Belgium defeated Japan in their pre-quarterfinal match in Russia, 2018. here we take a stroll down the memory lane and revisit some of the best comebacks in World Cup knockouts history.
FIFA World Cup 2018: Belgium defeated Japan in their pre-quarterfinal match in Russia, 2018. In the process of doing that, the “Red Devils” achieved a feat that had not been done for the past 48 years. It became the first team to come down from two-plus goals down to win a World Cup knockout match within 90 minutes. Everything had changed in the last 20 minutes of the game. From being two goals down, the Eden Hazard-led side scored three goals. It is those incredible stakes and pressure situation that makes a World Cup knockout comeback so exciting. So here we take a stroll down the memory lane and revisit some of the best comebacks in World Cup knockouts history.
South Korea vs Italy (2-1), 2002 World Cup Round of 16
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Hosts South Korea had begun the tournament well as they finished topped their group which had the likes of the US, Portugal, and Poland. Italy, on the other hand, had struggled as they suffered a shocking loss to Croatia in the group stage. Even then, the former champions were still considered favorites heading into the game against the host. South Korea was awarded an early penalty but they failed to capitalize. Italy responded with an opening goal. The South Koreans continued to fight and in the 88th-minute Korean winger, Seol Ki-Hyeon struck the equalizer. Just as a penalty shoot-out seemed inevitable, Ahn Jung Hwan struck the final goal and won the match for his team.
Italy vs Czechoslovakia ( 2-1), 1934 World Cup Final
The scoreboard read 0-0 until the 70th minute, Antonin Puc goal for Czechoslovakia had put the Calcios on the brink of a World Cup exit. Czechoslovaks seemed to be heading towards a victory before Raimundo Orsi equalized in the 81st minute. The game headed into extra-time and Angelo Schiavo’s goal ensured the trophy for Italy.
Portugal vs North Korea ( 5-3), 1966 World Cup Quarterfinal
In terms of the scale of a comeback, this game can be ranked the best in World Cup knockout stage history. No team has ever recovered from a three-goal deficit in the quadrennial tournament’s history. Faced by Portugal in the quarterfinal, North Koreans scored within the very first minute. It was followed by two excellent goals- courtesy of excellent teamwork had put them 3-0 up within the first 25 minutes. Every individual in the stadium was in shock except for the legendary Eusebio. The striker pulled one back with an excellent finish. By the end of the first half, the Black Panther scored another goal through a penalty. North Korea defended desperately to prevent an equalizer but Eusebio was determined to end the Koreans’ fairytale run. He smashed his third goal and with completed his hat-trick. Three minutes after equalizing, he made a brilliant run from the halfway line to the six-yard box only to be brought down by a defender. Converting the ensuing penalty, Eusebio had completed one of the greatest comebacks in football history.