The Most Heartwrenching World Cup Losses Captured on Camera

Ibrahim Hassan of Egypt
David Cannon

Winners of the World Cup earn a large sum of prize money and the glory that comes with a global victory. The losers can either handle their loss with poise or agitation, and more often than not, the latter response takes over. Brazil, Argentina, France; they are all great teams who have won the prestigious World Cup at least once, but they have also all tasted the sour sensation of defeat more times than they’ve won. The looks on their players’ faces, from historical matches from the 1950s FIFA World Cup to today’s games say it all—we just cannot all be winners. In honor of the blood, sweat, and tears shed by losing World Cup players throughout the decades, here are some of the most heart wrenching losses captured on camera.

Derek Millward – PA Images

An injured Pele of Brazil trudges off as his side lose to Portugal 3-1 during the World Cup Tournament second-round match at Goodison Park, Everton in Liverpool. Photo by Derek Millward – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images.

Jean-Yves Ruszniewski

Michel Platini of France sits on the pitch during the 1986 FIFA World Cup semi-final against Germany. Germany won 2-0. Photo by Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images.

David Cannon

A dejected Oliver Kahn of Germany during the Germany v Brazil, World Cup Final match played at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan on June 30, 2002. Brazil won 2-0. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images.

Ross Kinnaird

Edmundo, Rivaldo, Cafu and Roberto Carlos of Brazil hang their heads in despair after losing the World Cup Final against France at the Stade de France in St Denis, 1998. France won 3-0. Photo by Ross Kinnaird /Allsport.


French footballer Michel Platini leaves the field after France lost the match against Argentina, during the football World Cup match on June 6, 1978, in Buenos Aires. Photo credit should read ROBERT DELVAC/AFP/Getty Images.

Getty Images

A Dutch player lies distraught whilst his teammate tries to console him after the World Cup final between Holland and Argentina at the Monumental in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1978. Argentina won the match 3-1. Photo by Allsport UK /Allsport.


Brazilian footballers Djalma Santos, Pelé and Gilmar mourn for their victory over Sweden in the World Cup final at Rasunda Stadium in Solna, Sweden in 1958. Photo by Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

Alex Livesey

Sylvain Wiltord of France and the French players show their dejection following their defeat in a penalty shootout at the end of the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Final match between Italy and France at the Olympic Stadium on July 9, 2006 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images.


Brazil’s goalkeeper Taffarel raises his hand in victory as Italian keeper Gianluca Pagliuca covers his face after Brazil captured its fourth World Cup Championship by defeating Italy 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out in Los Angeles, CA, 1994. Photo by: Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Central Press

Portuguese striker Eusebio in tears after Portugal’s defeat to England in the semi-final of the 1966 World Cup at Wembley Stadium, 26th July 1966. Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.


Argentina’s forward Sergio Aguero reacts after losing the 2014 FIFA World Cup final football match between Germany and Argentina 1-0 following extra-time at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13, 2014. Photo by Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images.

Jerome Prevost

Disappointment of Netherlands’ goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (L) with his substitude Ed de Goey after their team was defeated by Brazil in the 1998 FIFA World Cup semi-finals. Photo by Jerome Prevost/TempSport/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images.


Argentinian national soccer team captain and midfielder Diego Maradona cries after his team lost to West Germany 1-0 on a penalty kick by defender Andreas Brehme in the World Cup final, 08 July 1990 in Rome. Photo by STAFF/AFP/Getty Images.

ullstein bild Dtl.

1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland. Semi-final in Lausanne: Hungary 4 – 2. Uruguay, after extra time, is scoring the lead for Hungary past goalie Maspoli. Photo by Ullstein Bild via Getty Images.

David Cannon

Ibrahim Hassan of Egypt weeps after their defeat in the World Cup match against England in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Cagliari, Italy. England won the match 1-0. Photo by David Cannon/Allsport.