With the Pool A World Championships less than 2 weeks away, how about listing some of the biggest upsets in WC history. Here are a few of mine, in no particular order.
WC 1971 in Bern/Geneva, Switzerland: West Germany 2 - Sweden 1, during the first half of the 1970s, only 6 countries played in Pool A, playing twice against each other. Since 1965, W. Germany had only played in the A-Pool once (in 1967). Its record in WC against Sweden in the 1960s was 0-6, outscored 47-7. This victory marked West Germany's first WC win against Sweden as goalie Christer Abrahamsson suffered the loss in goal for the Swedes.
WC 1976 in Katowice, Poland: Poland 6 - USSR 4, as 22-year-old rookie forward Wieslaw Jobczyk poured in 3 goals for the Poles and goalie Andrzej Tkacz held the fort, while seldom used Soviet backup goalie Alexander Sidelnikov got a rare start before he gave up 4 goals in 24 minutes and had to be yanked for Vladislav Tretiak.
WC 1977 in Vienna, Austria: Romania 5 - USA 4, as Romanian goalie Valerian Netedu played brilliantly and this game marked the highlight of his long career. Netedu played in net for all 10 games in this tournament. The victory against the USA was Romania's only win and they were relegated to Pool B for the next year.
WC 1982 in Helsinki, Finland: West Germany 4 - Czechoslovakia 2, marking the first victory ever for W. Germany over the Czechs in a WC. West Germany raced out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back, relying on goalie Karl Friesen to shut down the powerful Czech offence, which included Novy, Liba, Ihnacak, Pouzar, Rusnak, Pasek, Korbela, Cernik, Richter, Lukac, Kokrment.
WC 1982 in Helsinki, Finland: Italy 3 - Canada 3, Team Canada featured such stars as Gretzky, Sittler, Hawerchuk, Gartner, Clarke, Gainey, Bobby Smith, Vaive, Ciccarelli, Barber, Napier, Propp but had to rally to tie the game on a goal from Van Boxmeer with 13 minutes to play. Canada outshot Italy 53-23 but couldn't decisively beat Italy goalie Jim Corsi. Italy, composed of many Canadian-Italians, later went on to beat USA 7-5, and secured Italy a berth in Pool A for the next year at the expense of the Americans.
WC 1986 in Moscow, USSR: Poland 2 - Czechoslovakia 1, on the opening day of the WC, Jerzy Christ scored both Polish goals on Czech goalie Jaromir Sindel while Petr Rosol scored a late goal for the Czechs. It was another stunning, yet useless victory for Poland. They beat the defending world champions but finished last and Poland was relegated to the B Pool for the next year.
Other notable upsets:
WC 1947 in Prague: Austria 2 - Sweden 1
WC 1972 in Prague: Switzerland 3 - Finland 2
WC 1991 in Finland: Switzerland 4 - Czechoslovakia 3
WC 1995 in Sweden: France 4 -Canada 1
WC 1998 in Basel: France 3 - USA 1
WC 1998 in Basel: Switzerland 4 - Russia 2 (Swiss 1st win ever over Russia/USSR)
WC 1998 in Basel: Italy 4 -USA 0
WC 2000 in Russia: Norway 4 -Canada 3
WC 2000 in Russia: Latvia 3 - Russia 2
WC 2000 in Russia: Belarus 1 - Russia 0
WC 2001 in Germany: Austria 3 - USA 0
WC 2003 in Finland: Denmark 5 - USA 2
WC 2003 in Finland: Denmark 2 - Canada 2
WC 2003 in Finland: Latvia 2 - Russia 1
WC 2004 in Prague: Austria 2 - Canada 2