Football Article

Top 10 Biggest Upsets in Sporting History

The underdog has always been a fan favourite, especially amongst the neutrals. After all, it is within the underdog that you find heroic stories, stories of struggle and battles against all odds! We take a look then at those sporting underdogs who went in as nothing, but came out with legendary tales.

10. Defeating the Undefeated

After an unbeaten season, the New England Patriots entered the Super Bowl XLII arena as heavy favourites for the title. However, the New York Giants had other plans as they went on to beat the Patriots 17-14, against all odds.

09. Changing the Game

At the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup finals, Sri Lanka took on favourites Australia. Having revolutionized the way cricket was played by teams, the Sri Lankans had come out all guns blazing as opposed to the usual method of starting the innings cautiously. Led by Aravinda de Silva, Sri Lanka became the only team to win the ICC Trophy and then go on to win the ICC World Cup.

08. Miracle on Ice

At the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, an Amateur and college-player filled US Ice Hockey team took on the might of the Soviet Union in the semi-finals. With barely any exposure to the sport in USA, the team was taking on complete professionals from the favourites of the title. Rivals in the political sense, the Americans had been thrashed 10-3 by the Soviet Union a few months before. However, on that day, the Americans beat them 4-3 to grab a fantastic win. It is said that if the Soviets played the US 100 times, they would win 99 of them. This just happened to be that one day they would lose.

07. Miracle Mets

In 1969, the New York Mets had reached the World Series and took on the Baltimore Orioles. Having never finished above ninth place, nor having won more than 73 games in a single season, the Mets were hardly the favourites for the title. However, things turned out differently as these massive underdogs went on to win the World Series title in just 5 games.

06. Irish Folklore

The county of Munster and its Rugby team went down in history as the only team to have beaten the mighty New Zealand All Blacks during their 1978 tour. The game was the only time when the All Blacks lost to any Irish team, local or national. The 12-0 scoreline was the inspiration behind a number of plays and movies.

05. Greek Legend

At the 2004 European Championships, the Greek national team was given 150-1 odds to win the title. However, the team beat favourites Portugal in their opening game, before going on to beat defending champions France, favourites Czech Republic and then, again, Portugal in the finals, on the way to the title.

04. Wild Goran

In 2001, Goran Ivanisevic was picked as a wild card entrant for the Wimbledon championships due to being ranked 125th in the world. There was no doubt that Ivanisevic was a massive outsider for the title. However, he would go on to win the 2001 title, beating Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick, Tim Henman and Marat Safin on the way to the finals, where he beat Patrick Rafter.

03. The Miracle of Bern

Having been beaten 8-3 by Ferenc Puskas and his Mighty Magyars, the West German team were up against the Olympic and Central European International Cup winners in the finals again. Hungary were in a 32-match unbeaten run, one that beat giants England 6-3 at Wembley before beating them 7-1 in Budapest. For the West Germans, the final was a foregone conclusion. Returning to their first international competition after the Second World War, West Germany were down 2-0 after just 8 minutes.

Just when it seemed that things would be similar to their previous matches together, the West Germans struck back. Two goals in the next 10 minutes followed by a well fought battle that ended with another goal in the 84th minute, saw the West Germans win their first world cup title.

02. Busting Iron

Favoured 42 to 1 against Iron Mike Tyson, James “Buster Douglas” went up for the title bout at Las Vegas. With no parlour willing to hold bets, the bout was considered a foregone conclusion. The undefeated Tyson was expected to knock Douglas out in no time. However, the fight was completely dominated by Douglas who used his longer reach to keep Tyson at bay. Douglas went on to beat Mike Tyson and became the heavyweight champion of the world. Tyson suffered his first loss and knockout, losing the title after two years.

01. Uruguay v/s Brazil at the 1950 FIFA World Cup

Before the match began, Brazil were the best ranked team in the world and celebrations had already been underway. Uruguay had surprised everyone by reaching the finals and now, seemed even more unlikely to get anything out of it. With the entire country waiting to celebrate the host nation’s win at the World Cup, Uruguay came in and stole the show with a 2-1 win over the mighty Brazilians.

Brazil just needed a draw to win the game, and were leading 1-0 with a few minutes to go. Uruguay scored twice to win the game and had to receive the trophy while running away from the stadium, due to fans threatening them with their lives.

Anjali nambissan
Anjali Nambissan
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