The ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been an interesting one, producing some shocking results so far in the group stage.
Japan defeated two heavyweights to lead their group against the prediction of the pundits before the start of the football fiesta.
Daily Trust has highlighted below six of the shocking results recorded so far.
Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
A bold and brilliant Saudi Arabia (ranked 51) pulled off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history as they came from behind to stun two-time winners Argentina (ranked 3rd) in a fantastic Group C opener in Lusail.
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Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina came into the tournament among the favourites, on the back of a 36-game unbeaten run that included winning the 2021 Copa America.
Argentina were among the elite teams tipped by many to win the tournament, given their star-studded squad.
In contrast to their opponents, few saw Saudi Arabia making a dent in this tournament. Only Ghana of the 32 nations in attendance ranked lower. Ranked 51st in the world, they had three victories before this, but none of them were bigger.
Japan 2-1 Germany
A stunning late comeback from Japan (ranked 24th in the world) saw four-time winners Germany (ranked 11th) fall to a shock defeat in their opening World Cup game in Qatar.
Germany dominated a frenetic match, but failed to capitalise on their pressure, before Japan caused the Khalifa International Stadium to erupt into a mix of celebration and surprise.
Substitute Takuma Asano squeezed in a thumping strike from a tight angle to make it 2-1 to Japan and ran over to the photographers in the corner of the stadium in sheer delight.
Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan had given Germany the lead from the penalty spot in the first half, before Japan substitute Ritsu Doan equalised in the 75th minute.
The misery of Germany’s early exit from the World Cup in Russia could not be forgotten as Hansi Flick’s side trudged off the field at full-time having suffered defeat at the hands of Asian opposition again.
Their supporters had arrived in hope more than expectation that their young stars would lead them into a new era.
Wales 0-2 Iran
Wales, having returned to the World Cup after 64 years, suffered a last-ditch defeat by Iran in Qatar.
Substitute Roozbeh Cheshmi struck from 20 yards nine minutes into stoppage time before Ramin Rezaeian finished off a counter-attack to seal victory for a revitalised Iran side.
Those were decisive blows to Welsh prospects of victory, which had all but vanished when goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off with four minutes of normal time remaining, following a video assistant referee check, for a reckless challenge on Medhi Taremi.
Wales were utterly ragged and, as they pushed forward in search of the late winning goal they desperately needed, a long ball over the top left the defence exposed and the onrushing Hennessey brought down Taremi.
Hennessey was initially shown a yellow card, but it was changed to a red after the referee was advised to check on the pitchside monitor, with the 35-year-old becoming only the third keeper to be sent off at a World Cup.
This set the seal on Wales’ fate for the match and their hopes of reaching the second round.
Japan 2-1 Spain
Japan staged an extraordinary World Cup comeback to top Group E and reached the last 16 on Thursday, overcoming a stunned Spain side who were fortunate to join them in the knockout stage.
In a tournament that has been full of shocks, this was perhaps the most dramatic night so far, with Spain left relying on the result of Germany’s game with Costa Rica for them to progress.
All four teams had started the evening with a chance of progressing but with Spain needing only a draw to qualify. They were not expected to need any favours from elsewhere.
La Roja, ranked 7th in the world, were cruising at the break after Alvaro Morata headed home Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross from close range, but Japan would quickly turn the game – and the whole of Group E – on its head.
The Samurai Blue sent on substitutes Ritsu Doan and Kaoru Mitoma at half-time and within six minutes of the restart, they had both made a huge impact.
Doan equalised with a fierce shot from the edge of the area and, only 142 seconds later, Mitomo retrieved Doan’s low cross and found Ao Tanaka to bundle home from close range in dramatic circumstances.
The goal was initially ruled out by the assistant referee who signalled Doan’s cross had gone out of play, but the VAR ruled Mitomo had reached it in time.
Luis Enrique’s side were in big trouble and were showing few signs of knowing how to rescue themselves, with only Germany’s late rally sending La Roja through as group runners-up on goal difference.
South Korea 2-3 Ghana
Ghana (ranked 61) won an exhilarating match packed with twists and turns against South Korea (ranked 28) in front of a vibrant crowd at Education City Stadium in Qatar.
A 10-minute spell in the first half by the African nation gave them a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu and Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus.
However, noisy celebrations by Ghana fans at halftime were dampened by a South Korea comeback after the break.
Two stunning headers in three minutes from Cho Gue-sung, the top scorer in his domestic league, levelled the game after 61 minutes.
But the impressive Kudus, who had deftly headed in Jordan Ayew’s cross in the first half, added a final twist when he thumped in a third for Ghana to break South Korea’s hearts.
Chances continued to fall South Korea’s way as they searched for another equaliser but, despite 10 minutes of added time, Ghana held on.
Tunisia 1-0 France
France had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside in the final minute of stoppage-time as Tunisia held on to register a shock victory against the defending champions ranked 4th in the latest FIFA ranking.
However, despite the victory, the Tunis, ranked 30th in the world, failed to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup.
Substitute Antoine Griezmann volleyed in a dramatic equaliser at the Education City Stadium, but the VAR decision meant Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazi’s brilliant second-half goal proved to be the winner.
“It’s mixed feelings because we’re happy to beat a team like France,” said Tunisia manager Jalel Kadri.
“We can be proud and leave with our heads high, but it is a bitter victory.
“It would have been beautiful to beat France and reach the last 16. It is our fault for not doing what we needed to do before.”
France, ranked 4th best in the latest FIFA ranking, are through to the last 16 as group winners having already secured qualification with a victory over Denmark in the last game.
There was an outpouring of emotion from a large following of Tunisia fans at the stadium, while Tunisian substitutes sprinted onto the pitch in a moment of pure elation.
But their celebrations were shortlived when news of Australia’s lead began to ripple through the stadium.