Top 10 Sporting Upsets
Who doesn't love a sporting upset? No matter what sport it is, everyone loves the triumph of a plucky underdog against all odds. We take a look at some of the biggest in history, that have sent shockwaves throughout the sporting world.
10. Goran Ivanisevic wins Wimbledon - 2001
He may have been in three previous Wimbledon finals but by the time the 2001 tournament came around the Croatian was 125th in the world and only got into the competition thanks to a wildcard. He was 150/1 to finally lift the trophy and had to overcome the substantial obstacles of Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and Tim Henman to reach the final where he beat Pat Rafter. The 29-year-old became the first wildcard ever to win Wimbledon and also the lowest ranked player ever to do so.
9. Corrie Sanders knocks out Wladimir Klitschko - 2003
Sanders was 37-years-old at the time and semi-retired from a sport he had made some but no significant impact on over a 14-year career. The South African was playing more golf than competitive boxing but he was lined up to be the Ukrainian’s 41st victim in front of a partisan crowd in Hannover. Sanders hadn’t read the script though knocking out the champion in the second round and becoming one of the least likely world heavyweight champions in history.
8. Shaun Murphy wins World Championship -2005
So unforeseen was Shaun Murphy’s win at the Snooker World Championship in 2005 that the nickname of the Magician was conjured up for him as a result. The 22-year-old had to win two qualifying matches just to make it to the Crucible where he was 150-1 to lift the trophy. He beat the likes of John Higgins, Steve Davis and Peter Ebdon just to reach the final where he edged out Matthew Stevens to claim a highly unlikely victory. The win saw Murphy earn his nickname 'the magician' and he became the second youngest winner of the World Championship.
7. Greece win Euro 2004
150/1 seems to be a magical price for the underdog as they were the odds that were offered on Greece ahead of the 2004 European Championships in Portugal. The squad comprised of very few players that the average football fans was familair with and nobody gave them a hope. They did well just to get through the group stages but then to beat reigning champions France and the Czech Republic before meeting hosts Portugal in the final. The Greeks then won 1-0 in Lisbon to break the locals hearts but spark scenes of jubilance back in Athens.
6. Buster Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson - 1990
Iron Mike Tyson was the undisputed king of the heavyweight division in boxing heading into the 1990s, so much so that he took the foot off the gas in terms of preparation for his fight with Buster Douglas in February 1990. The 42/1 shot who had already lost four times in his career knocked out the previously undefeated “baddest man on the planet” in the tenth and took his WBC, WBA, IBF and The Ring titles away from him.
5. Japan Beat South Africa - Rugby World Cup - 2015
When the Springboks took to the field for their World Cup opening game against Japan, the outcome was expected to be a formality. South Africa, two-time World Cup winners, had never lost their opening match of the competition, whilst Japan's only previous win in the tournament had come against Zimbabwe in 1991. However a pulsating game climaxed with a last-gasp Karne Hesketh try to seal a memorable 34-32 win for 80/1 shots Japan. A stunning game all-round but one that ultimately saw perhaps the greatest upset in rugby history.
4. Ben Curtis wins The Open - 2003
Curtis dwarves the odds of some of the plucky underdogs on this list as he went into the 2003 Open as a 300-1 shot at Royal St George’s. The American had never won a tournament on tour and was making his first ever appearance in a major but it didn’t stop him finishing one-under-par and winning it by one stroke from Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh.
3. Foinavon wins Grand National - 1967
A victory so unlikely and memorable that a fence at the famous old race has now been named after the horse that won it in 1967. Foinavon was so far behind with six fences remaining that it completely avoided a massive pile-up that saw the rest of the field either fall or unseat their riders. The path was left clear for the luckiest of horses to canter to victory all but unchallenged and claim first prize having started the race at 100/1.
2. England beat Australia – Third test of the Ashes - 1981
It was the third test of the 1981 Ashes series and England were in disarray. Australia had declared on 401-9 and then bowled out England for 174 forcing them to follow on. Things were going little better in the second innings as England were 135-7 and a bookmaker advertised on the big screen odd of 500/1 for an English win. Up stepped Ian Botham to score 149 not out taking the home side to 356 before Bob Willis took 8/43 to bowl Australia out for 111 and win the match. Aussie pair Rod Marsh and Dennis Lillee had taken the bet but there was no suggestion of match fixing, just Australian ineptitude.
1. Leicester City win the Premier League - 2016
It's one thing springing a one off shock result, but to do it over the course of an entire football season is something else. Leicester were 5,000-1 to win the Premier League at the start of the season and after appointing Claudio Ranieri, a manager sacked by the Greek national team for losing to the Faroe Islands, many tipped them for relegation. However week in week out, they continued to defy the odds helped in no small part by the goalscoring exploits of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. After going top of the table on the 16th January, they managed to stay there until the end and were crowned champions for the first time in their history, with two games remaining after their closest rivals Tottenham could only manage a 2-2 draw with Chelsea. The triumph is the single biggest odds winning event in history, confirming its status as the greatest sporting upset of all time.
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