World Cup: Where does Costa Rica upset of Italy rank on all-time list of shockers?
There's no doubt – it will go down as one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
Italy, ranked No. 9 in the FIFA World Rankings, were humbled on Friday by tiny Costa Rica (No. 28), a Central American country (population 4.8 million) which is only making its fourth tournament appearance. That's equal to the number of world titles won by the Italians.
But it doesn't even make our cut as one of the Top 5 upsets in World Cup history. Blame globalization (of the sport), which has practically erased the gaps between so-called giants and minnows these days:
5. USA 2, Colombia 1 (1994, Group A)
The Colombians were favorites to win the whole thing. But on home soil in 1994, the plucky Americans refused to follow the script.
4. Cameroon 1, Argentina 0 (1990, Group B)
Before this game, African soccer had been an afterthought at the World Cup — teams just making up the numbers. Then Cameroon beat Diego Maradona and the defending world champs in the inaugural match and the world finally took notice.
3. Northern Ireland 1, Spain 0 (1982, Group 5)
True, this wasn't today's Spain, but they were still the hosts in 1982 and Northern Ireland was the smallest country (by population) to ever make the World Cup. Plus, they were down a man for the last 30 minutes. Both teams made it through to the next round, anyway.
2. USA 1, England 0 (1950, Group 2)
There's a reason the movie about this game is called "The Game of their Lives." It was Hollywood stuff: a bunch of part-timers taking down the "Kings of Football."
1. North Korea 1, Italy 0 (1966, Group 4)
The world knows as much about North Korea today as they did in 1966. They were called the "Mystery Men" during that tournament and Italy couldn't unravel them and paid the price with elimination.
They made a documentary about this one, too. The name: The Game of their Lives.