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The 11 Biggest Blowouts in World Cup History

by: Esteban On  Wednesday, July 9, 2014

biggest blowouts in world cup history

The margin of victory needed for a loss to be considered a blowout varies by sport. In baseball we’re generally talking about a loss of seven runs or more. In hockey it’s a loss of five or more goals. In basketball we’re usually talking about deficits of around 20 points. And in football—the American kind—a team is looking at a blowout when they’re down by about three touchdowns.

In soccer, though, the standards are much lower. At elite events like the World Cup, where the quality of competition is extraordinarily high, a two-goal loss is considered convincing, while a three-goal loss, depending on the opponent, is blowout territory.

That’s why the semifinal between Germany and Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup was so shocking. It wasn’t just a blowout. It was an epic, soul-crushing blowout.

But where exactly does it rank among other big World Cup blowouts? You’re about to find out.


11. Germany 7, Brazil 1 (2014)

11 brazil germany 2014 world cup blowout (7-1)

Okay, so you didn’t have to wait very long to find out where Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of Brazil ranks amongst the biggest blowouts in World Cup history. In terms of margin of victory, it comes in at #11.

That being said, in terms of pure shock and disbelief, this one easily takes the top spot. It wasn’t some tiny Asian nation making their World Cup debut that got lit up for seven goals. It was Brazil, winners of five World Cups, hosts of the 2014 World Cup, pre-tournament favorites to win it all again.

Given the stage and teams involved, this 7-1 loss will probably go down as the most shocking result in the history of international soccer. And it was certainly the darkest day in Brazilian soccer since the 2-0 loss to Uruguay in the Final of the 1950 World Cup.

Of course, that photo pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?


10. Uruguay 7, Scotland 0 (1954)

10 uruguay scotland 1954 world cup (7-0)

Now this is a blowout that made sense. The gulf between the top teams and the rest of the pack was even greater in the 50s than it is now. And while Uruguay entered the 1954 World Cup as defending champions, having (as I just mentioned) upset Brazil in 1950, Scotland was making its World Cup debut the only team that did not win its qualifying group. So the math makes sense here.

Amazingly, though, this wasn’t the only 7-0 drubbing at the 1954 World Cup…


9. Turkey 7, South Korea 0 (1954)

9 turkey south korea 1954 world cup (7-0)

How big was the divide between team at the 1954 World Cup? Well, just consider this. Turkey played West Germany twice in that tournament, losing both times and getting outscored 11-3. But they destroyed South Korea 7-0.

Meanwhile, that 7-0 game wasn’t even South Korea’s worst defeat at the 1954 World Cup. Keep reading to find out what was.


8. Poland 7, Haiti 0 (1974)

8 poland haiti 1974 world cup (7-0)

Here’s another not-so-shocking blowout. Poland is not exactly a soccer superpower, but they were very good in 1974, eventually finishing third after beating Brazil in the consolation game.

Haiti, on the other hand, was just a tiny island nation making its first (and, to date, only) World Cup appearance. They were in way over their heads against Italy and Argentina, losing 3-1 and 4-1 respectively. However, when they played that formidable Poland squad, they got annihilated 7-0.


7. Portugal 7, North Korea 0 (2010)

7 portugal north korea 2010 world cup (7-0)

Portugal wasn’t the favorite to win the 2010 World Cup, but they did have one of the two best players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, so they were certainly considered contenders.

North Korea? Not so much. They were making just their second World Cup appearance ever after just barely beating out Saudi Arabia and Iran in their qualification group.

Now, in fairness, North Korea shocked the world by staying with Brazil in their opening game, only losing 2-1. Then, in their second game, they held Portugal to just one goal in the first half.

However, after Portugal broke through for their second goal in the 53rd minute, they basically scored at will for the rest of the match, continuing the pour it on (three goals in the final ten minutes) until the final whistle blew.


6. Sweden 8, Cuba 0 (1938)

6 cuba sweden 1938 world cup (8-0)

In their first and only World Cup appearance, Cuba actually managed to tie Romania 3-3 before beating them 2-1 in a replay to advance to the second round. (The entire tournament was single-elimination back then.) However, against Sweden in the second round, Cuba’s fairy tail came to an abrupt end. They got absolutely destroyed 8-0, with not one but two Swedes (Harry Andersson and Gustav Wetterstrom) recording hat tricks.


5. Uruguay 8, Bolivia 0 (1950)

5 uruguay bolivia 1950 world cup (8-0)

Bolivia has a population of 10 million people, while Uruguay has a population of just 3.5 million. However, Uruguay is and was an international soccer powerhouse. Bolivia is and was not. So when the two teams met in the group stage of the 1950 World Cup, it was a total bloodbath. Uruguay blitzed Bolivia for four goals in the first half before adding another four in the second half, with Oscar Miguez getting a hat trick at the 51′ mark.

Not surprisingly, Bolivia has made just one appearance at the World Cup since this beatdown.


4. Germany 8, Saudi Arabia 0 (2002)

4 germany saudi arabia 2002 world cup (8-0)

Saudi Arabia has made four World Cup appearances since 1994, which is very respectable. However, Germany is Germany—a soccer superpower with three World Cup titles that has reached the semifinals of their last four times out. And when Germany and Saudi Arabia met in the group stage of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, it was ugly. All-time World Cup goal-scoring king Miroslav Klose (pictured) recorded a hat trick, and Germany added an 8th goal in extra time to cap the 8-0 shellacking.


3. Hungary 9, South Korea 0 (1954)

3 hungary south korea 1954 world cup (9-0)

Remember how I said South Korea’s 7-0 loss to Turkey in 1954 wasn’t even their worst game of the tournament? Well, here you go.

Hungary never managed to win a World Cup title, but in the 1950s they were still regarded as the greatest soccer team on the planet. So when they faced first-timers South Korea in the opening game of the 1954 World Cup, they destroyed them. Sander Kocsis scored a hat trick while Peter Palotas and the legendary Ferenc Puskas each recorded two, and Hungary cruised 9-0 in the second biggest World Cup blowout of all time.


2. Yugoslavia 9, Zaire 0 (1974)


There are a number of strong, soccer powers in Africa. Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is not one of them. In their only World Cup appearance in 1974, Zaire/DR Congo got outscored 14-0 in three games. However, the worst of it came at the hands of Yugoslavia, who put up six goals in the first half before adding three more in the second for good  measure. Dusan Bajevic, pictured heading the ball here, scored the hat trick.


1. Hungary 10, El Salvador 1 (1982)

1 hungary el salvador 1982 world cup (10-1)

The only team to ever break into the double digits in the World Cup? That would be Hungary. They did it against poor little El Salvador in 1982.

And do you want to know the crazy thing? Hungary didn’t even advance from the group stage that year, while the two teams that did—Argentina and Belgium—both took it easy on El Salvador, only outscoring them by a combined 3-0.

I guess that’s soccer karma.