- Losing in the World Cup is an easy way to let the waterworks loose.
- 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 (due to several other teams pulling out, 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 Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, József Bozsik, and Zoltán 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, Puskás 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 Suárez, 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.
- England's 2006 World Cup campaign in general - before it began, Sven-Göran Eriksson announced that he was stepping down after the finals. Despite that, Wayne Rooney fought back from a metatarsal injury, England fought out of the group, carried by captain David Beckham, but in the process, they lost star striker Michael Owen to a horrendous cruciate ligament injury. Afterwards, in the quarter-final, Rooney suffered a rush of blood to the head and was sent off for lashing at Portuguese centreback Ricardo Carvalho, Beckham went off injured, and yet England held on through normal time and extra time, before finally losing on penalties to Portugal in the quarter finals for the second tournament in a row. Afterwards, Beckham announced in tears that he was stepping down from the captaincy, a visibly shrunken Eriksson said that he wanted to be remembered for being "honest", and a coach who "tried my best" and Owen never played competitive football for England again. While few fans of other countries appreciated England fans usual pre-tournament claims that they were going to win it, it was hard not to feel sorry for them.
- And of course, there's the 7-1 curb-stomping Brazil received by Germany in the 2014 semi-finals, at home, and with tens of thousands of fans crying during the match. Many people watching the match around the world ended up feeling sorry for the losing team, and especially for David Luiz who had the horrible luck of being the Brazilian captain that day and broke down crying and apologizing on camera. Even the Germans felt the need to apologize, saying they never intended to humiliate, but couldn't help with the adversary clearly losing their minds in desperation.
- It didn't help that many Brazilian fans left after the first half, with many of those who stayed starting to cheer for Germany out of frustration and desperation.
- There were many shots of a Brazilian man holding a World Cup trophy who, as seen in the linked picture, had a completely forlorn expression when shown. It was reported that after the game, he gave his World Cup trophy replica to a young German girl, telling her "Take it to the final! As you can see, it is not easy, but you deserve it, congratulations!" Germany did go on to win, but the man, Clovis Acosta Fernandes, passed away a little over a year later, with this match being the last meaningful Brazil match in the World Cup he ever saw.
- On a general note, any time a team is knocked out of the tournament can be this for their fans, unless they're instead angry.
- Losing in the finals is considered to be one of the saddest things for the fans of a country.
- Argentina's final loss in 2014 is a very good example, especially for their star player, Lionel Messi. It hurt him so bad seeing his country lose the finals on the last minutes of extra time that being awarded the Golden Ball did little to cheer him up, and in fact getting that award might have sunk him even deeper into Heroic BSoD.
- Women's tournament example: 2015 semifinal, England vs. Japan. The "Lionesses", pre-tournament underdogs and fan-favourites among the neutrals for their gutsy, never-say-die style, are more than holding their own (indeed, they were dominating the match) in an aggressive game against the defending champions, 1-1, overtime about to begin. Then, at the 92nd minute, defender Laura Bassett, sprinting back and faced with a ball in dropping right in front of the Japanese striker, stretched out a leg to intercept and scores an own goal. It's such a Gut Punch that shortly after a Precision F-Strike, Bassett was sobbing uncontrollably.
- A meta-example with the fact that in preparation for Qatar, well over 270 migrant workers have died in squalid conditions, with most of them stuck in the country and facing arrest if they come forward with their stories.
- There's also the tragedies that are tangent but nevertheless related to the World Cup:
- The 1994 World Cup was marred by no less than three tragedies:
- The assassination of Colombian defender Andrés Escobar purportedly due to his scoring of an own goal in the match against the USAMNT. Colombia was unceremoniously eliminated from the tournament as a result of the gaffe and days later, Escobar was shot down as a result of a bar skirmish. Though Escobar was singled out, all of the members of the team had received death threats after their loss with Romania (the game before the match against the USA). How impacting was this? The tragedy is considered the single darkest moment in Colombia's sports history in the same degree as Ayrton Senna's death was to Brazil's.
- The elimination of the Cameroonian team led their fans in the country to single out goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell for the elimination, so they torched his house in Douala.
- Having come from a playoff against Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland's team was deemed to represent the whole island in the World Cup and morale was high (a respite, as there was generalized violence regarding the clashes between separatist and loyalist movements on Northern Ireland). Ireland went to defeat Italy in their debut match and there was an atmosphere of celebration on the whole island until there were news of the Loughinisland Massacre, where (presumably) loyalists opened fire and killed six civilians in a pub during the game's transmission in a small village in Northern Ireland. As the armistice was signed just weeks later, there was no further investigation regarding the incident and the perpetrators are still unknown. The team's performance plunged after the news and they were eliminated on the second round by the Netherlands.
- After Brazil won the title in the 1994 World Cup, the players made a small tribute to Ayrton Senna, who died months before in a fatal crash in the San Marino Grand Prix. This was a pure tearjerk moment since the Brazilians were still hurt by Senna's death and because Brazil finally won the title 24 years after the last one.
- The 1994 World Cup was marred by no less than three tragedies:
Tear Jerker / The World Cup