Tuesday, 2 March 2010


See previous post for questions!

Sweden played Romania in Stanford, California, and the side from Scandinavia emerged triumphant in a penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw. In the semi-final the Swedes met Brazil for the second time in the tournament, having qualified for the knock-out stages from the same group as the eventual champions.

Cuba was the nation on the end of that trouncing - way back in 1938. That remains the Caribbean nation's only appearance at the Finals, and to qualify for the dizzy heights of the last eight they only had to beat Romania, which they did in a replay. Their World Cup record therefore reads: played 3, won 1, drawn 1, lost 1.

Italy and Spain, with the former emerging victorious on both occasions. In 1934 the match had to be replayed after a 1-1 draw, and in 1994 Robert Baggio scored a late winner shortly after an incident involving Mauro Tassoti's elbow. Spanish midfielder Luis Enrique was left with a bloody nose, but the incident went totally unnoticed by the referee.

In 1954, in a fiercely contested quarter-final between bitter rivals and central European neighbours, Austria overcame host nation Switzerland 7-5 in the highest scoring match in World Cup Finals history. The Austrian reward? A semi-final with mighty West Germany - and a 6-1 thrashing.

13 of the 18 World Cups have used a format that included a quarter-final stage. The five tournaments that DIDN'T were 1930, 1950, 1974, 1978 and 1982.

Uruguay were beaten 4-0 by West Germany, and Argentina lost out by a single goal to host nation England, who went on to win the World Cup for the first and only time so far in their history.

Peru were beaten 4-2 in Guadalajara by the best Brazil side ever. This was Peru's best showing of their four appearances at the World Cup Finals, the last of which was in 1982.

Three quarter-finals were decided by the dreaded spot-kicks. West Germany put paid to host nation Mexico after a dour 120 minutes of goalless football, France beat Brazil in one of the most riveting World Cup matches ever, and the surprise team of the tournament Belgium progressed to the last four by beating perennial underachievers Spain.

Of the 13 tournaments that used a format including quarter-finals, Germany have only failed to reach them on one occasion. Their 12 appearances in the last eight is two better than the next best team, which - unsurprisingly - is Brazil.

Turkey beat Senegal by a golden goal in 2002 to advance to the semi-finals.

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