These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
The vuvuzela and anyone that uses it. Facebook fanpages sprung up regarding it in seconds, several video games such as Garry's Mod soon ended up with the vuvuzela as an almost unstoppable weapon that killed the user, you get the gist of it.
Argentina, after Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" in the 1986 quarterfinals against England. Argentina went on to win that year. Hilariously, during the 2010 cup, Maradona said in a press conference "Que la sigan chupando" ("Keep sucking it"). It displaced everything else in the news in Argentina for almost a full week, everyone was talking about that and nothing else.
France, after Thierry Henry's "Hand of Frog" during qualifying in 2010 against Ireland; eliminating them in the process. France went on to be eliminated in the Group Stage - after a complete team meltdown in which the players, manager, and coaches ended up refusing to have anything to do with each other in a mutual hatefest that resulted in government investigation. Newspapers in France said about this that "Bad enough that we have the worst team in the tournament, we also have the stupidest." Three years on, Henry himself is still unacceptable in Ireland, and right after the initial match, received death threats from Irish people in the crowd. Although if their performance in the next World Cup was anything to go by, we'd have sucked anyway.
Sepp Blatter for most European fans, with Qatar 2022 also a huge target.
Luis Suarez (from Uruguay) has been this since Africa 2010 after his blatant attempt to handball during a match. After that, his biting a player in 2014 was met with similar scorn and an avalanche of memes.
The Brazilian team, as they normally are very arrogant. It was only subverted when they were trashed 1-7 by Germany and everyone felt sorry for them (but still wouldn't have wanted them to win).
It's done before any international match, but when you listen to two countries' national anthems before a World Cup match, it becomes abundantly clear that this is not just a game, it's a matter of the utmost national pride.
In France 4-1 Kuwait (1982), a goal was annulled because a Sheikh convinced the Soviet referee that the Kuwaiti team stopped after hearing a whistle!
In their second round match in Italy 1990, the Netherlands' Frank Rijkaard spat on West Germany's Rudi Völler's Funny Afro. Twice.note This contributed to both players getting booked, and then sent off, by the middle of the first half.
In England, the victorious Argentinians in 1986. After the whole Hand of God thing.
In spite of Suarez's blatant biting of an individual and a huge dose of Blatant Lies when he tried explaining what "really" happened, Uruguay will not take any criticism of him. Trying to criticise him in his home country is a very good way to be called a traitor or offensive foreign national, and also a good way to have death threats sent your way. Outside of Uruguay, his behaviour is considerably more hated.
Luis Suarez (Uruguay) became one near the end of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for his handball that resulted in Ghana losing a spot in the semifinals. He then bit an Italian player during the group stage during the 2014 Brazil World Cup (not to mention he has has an history of biting players, not counting the numerous controversies he is also associated with).
Dude, Not Funny!: After Qatar was chosen as host for the 2022 championship, Sepp Blatter joked that foreign gay fans should abstain from sex while it was going on (homosexuality is illegal in Qatar). Nobody was amused. Previously, he had suggested that the best way of making women's football more popular would be to make the strips smaller and tighter.
Every other Cup, some African team becomes this, ever since Cameroon in 1990. The latest one was Ghana in 2010.
In 1966 it was, amazingly, North Korea, who beat Italy in the group stage and nearly knocked Portugal out in the quarter-finals (they raced to a 3-0 lead but ultimately lost 5-3). North Korea qualified again in 2010, but not with that much support (though after losing 2-1 to Brazil, 7-0 to Portugal, and 3-0 to Côte d'Ivoire, they certainly drew some compassion...).
Also, some Eastern European teams, like Bulgaria and Romania in 1994, and Croatia in 1998.
A non team example. Due to England's poor performance in 2010, a bird that casually sat on Algeria's goal in their match quickly gained its own following on Facebook and Twitter. Because neither team scored a single goal, the referee and most of the fans apparently wanted to award it the Man of the Match award, but by then it had flown off.
To some extent, the US team in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, being pitted against Ghana, Germany, and Portugal...and still advancing to the next stage. This group has aptly been named the "Second Group of Death". (The first one including Chile, Netherlands, Spain and Australia.)
The Australian team, getting the same group as Chile, Netherlands and Spain. Despite the disadvantage, they played exceptionally well in their first two games, with their match against the Netherlands considered by some as one of the best games of the tournament.
Costa Rica were seeded in the same group as Uruguay, Italy and England, all traditional powerhouses who were champions of the world at least once. No one expected the Costa Rican team to be anything but a punching bag, yet they were the first team of the group to qualify to the next round. Their initial win against Uruguay was already enough to earn them plenty of recognition, and even more so after beating Italy. A victory over Boring, but Practical Greece to qualify Costa Rica to the quarterfinals got even more sympathizers.
The "Miracle of Bern" in 1954 (in which it was supposed that the Germans had been playing under influence of drugs, but there was no antidoping at the time, so no proof of this) and Ronaldo's convulsion fit in 1998 (that it all may have been a cover-up commissioned by Nike to ensure Brazil could win the next tournament and they would host one of the later tournaments) led to a few.
The controversial 1978 World Cup, and not just because of the Argentinian military regime at the time of the cup. It doesn't help that the Peruvian then-goalkeeper, Ramón Quiroga, was born in Argentina...
And again involving Argentina, the alledged poisoning of Brazilian defenders during their match in Italy '90. (Maradona and the team's doctor kinda confirmed this.)
Hungary's shocking 6-0 loss against the USSR (on the 1986 World Cup hosted by Mexico) also spawned a few in Hungary, the most popular of which is "The Pasta Theory" - a speculation about pasta having curious dominance in the various dishes players ate during the preparation to the World Cup. So much so, that every major defeat the national team suffers since 1986 yields numerous cryptic remarks about pasta amongst the fans of the team... No wonder this happened, because the official explanation by the manager of the team was along the lines of "the climate was too hot" and "they scored the first two too early", and all of the players reported experiencing "unexplainable fatigue" before the match started. It's easy to see why this is a breeding ground of conspiracy theories and ridiculous explanation attempts.
You'll be hard pressed to find a Portuguese, Spanish or Italian fan who thinks Korea's victories in 2002 were not the result of some massive conspiracy. While there were questionable decisions they also seem to ignore facts like all three teams missing multiple easy chances or downright dirty play like Joao Pinto damn near destroying the knees of Park Ji-Sung, who would later go on to play for Manchester United and become one of the best Korean players ever.
During the 2014 World Cup, many Brazilians started to spread the Cup was "bought", given the bad officiating and favorites tanking. Of course, this lead to Memetic Mutation parodying the concept (all bad calls are "* bought the Cup!", and a blogger started to search for "evidence" of 13 and a star - symbols of the party of president Dilma Rouseff - in all games). This one came down in the knockout rounds, with Brazil struggling to beat Chile, losing both their captain (Thiago Silva) and star player (Neymar) against Colombia, and then being curbstomped by Germany in the semi-finals. The joke was still reinforced as the first goal was by #13, Thomas Muller. And in the third place match, they conceded their thirteenth goal of the tournament during a 3-0 to the Netherlands.
Fountain of Memes: Many memes have their origin in this cup, such as the infamous headbutt from Zinedine Zidane to Marco Materazzi in the end of the 2006 edition. And the 2010 edition just pushed this to the limits. 2014 has Luis Suarez's bite and Tim Howard's performance against Belgium.
The 2014 cup was accompanied by a German parody show called Hoeggschde Konzentration. The episode right before the match against Brazil had the Germans completely ridicule their opponents, expecting to win 6-0. They went on to win 7-1 in Real Life.
While probably not 'hilarious' in the usual sense, this deliberately Anvilicious warning against problem gambling might pan out differently from expected.
Usually England, who are always painted as a favorite and have just won one Cup (in England 1966). Worst so far was in 2010, due to them being the seen as the "Golden Generation" of English Premier League players. The team consisted of some of the best and most experienced players in the world with most of the starting 11 having known success at the highest levels of club football. They went on to barely get out of the group stage, with two draws and one win, then crashed out to a 4-1 defeat to Germany. They didn't fare better in 2014, being ousted in the group stage for the first time in 56 years (1958).
Other common victims: Brazil (perennial favorite; loses sometimes playing well - 1982, 1986 - or really bad - 1974, 1990, 2006, 2010, 2014), France (with Platini, lost two straight semifinals in the 80's; fell in the group stage in 2002 and 2010, as reigning champions in the former), and Argentina (also fell in the group stage in 2002).
Spain in 2014. The defending champions of 2010 got destroyed by the Netherlands and then dealt the final blow by Chile. A poorly-received performance, only "salvaged" by their victory against Australia.
Every player who gets chosen as the best player of the year prior to the World Cup tends to not go well. While two managed to get to second place (Baggio in 1994 and Ronaldo in 1998), two barely did anything (Ronaldinho in 2006 and Messi in 2010) and the two Portuguese ones fell in the group stage (Figo in 2002 and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2014).
Internet Backdraft: While most victorious bidders tend to cause this from angry fans, Qatar's bid for 2022 has been particularly controversial, in no small part due to the country's homophobic policies, which has caused many gay rights groups to campaign for the bid not to be recognised and for the tournament to be held elsewhere. After the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and the massive anti-gay backlash in Russia, this has only escalated. Money has also been a major issue. There have also been various revelations about how Qatar is abusing foreign migrant workers in conditions that can accurately be described as near-slavery, and many on the Internet are calling on FIFA to revoke Qatar's turn to host because of it, especially since there are a lot of countries that already have stadiums that can host the cup. Then there's Brazil 2014, which had protests/riots in the year leading to the Cup because the government was spending billions preparing for it while the country is already very far in the hole. (The protests did start in a minor key and for another reason, and once the tournament started things calmed down.)
Love It or Hate It: The vuvuzela horn of South Africa. Some people complain it makes the games unwatchable. Other people say they can just tune it out and it just shows the passion of the fans. It has generated a lot of interest and sales of the horns have skyrocketed. Incredibly, YouTube put up a vuvuzela horn button in the bottom right corner of every video.
Saeed Al-Owairan of Saudi Arabia. What he did: he scored an amazing goal in USA 1994 against Belgium and then nothing else worth noting. But then he became known as the "Maradona of the Arabs" and FIFA also included him as one of the 22 top players of the tournament.
In Brazil, Brazilian-born Japanese defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka received his own version of the Chuck Norris Facts after breaking Didier Drogba's arm in a friendly match shortly before the 2010 WC.
The bird that sat on Algeria's goal during their match against England in 2010. Due to the match generally being rather boring, several thousand fans wanted it to get Man of the Match, although sadly it had flown off by the end of it.
Mexican goalie Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa became this fast after his impressive performance in the Mexico/Brazil match.
Robin van Persie became one in Brazil in 2014 for his very impressive header when the Netherlands faced Spain.
The US may have lost against Belgium, but the game made goalkeeper Tim Howard one of these for the Americans, in no small part due to his impressive saves which netted him man of the match and a new tournament record.
2010 has the "joy" of the vuvuzela, a very loud horn that sounds en masse like a deadly bee weapon. Bees...my god. It drowns out all other sound and seemingly never ends.
Thankfully, British Olympic Committee's Sebastian Coe gave the press a statement that he did NOT want vuvuzelas at the 2012 Olympic Games, in London, pointing out that it distracts the athletes during the periods where they need the most of their concentration, like before the 100m finals. The Brazil '14 organization also forbid the vuvuzela at its games.
In Brazil 2014, the Mexican fans' Catch Phrase "PUUUUTOOOOOOO!!" (Spanish for either "manwhore" or "fag") quickly became this.
Narm Charm: The official films from roughly the 1954-70 era. Includes one instance of a young boy entering the stadium without a ticket.
Zinedine Zidane - one of the few players to score in two finals, and he'll still be remembered more for getting sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 final.
Thierry Henry's likely tainted his career with his handball against Ireland in the qualifiers.
Robert Green's gaffe allowing an easy American ball through, giving them the draw. FIFA players were keen to ditch him from their teams after that.
Also the Dutch team: played three finals and lost all three ('74 to West Germany, '78 to Argentina and now 2010 to Spain). Nigel de Jong will be remembered by his kick to Xabi Alonso at the 2010 finals. Especially by the Spanish fans. More so due to the fact that he should have got a straight red for it; Alonso could have been killed given where de Jong kicked him.
Subverted with Yakubu of Nigeria who made a big miss against South Korea which would've equalized the match. However, he made it up when he later equalized through a penalty kick.
In Spain, mentioning Sandor Puhl (referee at the Spain-Italy quarterfinals game of USA '94), Tassotti (Italian player in that same game), or Al-Ghandour (Egyptian referee of the Spain-South Korea quarterfinals game of South Korea-Japan 2002) is bound to elicit some foul words over how they screwed Spanish chances (in '94, Tassotti blatantly broke Luis Enrique's nose with his elbow, and Sandor Puhl didn't send Tassotti off despite seeing how Luis Enrique was profusely bleeding, and in 2002 Al-Ghandour and his linesmen blatantly favoured South Korea, calling for non-existent Spanish offsides, one notorious occasion in which one linesman said the ball had gone out of the field when it hadn't and, finally, not calling for a penalty kick to be repeated after the South Korean keeper moved before he was allowed to.
Evidently, the inventor of the Vuvuzela apologized to the world about his creation.
Argentina will never live down the Hand of God incident, or Simeone getting David Beckham sent off in 1998. They are considered memetic bad losers and cheats in Europe and especially England for this reason.
The defending champions, Spain, in their 2014 World Cup run. First was their loss to the Netherlands 5-1, and were subsequently knocked out with their 2-0 loss to Chile. No one's gonna forget that.
Brazil being thoroughly humiliated in the semi-finals of 2014 World Cup. The host country lost 1-7 to Germany, in their worst performance ever. One commentator mentioned that "It was said of the Brazil team that lost the 1950 final, 'You wouldn't be condemned for this long if you had committed any sort of crime'. In this case, it may well be a life sentence." They didn't even manage to secure 3rd place, instead losing to the Netherlands in an embarrassing 0-3 defeat. Fans reacted less with anger but by quickly switching allegiance to the Dutch, which is even more damning.
One can bet that, after Netherlands's loss to Argentina in the other 2014 semifinals, Dutch coach Van Gaal will be asked the same thing for several years: "WHY DIDN'T YOU SWITCH GK'S THIS TIME?!"
Due to the players being Slave to PR, you might lose your place after doing something wrong before the Cup (Brazil has at least two cases: in 1986, the striker Renato Gaúcho was cut after escaping from the training facilitynote (because of this, winger Leandro, Renato's teammate at Flamengo and friend who was called up for the tournament, refused Telê Santana's call); and striker Adriano wasn't called in 2010 because of bad behavior - going out with drug dealers, organizing bizarre orgies), or even during it (in 1994, Stefan Effenberg was dropped off the German team after Flipping the Bird to the booing audience; in 2014, Kevin-Prince Boateng argued with the Ghana coach following a game, and the federation sent him back home).
Not to be outdone, there's Uli Stein, who at the 1986 World Cup publicly called coach Franz Beckenbauer a "Suppenkasper" (can be roughly translated as "soup clown"), playing on some ads Beckenbauer made for instant soups ten years earlier. Beckenbauer obviously wasn't amused and threw Stein out of the team.
South Korea in 2002. Ask any Italian or Spaniard. Not for the South Koreans though. Korean forward Ahn Jung-Hwan discovered firsthand that scoring Italy's elimination goal while you're in an Italian team is a bad thing, as he got fired.note The team's owner changed his mind, but Ahn (understandably) refused to return Not without reason, prior to 2002 the South Korean team was rife with corruption and favoritism to the point that quite a few analysts attribute Korea's good result in 2002 to Guus Hiddink selecting players purely on talent and skill.
In 2010, while Greece and Nigeria could add South Korea after being eliminated by them,note Though Nigeria should add their own players to their hatelist, because of all the easy goals they missed. the Koreans had their own hatelist in 2010; (some of) its own players and manager. Yeom Ki-Hoon performed extremely poorly in the three matches (that's all of the group stage matches) he was in, and yet the manager, Heo Jung-Moo, keeps using him, leading many South Koreans to think that there might be some corruption in the team.
The same goes for Mexican striker Guillermo Franco, and manager Javier Aguirre for keeping him in the field (and pulling Andrés Guardado and Giovanni dos Santos out, both acknowledged by Mexican fans and media to have played much, much better).
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez became this during the Brazil 2014 qualifying rounds, as he didn't play at his best level, not to mention the whole Mexican team had to play a play-off round against New Zealand, thanks to the U.S team winning a hard game against Panama, despite Mexico losing a vital game against Costa Rica. Had not the U.S. won that game at the last minute, Mexico could have lost their last chance to qualify and most probably, it could've spelled the end of his career as a player in the Mexican team. Luckily for him, he managed to redeem himself after he scored against Croatia and advancing Mexico to the next round.
The 1990 World Cup as a whole counts as this - it was dour and defensive and considered easily the worst tournament ever. Case in point is Group F in group stage, with five draws (three 1-1 and two 0-0) and only one win (England 1-0 Egypt).
Japan vs. Paraguay in the 2010 World Cup, where the South African fans slept while watching the game. That's right, the enthusiastic South Africans slept through the game because it was so boring. BBC or whatever even said that the cursed videotapes in Japanese horror movie The Ring contained the footage of this match. Korean fans also ridiculed the match as a cure for insomnia.
Switzerland vs. Ukraine (2006) is widely seen as the most boring game ever played in a World Cup, beating even Japan vs. Paraguay. No goals after 120 mn, and only 3 miserable penalties shootout (for Ukraine) scored.
The entire England team in South Africa, to say their preformances were lacklusture is an understatement at best. The press judged Rooney, Gerrard and Capello to be the Scrappys in the team.
The referees. Especially for Australia lately, with the Italian game in 2006, and the Kewell/Cahill red cards in 2010. Again in 2014 with poor calling of fouls and off-sides, while sometimes ignoring blatant fouls.
One fan's reaction to the 2010 final, which received decidedly mixed reviews:
Anonymous: yeah this has been real exciting so far, I'm looking forward to 45 more mins of nothing and diving!
Brazil's women's squad, especially Marta, in the 2011 Women's World Cup. See Call It Karma on the main page.
Luis Suarez became this in Africa after his handball against Ghana. He has also received a ton of backlash from fans (and especially Italy) in Brazil for biting Italian player Giorgio Chiellini during the group stage.
The 2014 World Cup has been admired for the high abundance of goals and exciting games. Nigeria vs. Iran, the first goalless game and the first draw, was mind-numbingly boring.
In 2014, Brazilians were fed up with the incompetence of strikers Fred and Hulk. The former - which was even nicknamed "Invisible Man" to complement the other - got hit the hardest as Brazil got destroyed by Germany in the semifinal: despite being in Fred's home state of Minas Gerais, his inneficiency to the point ofEpic Fail earned him resounding boos and obscene chants.
The most notable example is the Maracanazo of 1950. That Cup was hosted by Brazil, and home team were by far the favourites to win it. They had to play the last match (though not technically the final) against Uruguay needing only a draw to be the champions. While Uruguay took the easy way (they only played one match in the group stage, beating Bolivia 8-0), Brazil had taken the regular three-match course. In the final stage, Uruguay's results were average at best (2-2 against Spain and 3-2 against Sweden) while Brazil were spectacular at the very least (7-1 against Sweden and 6-1 against Spain). This final match filled Maracanã stadium (hence the name Maracanazo) with a crowd that reached nearly 200,000 people, a world record to this day. And after Brazil scored the first goal, the crowd was in heaven. But Uruguay then scored two goals, and won that match and the Cup. The disappointment of the Brazilians reached levels never seen before or after. There were cases of heart attacks among the crowd, and some people committed suicide. Brazil did not play another game for two years, and never wore a white kit again. A newspaper held a competition to design a new national kit. The winner was a yellow shirt with green trim, blue shorts and white socks.
The 1954 final was a great shock for Hungarians. In the '50s, Hungary was one of the harshest dictatorships in Europe, the standard of living was awful, but people were forced to pretend to love the system. The football team was pretty much the only thing that was actually good at this period; in the '50s, the Hungarian team was widely considered to be the best in the world (with players like Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis, Nandor Hidegkuti, Jozsef Bozsik, and Zoltan Czibor) and it was expected to win the World Cup. After the loss, there were riots in Budapest. The match is still a bitter memory for Hungarians, because the team has gotten progressively worse since then, and it hasn't got much of a chance to get to a World Cup final again (their last participation was in 1986).
It didn't help that the match featured several controversial refereeing decisions, most of which went in West Germany's favour. Most notably, Ferenc Puskas scored an equalising goal in the 89th minute, but linesman Ben Griffiths had raised his flag, and after consulting with him, referee William Ling ruled the goal offside; in the years since, the majority opinion has been that the goal should have stood.
The match proved to be a literal Tear Jerker in the press box; although Herbert Zimmermann's ecstatic commentary "Rahn schiesst!... TOR! TOR! TOR! TOR!" ("Rahn shoots!... GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL!") when Helmut Rahn scored the winning goal is well known among German fans, Zimmermann's Hungarian counterpart, reporter Gyorgy Szepesi, burst into tears.
The 1982 semi-final between France and Germany. It is still remembered even by people not from the two countries, because of suspense, injustice, and almost tragedy (French player Patrick Battiston went into a coma thanks to a head-on collision caused by West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher). See the official FIFA telling here. Also of note is that this was the first match to end in penalty shootouts.
Also in 1982, Brazil vs. Italy, the "Disaster of Sarrià". Brazil had a wonderful team, and winning or drawing would lead them to the semifinals. Too bad Paolo Rossi scored three goals in Italy's 3-2 victory, turning this into a horrible memory to Brazilians. Of note is that Rossi was just coming back from suspension after a match fixing scandal got him out of the sport in 1980, and the Italian team was less than spectacular - they only beat Cameroon out of the second stage because they scored two goals, one more than the African team (both had three draws). And Rossi, who would go on to win the Golden Shoe that year, had scored neither in the three group matches nor in the match against Argentina (whom they played before Brazil).
In 2010, the quarterfinal between Uruguay and Ghana was heading to penalties when Luis Suarez, a Uruguayan player, illegally handled the ball on the goal line. Asamoah Gyan of Ghana steps up, to send Ghana and Africa for the first time to the semifinals, but hits the bar. Uruguay later won on penalties. And all of Africa wept.
Also, many times a considerably small team that does better in a tournament cannot repeat the performance in the next. An example would be Cameroon which, after finishing in the final eight in 1990, was flushed out in group stage in the following four tournaments (Côte d'Ivoire knocked them out from the 2006 World Cup).
While some teams may avert it, they might end up playing it straight (see Nigeria; Round of 16 in 1994 and 1998, first stage exit in 2002 and 2010).
Zigzagged with South Korea and Japan; while their 2002 success (the former reached the semifinals, the latter were knocked out in the second round) didn't translate to 2006 (where both left in group stage), they both went to second stage again in 2010. Followed by quick exits again in 2014.
Unfortunate Implications: Many African teams tend to have European coaches. All of the African teams in the 2010 World Cup had European coaches with the exception of Algeria. Which happened to be the only non-black African country to qualify.
What an Idiot: Some players and teams really should have known better.
Two Argentinian players in the 1990 final pretty much doomed any chances the team could have with getting through with the tactic of getting to the penalties. After just playing for 20 minutes, Pedro Monzon fouled Jürgen Klinsmann so badly that he got a straight red card for it, severely weakening the team. In the 86th minute, with Argentina hard pressed to make a goal after Germany scored, Gustavo Dezotti choked Jürgen Kohler which netted him a red card as well and destroyed any hope of trying to equalize.
Again Argentina and again against Germany. After losing in the quarter-finals on penalties, they completely went bonkers and attacked the German team (with the most nasty scenes being a hard elbow check and a kick into the groin). The referee went down hard on them afterwards, giving the player Cufré the dubious honor of being the first player in a World Cup to get a straight red card despite having never played in the match in question.
The antics of the French team in the 2010 World Cup are legendary. Trying a revolt in the middle of the tournament is a very good way to lose in the most embarrassing way possible. France needed over two years to recover from this disaster.
The Dutch are widely regarded as the one team that hasn't yet won a World Cup but definitely deserves one. The most famous example was them losing the 1974 final to West Germany, after making a name for themselves with the "Clockwork Orange" team which had Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Ruud Krol, Johnny Rep, Rob Rensenbrink and others. Cruyff however would not come back for the next tournament (which they lost again, to Argentina). And in 2010, they became the only team to reach three finals and lose them all. Sometimes mixed with Jerkass Woobie, especially in 2010, where, upon realizing they couldn't beat the Spanish by playing beautiful football, tried to beat them by playing very ugly football instead.
Hungary in 1954 may have also been an example of this. Like the Netherlands, they had a star team (Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis etc.). And like the Netherlands again, they lost the final to West Germany. Even more interesting is the fact that Hungary had played against the Germans in the first stage, crushing them by an 8-3 score.
Japan's women's team at the 2011 Women's World Cup definitely qualified, as they were playing just months after the massive earthquake that had devastated their country. You had to feel for them, because they were playing for more than just national pride, they were playing to help heal their country. Even better yet, they managed to win it all. Quite a great moment.