Top 10 Weirdest FIFA World Cup Records, Some Impossible to Beat

Tags: #WorldCup ,   #FIFAWorldCup ,   #Football ,   #footballislife ,   #Soccer

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2023-05-12 18:00:07

The FIFA World Cup is a major global event, so many know who are FIFA World Cup winners or which player scored the most goals. However, while these records are important, they were bound to happen. The thing is, someone always has to win the title, as someone will score more than others. Yet, what about obscure records that sound almost impossible? None of them needed to happen, as they are so insane that it's hard to believe they did. Yet, that's why we gathered them on our top list of unusual FIFA World Cup records.

10. When the First Round Is Always Your Final One

By far the best Scotland team at the FIFA World Cup

If you look at history, many teams could never survive the group stage in the FIFA World Cup. However, they could not hold a candle to Scotland's unbelievable negative records. Since 1954, the team has qualified for the eight FIFA World Cups, but they've never progressed from the group stage! While they were often just awful, sometimes all they needed was a bit of luck. For example, in 1974, they stayed undefeated, with a win and two drawn games. Moreover, they allowed only a single goal against mighty Brazil and excellent Yugoslavia. Tragically, all they needed was to score another goal against the horrible Zaire team. While Yugoslavia had previously trashed them 9-0, Scotland couldn't score more than two goals.

However, it's among World Cup fun facts that Scotland has qualified for the competion five times in a row from 1974 to 1990, achieving precisely nothing. As Scotland never progressed from the first round in European Championships, we can't imagine how their fans feel. Yet, the frustration is stronger than ever since Scotland hasn't qualified for the World Cup since 1998. Furthermore, they participated in only one of the last six Euros.

9. Two Minutes of Glory

This was a genuinely beautiful assist by Trobbiani!

Marcelo Antonio Trobbiani Ughetto debuted for the Argentinian national team in 1974. Yet, he wasn't a part of the 1978 World Cup-winning team. To considerable surprise, he still received a call for the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Yet, coach Carlos Bilardo told everyone that Trobbiani's role is only to play in practice games! Serving primarily as a mascot and a roommate to Jorge Valdano, he still got his chance to shine… for precisely two minutes!

Yet, those two minutes came at the best possible moment, as he entered as a substitute in the final match! However, this wasn't a trivial substitution, as the stakes were high. At the moment, Argentina was leading just 3-2, with West Germany desperate to equalize. Luckily, it all ended well for the team, and the only time he touched the ball was a back-heel pass! Still, Trobbiani can say that he won the world title in the last match he played for the national team.

8. World Cup Dreams While Still in Elementary School

Mamam wasn't even close to being called up for the 2006 World Cup

As you may know, Norman Whiteside is the youngest player in World Cup history. Barely 17, he faced Yugoslavia in 1982. However, after Souleymane Mamam, his record doesn't seem impressive at all. In 2001, Mamam debuted for Togo against Zambia, which they won 3-2. Yet, it sounds mind-boggling that, officially, he was only 13 years and 310 days old! Later, his age was disputed, with claims that he was two years older. Yet, FIFA still recognizes him as the current record holder, and it's hard to believe he will be beaten.

Unfortunately, Mamam couldn't achieve his potential. While at Manchester United for four years, he never had a single game for the team. Instead, he spent most of his career in the average Belgium side, Royal Antwerp. Interestingly, he played for the MU reserve team in 2011 and even scored, but that wasn't enough. As for his role in the national team, he had only eight caps. Thus, he wasn't called up for the excellent 2006 FIFA World Cup, the only one for Togo.

7. Guaranteed To Score

Jairzinho was unstoppable and took every opportunity to score

A few players have scored hat-tricks at the FIFA World Cup matches Furthermore, a few even got more, with Salenko netting five in 1994! Yet, any team manager would rather have a reliable player who scores less but does it in every game. Still, the only two players ever managed to do so, and it's hard to tell who was more impressive. While Just Fontaine scored an incredible 13 goals for France in the 1958 World Cup (most goals in a single World Cup tournament), many don't know that he scored in each of his six games! Yet, despite his performance, France easily lost in the semifinals, with Brazil destroying them 5-2. Nevertheless, ending up third was an excellent result.

To many, Jairzinho was still more impressive when he did it for Brazil in 1970. Despite playing with offensive giants like Tostão, Pelé, and Rivellino, he scored in all six games! Furthermore, unlike Fontain, he became the world champion. In total, he scored seven goals, including a decider against England in the group stage. Incredibly, he still didn't win the Golden Boot. Instead, it went to German Gerd Müller, who buried an impressive 10 goals.  

6. The Captain Forever and Always

Márquez was a weapon in every part of the pitch

Rafael Márquez is a national hero in Mexico and one of the few people who played at five FIFA World Cups. It sounds incredible, but he spent 21 years serving his national team. While he had his first cap in 1997, he would miss the 1998 World Cup in France. As the bizarre story goes, his debut was a mistake by the coach Bora Milutinović, who was meant to call another player - César Márquez. As Rafa had no other caps until 1999, this story sounds legit.

However, Márquez never missed another World Cup until the end of his career. Even more impressively, he was a captain in the 2002 tournament, despite being only 23. The same was the case in the next four competitions, so he was the captain five times in total! This achievement seems impossible to break, as the World Cup's youngest players rarely earn this honor. Furthermore, they would have to play for the national team for almost two decades and qualify for every World Cup! Therefore, Rafa has most World Cup appearances by player, sharing the record with Antonio Carbajal, Lothar Matthäus, Andrés Guardado, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

5. Who Needs Attackers to Win the Title?

Unless you are a Spaniard, you probably won't enjoy this

When association football was established in the 19th century, most teams played in a 1-2-7 formation. While that radically changed, every one of the weakest teams played with at least one forward. Nonetheless, Spain changed all that in their 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign. Despite having one of the strongest teams, their coach Vincente Del Bosque insisted on a weird 4-6-0 formation. Spain kept the ball with the tiki-taka style but had difficulty scoring. Thus, they even lost their opening match against Switzerland

However, they recovered and won the next six games, including a final against The Netherlands. Incredibly, they scored only eight times in seven games, less than all other winners. While their games were boring and unattractive, this was still an incredible feat that will hardly ever be beaten. Four years later, it seemed everyone figured out how to beat tiki-taka, as Spain suffered a disaster.

4. The Round of 16 Curse

Mexico was surprisingly close to breaking the circle against Argentina in 2006

If someone told you that your national team would qualify for the World Cup eight times in a row, would you accept it? Even better, what if it meant that every time they'll manage to get in the elimination round? Yet, would you still accept that, knowing that the round of 16 will always mean the end of the road? Still, that's exactly what happens to the Mexican national team! While in 1970 and 1986, they reached the quarterfinals, other campaigns weren't as successful.

Yet, after a ban in 1988 that made them miss Italy 1990, Mexico qualified for every World Cup. Furthermore, they managed to get out of the group stage every time, an incredible eight times in a row. However, even when they had a beatable opponent, they were either awful or unlucky. In 1994, they lost to Bulgaria on penalties, and 12 years later, Argentina eliminated them after extra time. However, they often faced strong opponents, including Germany, Argentina (twice), The Netherlands, and Brazil. Still, with so many tries, you would think that the big numbers theory would be on their side. However, it doesn't seem to work for Mexicans. As for bittersweet achievements in World Cup football, this is the biggest one! Unfortunately for them, the streak ended in 2022.

3. The Kings of Perfect And the Worst Defense

Switzerland missed their greatest opportunity to leave a mark

When you look at the World Cup records, you'll quickly see the pattern. Almost all the positive ones are in the hands of the best teams, while negatives are reserved for minions. Yet, Switzerland is a massive anomaly. When "Schweizer Nati" debuted at the 1934 World Cup, they won the initial game against The Netherlands before Czechoslovakia eliminated them in the next round. Both times, the result was 3-2. Why are these results important, you may ask? Well, they started a trend that lasted for an incredible 60 years! In this period, Switzerland played 22 games, conceding at least one goal every time! 

However, the lousy spell finally ended in 2006, as they managed a goalless draw against France. Yet, no one could know that's only the beginning of something even more incredible. After surviving France, Switzerland beat Togo and South Korea, both times 2-0. That meant they would face Ukraine in the round of 16, a team they could beat. However, Ukraine triumphed on penalties in a dull 0-0 game. Ultimately, Switzerland became the only team to complete the World Cup tournament without allowing a goal!

2. When Every Match Was Like a Final

Typical Argentina in 1990 - always struggling but surviving

In 1990, Argentina came to the World Cup in Italy as a world champion and one of the favorites. However, things radically changed, as they sensationally lost the opening game versus Cameroon after some brutal actions. From that moment, Argentina was in a survival mode like we'd never seen before. After beating the Soviets in the second game (with Maradona stopping a goal with his hand and getting away with it), they only drew against Romania. Therefore, they barely qualified for the knockout stage, facing Brazilians, who won all their games.

Once again, Argentina was awful, as Brazil kept missing. However, one moment of brilliance from Maradona was enough for Caniggia to score, taking them further. In the next two rounds, Argentina couldn't beat 10-men Yugoslavia before penalties, then eliminated Italy the same way. Yet, in the finals against West Germany, they suffered another defeat. In a horrible game, the Germans won thanks to a controversial penalty, becoming world champions for the third time. Overall, Argentina became the statistically worst team to ever reach the finals. In seven games, they won only two, scored five goals, and had a plus one goal difference. Yet, sometimes being lucky is more important than being good!

1. The Shortest Road to Title

Uruguay needed only one great game to win the title

Unless you are a host nation or a World Champion (until 2006), you must qualify for the World Cup. This means that a world champion needs to play close to 20 games or more in their campaigns. Thus, FIFA World Cup schedule usually is brutal. However, in 1950 Uruguay achieved something that no one talks about. As everyone was so fascinated with their triumph against Brazil, many failed to recognize how they did it. Believe it or not, their road from qualifiers to the world title took only four games! The 1950 World Cup was one of the worst FIFA World Cups ever. However, a mess started with qualifications, as only 34 teams entered them. 

Yet, it all took a bizarre turn once 15 nations withdrew, which inspired a famous myth. This included Ecuador and Peru, two of Uruguay's opponents. This meant that their only rival was Paraguay, but as the two top teams from every group qualified, they didn't have to play each other. At the World Cup, Uruguay was in a group with only Bolivia and France, as even some qualified teams decided not to travel to Brazil. Surprisingly, France decided to join them at the last moment, so Uruguay only had to face a pathetic Bolivian team. After humiliating them 8-0, Uruguay entered the final stage, barely surviving Spain (2-2), and won against Sweden (3-2), despite losing for almost the whole game. Yet, their incredible upset win against Brazil made them win the title while playing only four games! No doubt, this was one of the worst teams to triumph in the World Cup, but no one will ever forget them.

All of these records and World Cup fun facts are incredible, and beating any of them in Qatar 2022 will be hard. However, don't doubt that weirdness will continue, giving us more incredible stories. While many of these records aren't positive, they are fascinating and deserve the spotlight.

Did you know about any of these bizarre records? Could you name a few that we've missed?

Cover photo: gunthersimmermacher/Pixabay



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Zeith Says:

I had no idea about Uruguay in 1950, four games to win the title with only great game played is shocking. This won't ever happen again.

November 23 at 03:46:13 PM

potranza Says:

That was insane, and I've never seen anyone mentioning it.

November 23 at 04:06:59 PM

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