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Pies Classics: Top Seven Scariest World Cup Groups Of Death

By Ollie Irish

Seven of the most chilling GoDs in World Cup history:

1. ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, ITALY – Group C, Second Phase, 1982 World Cup

Who made it out alive? Italy defeated both the South American superpowers, in two classic encounters (they beat Argentina 2-1 and Brazil 3-2, the latter being one of the World Cup’s greatest ever matches), to escape this particularly fatal little threesome. The Italians went on to win the World Cup final, and after escaping this group, they deserved it.

* * * * *


Who made it out alive? Argentina and Holland didn’t have too much trouble with this one, despite pre-tournament predictions that Serbia – who had qualified with ease – and Ivory Coast were very strong dark horses.

* * * * *

3. ENGLAND, BRAZIL, USSR, AUSTRIA – Group 4, 1958 World Cup

Who made it out alive? England didn’t get through, despite not losing a match. They drew all three games but lost out to Brazil, the eventual winners, and USSR. Tough break.

* * * * *


Who made it out alive? Sweden topped the group, with England sneaking through in second, thanks to a 1-0 win over the Argies (and David Beckham’s cathartic penalty – see photo).

* * * * *

5. ARGENTINA, ITALY, FRANCE, HUNGARY – Group 1, 1978 World Cup

Who made it out alive? Italy and hosts Argentina, who went on to lift the trophy on home soil.

* * * * *

6. USA, KOREA DPR, SWEDEN, NIGERIA – Group B, 2007 Women’s World Cup

Who made it out alive? Three of the top-five-ranked sides in women’s football met in the women’s World Cup. USA and Korea progressed at the expense of the third-ranked Swedes. For the record, Germany won the tournament, beating Brazil in the final.

* * * * *

7. ITALY, GHANA, CZECH REPUBLIC, USA – Group E, 2006 World Cup

Who made it out alive? Italy and Ghana were pushed to the limit by the other two but emerged triumphant. The Italians won the tournament, proving again that it’s often a good thing to be tested in the group stages.

* * * * *

Fletch says:


“I once marked Death, man-to-man. Ninety minutes of sheer hell for him, then he wouldnae even swap shirts, the wee bastard.”

A version of this post was first published in December 2009

Who will come out on top in this years group of death? Place your World Cup bet with today.

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By Ollie Irish on June 2nd, 2010 in Top 10s & lists, World Cup. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

22 Responses to “Pies Classics: Top Seven Scariest World Cup Groups Of Death”

  1. Thom says:

    Euro 2008 Qualifying Group E: England, Croatia, Russia, and Israel. Oh, wait…
    Still pissed off.

  2. OmegaSupreme says:

    Take home lesson from this is that surviving a group of death makes you stronger and gives you impetus for winning the tourney.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Leeds’ run in the chapions league 2000/01
    first group:
    AC Milan
    Second Group:
    Real Madrid

  4. Gaspode says:

    Group E: Mexico 1986
    Germany, Denmark, Uruguay and Scotland.
    Why are the Scots always in the “Group of Death”?
    Don’t you fret, lads. We’ll always have Paris.

  5. Saq says:

    These groups were a little tasty!!!
    Euro 2004:
    Germany, Holland, Czech Republic, Latvia
    Euro 1988:
    West Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark

  6. Hootie says:

    I don’t think the Fletch thing is going to get old for me.

  7. Ollie says:

    @ Hootie – oh, it will, no doubt!

  8. sairam says:

    hahaha… good one @ fletcher!!

  9. samhumphreys says:

    haha yeah the Fletch is classic…
    How good is England’s group though :)

  10. C says:

    I love the fact that you are throwing in Fletch in articles here and there. Even if he’s a manc ;)

  11. Yahhh Steve says:

    The REAL group of death from the 2006 WC was Netherlands, Argentina, Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro.

  12. Euro 2008 Group C:


    Two World Cup Finalists joined by the Dutch who had been defeated and held to a draw by the Romanians during the qualifiers. This group could have been completely different if it weren’t for controversial goals (Italy vs Netherlands), Buffon’s heroics (Romania vs. Italy).

  13. shay says:

    Lovin’ the Fletch!

  14. ben says:

    English people:

    Please refrain from using adjectives used in describing food when talking about other things. It’s very gross to the rest of us. Example: ‘Fletch’s tackle was just delicious!’ or ‘That looks like it has the makings of a tasty match!’ See, it’s like you want to eat a dirty Scott’s tackle. Just disgusting…

  15. […] lists the scariest World Cup ‘Group of […]

  16. Deckard says:

    Group A & B in the 1978 World Cup

    A: Holland, West-Germany, Italy, Austria
    B: Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Peru

    Both Poland and Peru were good sides back in 1978. In fact, I’d say formidable sides with Lato(Pol) and Cubillas(Per). That dodgy Arg 6-0 Peru game really skewed the image of the whole WC really.

  17. […] in Brazil’s World Cup group, a group so difficult that it has earned the traditional ‘Group of Death‘ […]

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Group E: Mexico 1986. Germany, Denmark, Uruguay and Scotland. The first time I ever heard the words, Group of Death…

  19. Andrew says:

    Yes, Group E: Mexico 1986, Germany, Denmark, Uruguay and Scotland. The first time I ever heard the phrase Group of Death…

  20. dudas says:

    Gala’s champions league second group 2001/2002


  21. […] mentre la terza squadra è il Brasile. Non è un girone della morte. È il girone della morte, per antonomasia. Le tre nazionali insieme fanno sei titoli mondiali, su appena undici sino a quel momento […]

  22. Anatoliy Shukhman says:

    2014 Group G:
    Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana

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