Top 10 Worst FIFA World Cups That People Remember For Their Infamous Stories

The moment is almost here. The period of unrestrained optimism and final heartbreak. This is the era when you shout and cheer on a giant screen in the middle of a metropolis while suffering from sunstroke and sweat that stings your eyes. Welcome to the World Cup 2022!
Whether a specific World Cup is fantastic or awful, we all have memories associated with significant competitions, for better or worse. And before this year’s World Cup, we decided to review and seek out the top 10 worst FIFA World Cups that have taken place since 1930. We had disagreements and spreadsheets; data and reason clashed with instinct and raw emotion. Finally, we came out with a solid ranking from "the least bad" to "the worst of the worst." as well as becoming smarter, more appreciative of one another's viewpoints, and most importantly, stronger.
What, then, were those events, people, and results that we'll always remember more vividly than the birthdays and anniversaries of the people we love? Here is how we accomplished it first of all. You'll undoubtedly disagree with us, so please, by all means, leave a comment down below, so everyone can discuss.

#10 England 1966 - Pele As a Punching Bag

Source: FIFA

Being the ninth worst isn't all that horrible considering there have only been 21 World Cups! In the 1966 edition, England finally won the World Cup, and North Korea came dangerously close to reaching the quarterfinals. In addition, the competition shattered records as 70 nations entered the qualifying round and 16 made it to the finals. The average visit was close to 50,000, and the media attention was better than ever!
But there were some substantial dark clouds. Due to their lack of a guaranteed spot in the finals, the African confederation made the decision to boycott the World Cup. Even though it was fortunately found, the Jules Rimet FIFA World Cup trophy's theft shamed England as well. Furthermore, how could we overlook the decisive Geoff Hurst goal that won England the win? Finally, a lot of people have forgotten that Pelé was hurt by vicious fouls, which caused Brazil to lose the game.

#9 Italy 1990 - When the Forwards Went on a Holiday

Source: FIFA

Italy 1990 was a celebration of defensive soccer, controversy, and subpar play from some of the top teams in the globe. Additionally, the competition compelled FIFA to make some significant adjustments for the following competition. This FIFA World Cup had the lowest goal average ever (2.21 goals per game), and it is likely to hold that record indefinitely. The worst case was group F, which had just one victory in six games despite seven goals being scored.
The tournament included teams who would never play again, taking place amid unsettling times. A year later, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia were all broken up, while West and East Germany merged. Numerous unpleasant games were also played, notably each and every game Argentina played in as they once again advanced to the championship round with Maradona. Oh, the championship game is still regarded as being among the worst in history!

#8 Chile 1962 - Ultraviolence for the Win

Source: FIFA

Chile 1962 would come out on top if this were a rating of the most violent and toxic FIFA World Cups. Many teams used violence during the competition, and it was virtually encouraged. It took a lot of effort to be expelled at the time because referees allowed so much. The "Battle of Santiago," which featured an exceptionally hostile Chilean crowd and media demanding blood during a match against Italy featuring the youngest World Cup participant, Gianni Rivera, was the culmination of it all. Surprisingly, the game featured just two red cards, both given to Italian players.
Even though Chile ultimately came in third place, their achievement will always be marred by questionable referee calls that permitted them to play rough. The tactic was used by numerous other teams, which led to Pelé's early elimination from the competition. Additionally, this was the first tournament with a goal average under three, and it was also by far the most defensive.

#7 Argentina 1978 - The One Where Argentina Had to Win

Source: FIFA

Argentina won its first championship in 1978, but few people have good memories of it. The nation became a dictatorship two years before the competition. Even during the competition, many Argentinians were imprisoned and killed. Although it wasn't unusual for the referees to treat the host nation better, this practice was excessive.
Argentina played its games last, therefore they were fully aware of the outcome required to advance. The worst incident occurred during Argentina's match versus Peru, which they needed to win by at least four goals. They added two more goals and advanced, although allegations persist to this day concerning threats and bribery made against Peruvian players. Although the Netherlands competed in the entire tournament without the best player in the world, Johan Cruyff, it is unlikely that the final will be remembered as a classic.

#6 South Africa 2010 - Attack of the Mosquitos

Source: FIFA

To be nice, let's just say that blowing vuvuzelas during each game was quite bothersome. The first—and perhaps final—tournament when you could hardly hear supporters applauding was this one. Everything revolved around the repetitive hum, which sounded like a huge cloud of mosquitoes.
South Africa 2010 would be regarded as one of the worst tournaments even without it. Stadiums around the nation were seldom ready in time, and the activity lacked in quality. There were just 2.27 goals scored per game, with several teams playing very defensive football. Spain, who played the majority of the tournament without a single attacker, was by far the worst offender! They were successful in doing this since they ultimately prevailed despite only scoring eight goals in seven games.

#5 Brazil 1950 - The Unwanted Tournament

Source: FIFA

Even before it began, the first FIFA World Cup following World War II was a fiasco. The qualification process was the worst in history because so many countries declined to take part. With the exception of Yugoslavia, all Eastern European nations boycotted the occupation of Germany and Japan. The withdrawal of some teams during the qualifiers, including three South American and Asian nations, was even stranger. The instance of Austria, though, was the most astounding. They withdrew under the pretext that they lacked sufficient experience, whatever that meant. 16 teams managed to qualify for the competition, but the gloomy skies persisted.
Later, France made the decision to leave; Scotland, India, and Turkey were the following. Since there were only two teams in group 4 as a result, Uruguay advanced to the next round by thrashing the feeble Bolivian team. Oh, the Bolivians were only present in the competition because other teams pulled out. Regarding the games, many people will only recall the championship game, in which Uruguay defeated Brazil in front of 200.000 spectators in Rio de Janeiro. The top four teams competed in the group round, therefore this wasn't even the actual championship game. Fortunately, this strange system was never again employed.

#4 Italy 1934 - Fascist Celebration

Source: FIFA

The 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy was widely anticipated to be a dismal event. Benito Mussolini, a fascist dictator who was already in charge, did all in his power to assist Italy to win the competition. Threats and claims of bribes are rampant! Undoubtedly, the host nation had a potent squad that won both this and the following World Cups in addition to winning the Olympic Games.
This event will also be known for its violent incidents that left many people hurt. Additionally, there was only a knockout stage, which was the lowest possible tournament setup. Only 17 games were played in total, and half of the teams left after one.

#3 France 1938 - When Hitler Helped Sweden

Source: FIFA

1938 brought Nazism to the fascism that dominated 1934. The competition was even attempted to be hosted by Germany, so things could have been much worse! Hitler nevertheless contributed significantly to the competition. Austria joined Germany in 1938, and because they had previously qualified, their position remained vacant. As a result, Sweden advanced directly to the quarterfinals!
Again, there was no group stage, thus there were just 18 games in the tournament, which featured teams as unusual as Cuba and the former Dutch East Indies, which is now Indonesia. Both teams didn't compete at this level again. The best thing about France in 1938 is that Italy, who easily defeated Hungary in the championship game, was in fact a deserving winner.

#2 Uruguay 1930 - Not Really a World Cup

Source: FIFA

Although it was far from the best, the inaugural FIFA World Cup will always hold a significant position in soccer history. The only participants in this inaugural tournament were from South America, North America, and Europe. Only 13 nations competed for the championship because some of the teams withdrew.
Both Uruguay and Argentina humiliated their opponents by a score of six to one in the semifinal match. Particularly in the match against Yugoslavia, it is said that the officials gave the hosts a lot of assistance. And finally, no one is still aware of who finished third! With six goals scored, the championship game at least had some Entertainment value.

#1 Japan & South Korea 2002 - The Undeserving Semifinalists


Nobody anticipated that things would go so badly when Japan and South Korea won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2002. The tournament, which included numerous stars, with Brazilian Ronaldo as the best among them, featured nearly all the best national teams. However, many favorites performed poorly in the group stage, which led to the elimination of Argentina, France, Uruguay, and Portugal. But by that time, unusual things had already begun to occur, and one of the hosts was involved.
You see, South Korea defeated Portugal 1-0 to take first place in their group. However, Portugal suffered savage abuse at the hands of red cards and played the final 30 minutes with just nine players. South Korea narrowly prevailed even then. The worst was still to come, though. The referee turned a blind eye as the Red Devils ruthlessly defeated the Italians in the round of 16. Even worse, they received a reward in the form of a missed penalty that never existed. Francesco Totti, the finest player for the Italians, was simultaneously dismissed for allegedly impersonating a penalty in order to avoid receiving one. Oh, and the Italians' typical golden goal was rejected as well! The Spaniards' two goals were overturned in the quarterfinals for the same reason. After some of the most contentious matches ever, South Korea disgracefully placed fourth, while Brazil handily defeated a weak German team to claim the championship.
The World Cup will continue to be the occasion for the most-watched sport in the world. Some controversies, however, will endure forever and serve as a reminder of the negative aspects of a beautiful game. We only hope that this top ten list won't need to be updated anytime soon!
How many World Cup matches have you seen? Which one do you think was the worst? We'd love to hear your opinions!
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