 World Cup champions, to book its spot into the legendary tournament’s quarterfinal for the first time in history. Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi scored in Morocco’s first ever World Cup penalty shootout, while Yassine Bounou stopped all three PKs he faced to pull off the stunner. Morocco will face Portugal in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

South Korea defeats Portugal 2-1 in Group H finale

Portugal had already qualified for the knockout stage in their loss to a very hungry South Korea, who needed the Group H win to also secure a spot for just the third time in history. Wolves striker Hwang Hee-chan scored the game-winner as he was set up by Heung-min Son and slotted home. South Korea went on to fall to Brazil 4-1 in the round of 16.

Saudi Arabia defeats Argentina 2-1 in Group C opener

Saudi Arabia came out guns-blazing in its first match of the 2022 World Cup to edge favorites Argentina in a Group C clash. Prior to the loss, Argentina had been unbeaten in its last 36 matches – the second-longest streak in men’s international soccer history. Additionally, Saudi Arabia entered the World Cup at No. 51 in the FIFA rankings, while Argentina was ranked at No. 3. Saudi Arabia did not advance to the knockout stage, however, in spite of the early win.

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