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Greatest Comebacks in World Cup History

Take a look back into the exciting moments of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history.

By Kelsey LangePublished 5 years ago 6 min read

Surprising comebacks within any sport are exciting. Though there might not be as much action compared to football, rugby, or wrestling, soccer matches can be equally as unpredictable. And that's why these circumstances have made their mark on soccer history.

The greatest comebacks in FIFA World Cup history had fans on their feet in the stands, restored hope for many soccer fanatics, and proved the skillsets of many teams. Whether it be due to a star player, an unfortunate slip-up, or simple teamwork recovery, these are the most breathtaking comebacks that the World Cup has ever seen.

With 2018's World Cup coming soon to Russia, let's take a moment to reminisce some of the most popular tales of the Cup's past matches with great recoveries.

1954 Quarter Final, Switzerland vs Austria

As the year of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history, the 1954 World Cup season encountered two comebacks, both in the quarterfinals and the finals. What a nail-biting journey this must have been for fans.

To start, the Quarter Finals between Switzerland vs. Austria was an upset that fans will never forget. Within this match, there were a total of 12 goals scored, setting a world record as the highest scoring game. Plus, it was 104 degrees Fahrenheit!

Switzerland started the game off strong, scoring a three-goal lead after the first 24 minutes. Then, Austria's Theodore Wagner scored a hat trick to combat those goals, the seventh-ever hat trick to be made in World Cup history.

To follow, the team drew ahead before the end of the first half, gaining a total of five goals. The game ultimately ended in a 7-5 victory for Austria.

1954 Finals, West Germany vs Hungary

The World Cup Finals ended up being between West Germany and Hungary in 1954. Within 10 minutes of playing, Hungary started off the game with two goals.

For many West Germany fans, this meant the game was over. However, Germany did not agree, especially after being badly beaten by them earlier in the season, 8-3.

Germany tied the game with scores by Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn, and the match seemed to be anyone's game. Germany took this chance and ran with it, ending the game 3-2, their first World Cup win.

1966 Quarter Final, Portugal vs DPR Korea

As one of the most nail-biting finals in World Cup history, the 1966 match between Portugal and DPR Korea was unpredictable, even for the players. While Korea took the lead by scoring their first point within the first minute, Korea racked up three points over Portugal. However, Portugal did not take this as the end of the game; it was the Finals.

Within three minutes, they scored their first goal and before halftime, the score was 3-2, which made Korea a little more uncomfortable. When Portugal returned to play the rest of the game, they were a new team mentally.

With two scores by Eusebio and the final goal by Joe Augusto, the game ended in a surprising 5-3 victory for the Portugal team.

1970 West Germany vs England Quarter Final

West Germany has been known for recovering some of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history, and 1974's World Cup was one of those amazing moments for fans.

The match took place on home turf; however, the Netherlands scored on them after two minutes of play, creating an anxious atmosphere in the arena filled with fans.

With an amazing penalty kick by Paul Breitner and the finishing factor to the comeback by Gerd Muller, the Germany team secured their second Cup title

1974 Finals, West Germany vs Netherlands

As Germany's first chance to prove themselves against England since the 1966 defeat, the 1970 Quarterfinals proved the intensity of West Germany's dedication to the game.

As they recovered from being two goals down, the game went into over-time, in which Gerd Muller gained that revenge the team so desired, by scoring one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time.

1982 Semi Final, West Germany vs France

Often regarded as one of the best World Cup matches of all time, the 1982 Semi Final showcased, yet again, West Germany's intense ability to recover from being behind. It was also the first final that resulted in a shootout being the determining factor of the winner.

The game went back and forth; while England would score, Germany would score right after, and so on. If that didn't keep fans at the edge of their seats, we don't know what would.

If this wasn't enough action, the controversial injury between Patrick Battiston's collision with goalkeeper, Harald Schumacher left Schumacher unconscious and with two missing teeth, damaged vertebrae, and three fractured ribs. And there was no foul.

Ultimately, Germany won the shootout, as the team could not have let down their star goalkeeper.

1998 Semi Final, France vs Croatia

1998 brought one of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history with a game between France and Croatia. Taken place in France, the World Cup Semi-Final's star athlete was Lilian Thuram.

A starting lead began by Croatia scoring one point; however, this is where Thuram took over. To do so, he scored two goals, which is impressive on its own to capture a semi-final victory.

But what makes it even more of a miracle, is that these two goals were the first scores he made within his 142 cap career, thus far.

2002 Quarter Final, Brazil vs England

As one of the best victories in Brazil's history, the winning goal was scored in the 50th minute against England. Ronaldinho was the star player in the recovery, as he first assisted Rivaldo with the first goal in the 47th minute of the first half.

Going into the following half, the team could see the victory. Ronaldinho did it again as he scored one of the most famous free kick in the history of the World Cup.

Korea Republic vs. Italy 2002

As one of the most controversial comebacks in World Cup history, the Korea Republic game against Italy was predicted to be an easy pick, with Italy winning.

As you can guess, this was not the case. This was due to Ahn-Jung Hwan's Golden Goal, a first for his career. However, instead of Hwan receiving praise for this victory, the player dealt with the rath of Italy's supporters, as he caused them to be knocked from the path toward the title.

He unfortunately never played for the club again and was referred to as "killing Italian soccer." It was, without a doubt, one of the biggest upsets in World Cup History.

2017 U-17 World Cup, England vs Spain

As one of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history within the up and coming athletes that strive to one day compete in the World Cup finals, the U-17 division had their own excitement in their recent Cup.

After falling behind to Spain's scoring, England recovered their mindsets after the first half and left behind their sloppy tactics.

With help from star players such as Marc Guehi, Joel Latibeaudiere, and Philip Foden, the team successfully regained the title of Finals winners with a 5-2 victory, despite their struggle to get there.

The stadium was filled with the chant, "Foden, Foden."

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About the Creator

Kelsey Lange

Passionate about writing, animals, makeup, movies, friends, family, learning, exercising, and laughing!

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