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THE BIGGEST WORLD CUP FIRST ROUND EXITS

By NBF News
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England 1950 – England 0-1 USA
When news of England's 1-0 defeat by USA in Brazil filtered back to Britain, many thought that the newspapers had printed the scoreline the wrong way around. One of the favourites for the trophy were shocked by Joel Gaetjens' solitary 38th minute strike and, despite their 2-0 win over Chile on Matchday 1, England made their exit after another 1-0 defeat, this time at the hands of Spain. The Three Lions' squad of 1950 read like a who's who of the game at the time with Billy Wright, Stan Mortensen, Tom Finney and the great Stanley Matthews all involved.

France's class of 2010 is in esteemed company leaving the party before it starts.

Hungary 1958
- Magyars downed
by Welsh
Although the Magical Magyars of 1954 had been broken up somewhat – Ferenc Puskas defected in 1956 – the Hungary team of 1958 still boasted some of the best talent ever produced by the country. Jozsef Bozsik, Nandor Hidegkuti and others were still prominent for the side and they were expected to progress in a group that contained Sweden, Wales and Mexico. A draw against Wales and a defeat to the hosts preceded a 4-0 trouncing of the Mexicans. However, that sequence was only good enough for a play-off against the unfancied Welsh. The great Ivor Allchurch was among the scorers as the once-great Hungary bowed out, despite taking the lead.

Argentina 1958
- Let's land in Uruguay
Argentina landed their plane in Montevideo, Uruguay, upon their return from Sweden in 1958 so as to avoid the baying masses waiting en masse in Buenos Aires. The Albiceleste had performed dismally in their opening group phase, albeit alongside West Germany and Czechoslovakia, and finished bottom of the listings, conceding 10 goals in three matches. The Argentines went down 3-1 to the Germans on Matchday 1 before defeating outsiders, Northern Ireland by the same margin. However, an embarrassing defeat, an astonishing 6-1 reverse at the hands of the Czechs, sent the favourites home in disgrace.

Brazil 1966 – Pele kicked out
World champions in 1958, world champions in 1962 and among the favourites for 1966 with the likes of Pele and Garrincha in their ranks. However, the brutal treatment of Pele would rob the Selecao of their most potent attacking weapon for almost the entire duration of the tournament. Despite scoring against Bulgaria on Matchday 1, Pele was kicked up and down the field by his opponents and thus unable to feature in the shock defeat to Hungary. He was patched up for the showdown with Portugal but he was again subjected to brutal treatment, this time from Jose Morais. Brazil, like Pele himself, limped home after three matches following the 3-1 defeat to the Portuguese. Pele stated that he would never again play a World Cup match, a decision he later rescinded.

Italy 1966
-Awesome North Korea in Ayresome
The name, Pak Doo-Ik will be forever associated with Italian football. He was the North Korea player, who condemned Italy to their most shameful World Cup defeat in history. After losing to the Soviet Union following an opening win over Chile, the then-twice world champions were effectively playing off with the Asians for a knockout berth. At Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough, it was North Korea who won out, despite the Italians needing only a draw. A reception of abuse and rotten tomoatoes awaited the Azzurri on their return home. Italy was also eliminated from the 2002 World Cup by the South Korean team after a golden goal by Ahn Jung Hwan.

Italy 1974 – In-fighting and defeats: the France 2010

blueprint?
Italy went into the 1974 World Cup as one of the favourites for the trophy. This was due to a notoriously mean defence and goalkeeper Dino Zoff, who had set a world record of not conceding an international goal for 1142 minutes between 1972 and 1974.

But their finals appearance was torn apart by in-fighting. A 3-1 win over tiny Haiti in their opener was overshadowed by striker, Giorgio Chinaglia, who started arguing with Coach Ferruccio Valcareggi after being subbed, telling him in no uncertain terms where to go with a choice hand gesture, and knocking over some water bottles before retiring to the dressing room, which he proceeded to smash up. With team spirit destroyed, Italy drew their next game against Argentina, and a 2-1 loss to Poland saw them eliminated. Fabio Capello was part of the defeated contingent.

France's class of 2010 are in esteemed
company leaving the party before it starts
Giorgio Chinaglia Valcareggi blast typified the Azzurri's tournament

Algeria 1982 – The shame of Gijon
It's not so much the shock as the circumstance of Algeria's exit from the 1982 World Cup that warrants a place on the list. The north African team had bloodied the noses of a unusually complacent West Germany team on Matchday 1 in Spain; Rabah Madjer and Lakhdar Belloumi scored the goals either side of a Karl-Heinz Rummenigge strike to record one of the all-time great World Cup upsets. However, defeat to Austria on Matchday 2 had pegged the Desert Foxes back. They went on to beat Chile, 3-2, in their final matchday a full 24 hours before the Germans and their Austrian neighbours kicked off in Gijon. A slender German win would have sent the two European teams through while an Austrian victory would send the die Elf packing. Horst Hrubesch scored after only 10 minutes and the remainder of the match was effectively an embarrassing kickabout, dubbed the 'Shame of Gijon' which allowed the two teams to go through. FIFA allowed the result to stand despite the uproar it caused in Spain, Algeria, and indeed, across West Germany and Austria. As a result of this flagrant unsportsmanlike behaviour a FIFA directive ensured that all final group stage matches would kick off simultaneously.

Colombia 1994
-Tragedy strikes at home
The Colombians were tipped as one of the contenders for the trophy in 1994 after hammering Argentina 5-0 in Buenos Aires in the final qualification match. However, the tournament itself, in USA, proved to be tragically disastrous for the South Americans. Rumours of involvement from betting syndicates and drug-cartels in team affairs had left los Cafeteros weary; their manager Francisco Maturana had received death threats. Defeats to Romania and the hosts left the Colombians slumped at the bottom of the rankings; their win over Switzerland on Matchday 3 effectively counting for nothing. But there were more than football matches at stake. After returning home the scorer of an own goal against USA, defender Andres Escobar, was shot multiple times at close range outside a bar in Medellin. It is believed that Escobar's own goal had generated massive gambling losses and his assassination was vengeance on the part of a failed gambling syndicate.

France's class of 2010 is in esteemed company leaving the party before it starts.

Carlos Valderrama| couldn't help Colombia to knockout stage.

France 2002
-Champions deposed
The defending world champions had been blighted by injury in the run-up to the event, losing Robert Pires through a knee injury and seeing Zinedine Zidane severely hampered with a thigh strain. However, les Bleus were expected to qualify with few problems against Senegal, Uruguay and Denmark. An opening day defeat against the Africans was followed by a 0-0 draw with Uruguay. France welcomed back an immobile Zidane for the final and crucial group match against the Danes. Goals from Jon Dahl Tomasson and Dennis Rommedahl condemned Roger Lemerre's side to bottom place in the group and elimination without scoring a single goal.

Argentina 2002
- Bielsa backfires
The French were not the only major nation to fall at the first hurdle in the far east. Marcelo Bielsa saw his side drawn in the true group of death, alongside England, Sweden and Nigeria. The Albiceleste opened well with a 1-0 win over the Nigerians but were downed by England in their second match via a David Beckham penalty. The South Americans needed a win in their last game against Sweden but were pegged back by Anders Svensson. A last-gasp Hernan Crespo consolation was not enough to prevent the team from flying home ignominiously early.