World Cup stunning moments: Italy shocked by South Korea in 2002 | Paolo Bandini

The Azzurri’s controversial second-round defeat in Daejeon was just the start of a barely believable series of events

Francesco Janich felt the first tomato fly past his head. Drunk on cognac and disoriented by the darkness as he stumbled down onto the tarmac at Genoa’s Christopher Columbus airport at around 3.40am on 22 July, 1966, the defender could not immediately identify the fruit but he did know one thing: “It definitely wasn’t fresh”.

Three days earlier, Janich had been part of the Italy side that lost 1-0 to North Korea at Ayresome Park – crashing out of the World Cup in the process. Embarrassed and fearful of a backlash from supporters, administrators did their best to conceal plans for the journey home. As well as pushing the team’s return flight back to the most antisocial hour possible, they refused to disclose which city they would land into.

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