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Ranking World Cup opening matches from bottom to top

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7. France 1938 – Switzerland 1 Germany 1 (aet)

The first World Cup to start with just a single game, and although not a thriller, it wins plenty of novelty points for a. being a knockout match; b. going to extra time; c. going to a replay. 

Germany, ruled by Adolf Hitler at the time, took the lead through Josef Gauchel but were pegged back by Andre Abegglen’s eqauliser just before half the time. 

After 120 minutes the teams still couldn’t be separated, so the match went to a replay that Switzerland won 4-2 five days later. 

6. France 1998 – Brazil 2 Scotland 1 

Fresh from showcasing their skills skills in an airport as part of a superlative Nike advert, Ronaldo and co arrived in France as favourites to retain the World Cup they had won four years earlier. 

Scotland were expected to roll over in the opening match, but actually equipped themselves well until a second-half own goal from Tommy Boyd handed Brazil victory. 

An exciting match though, which also included an early Cesar Sampaio headed goal and a nerveless John Collins penalty.  

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