Italy were on the wrong side of a timeless international result on Thursday evening when North Macedonia left their 2022 World Cup hopes in tatters. With backs against the wall, Aleksandar Trajkovski popped up with a fantastic long-range strike in stoppage time to spark scenes of chaos and jubilation from the visiting bench.
Having lost all three group stage matches at Euro 2020, their first ever major tournament appearance, North Macedonia came into Thursday’s World Cup qualifying play-off against Italy as massive underdogs. That much seems natural given that the hosts went on to win the tournament last summer long after the minnows were sent packing.
Trajkovski’s late effort put North Macedonia through to the World Cup qualifying play-off final where they will face Portugal on Tuesday. Italy, meanwhile, miss out on their second consecutive World Cup tournament after failing to qualify for Russia 2018.
As the dust settles on a match destined for the history books, Express Sport takes a look at three more international results that shocked the world:
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England 1-2 Iceland
With Roy Hodgson at the helm and a youthful duo of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane in attack, it appeared to be business as usual when Wayne Rooney fired in from the penalty spot after just four minutes of England’s Euro 2016 Round of 16 clash with Iceland.
Boasting a population of around 300,000, or approximately half the size of Sheffield, the minnows hit back twice before the 20-minute mark to lead 2-1. Many still felt as though the Three Lions had plenty of time to react, but none of their 18 shots hit the target and Iceland saw out a famous result which ultimately prompted Hodgson’s resignation.
Brazil 1-7 Germany
Brazil being dealt their heaviest defeat in international history is reason enough to sit up and take note, but happening in the semi-final of their home World Cup is another thing altogether. The watching world could scarcely believe their eyes in 2014 when Germany took a 5-0 lead within half an hour in Belo Horizonte.
Miroslav Klose gave Germany a 2-0 lead in the 23rd minute. A mere six minutes later, Brazil were staring down the barrel of a five-goal deficit and a shellshocked home crowd who could hardly fathom the extent of the humiliation their five-time World Cup winners were getting on home turf.
A second-half double from Andre Schurrle and a late consolation for Oscar rounded off an all-time classic and set Germany on the path to a fourth World Cup triumph.
Portugal 0-1 Greece
As with Brazil, and indeed Italy on Thursday night, there is always an added element of shock when a talented team is toppled in their own backyard. That is exactly what happened to Portugal when the Euro 2004 final was played in Lisbon.
Boasting an embarrassment of talent such as Ricardo Carvalho, Deco, Rui Costa, Deco, Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, the hosts were widely expected to wipe the floor with their overmatched opponents. But Angelos Charisteas etched himself into football folklore with a second-half goal that won Greece the trophy and left onlookers in disbelief.