FIFA World Cup 2018: Top 5 Opening day upsets in the history of the tournament
As the Greatest footballing extravaganza commenced today, millions of football fans will get a chance to catch a glimpse of the best footballers lighting up the biggest stage.
This world cup might be the last time we see eternal rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo go toe to toe to help their nations win the holy grail of world football.
While emerging superstars like Neymar and Antoine Griezmann can cement their place amongst the pantheon of greats, should they lead their respective countries to world cup glory?
But the world cup has been famous for springing up surprises at the start of the tournament. With the opening day arriving, nervousness can often stump a better team against a weaker team, who relish this opportunity and can play without fear, thereby increasing the chances of an upset.
World cups have always stood out for its interesting subplots and this time will be no different. With that in mind, we look back at 5 major upsets on the opening night of the world cup:
#5 West Germany 0-0 Poland (1978)
World Champions in their own backyard in 1974, four years later West Germany arrived in Argentina with a squad lacking the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller.
Beckenbauer was just 31 years of age when he retired from the International duty, partly due to a bizarre ruling which prohibited players from playing outside Germany to appear for the national team.
The team’s lack of experience and leadership was highlighted on the opening day itself, as they limped to 0-0 draw against European opponents Poland.
In fact, it was the Polish team led by a 22-year old Zbigniew Boniek who had the best chances, yet only the brilliance of West German goalkeeper Sepp Maier prevented Poland from earning a well-deserved victory.
The West Germans endured a rough time in Argentina as they managed to advance to the 2nd round after an uninspiring draw against African minnows Tunisia.
This was where West Germany’s title defence ended, as they remained winless in the second round of group stages containing the likes of Netherlands, Italy and Austria.