Top Ten biggest sporting upsets of all time

What makes sport in general so great is the fact that you never know what's going to happen?

We know what should happen, but it's the unpredictability which makes everything that much more exciting. There's nothing better than a huge shock result to get people talking - and there have been some absolute crackers over the years...

1. Cassius Clay v Sonny Liston: The brash 22-year-old upstart shouldn't have stood a chance against the heavyweight champion of the world, but Clay - who changed his name to Muhammad Ali the day after the pair's first fight in 1964 - did the unthinkable and took the title from his bigger, more experienced opponent. It was a result that sent shortwaves through the world of boxing and turned Clay into the biggest sports star on the planet.

2. NY Giants v New England Patriots: The Patriots had reached the final of Superbowl XL II with an unblemished record and were hot favourites to finish the season with a 19th straight victory, but they didn't count on one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game. Eli Manning's pass to Plaxico Burress with just over 30 seconds left on the clock created the winning score as the Giants ran out unlikely 17-14 winners.

3. Foinavon wins the Grand National: Beginning the race as a rank outsider at odds of 100/1, even the horse's owner didn't bother making the trip to Aintree to watch! It was all going to form until the fence just before Canal Turn. One horse fell, setting in motion a domino effect that left carnage as all the leaders were thrown from their horses. Foinavon was so far back at this point that jockey John Buckingham had time to steer around the mess and take the lead. He held on for the most unlikely victory in the history of horse racing. In his honour, the fence where the leaders all fell was named after Foinavon.

4. Wimbledon v Liverpool: The final of the FA Cup in 1988 was supposed to be a walkover for Liverpool, the crowning glory in a season which had seen them lift the First Division trophy a couple of weeks earlier. But the Crazy Gang, who had been playing Fourth Division just five years previously, ripped up the form book as Lawrie Sanchez popped up to head home an unlikely winner for the underdogs. The game will also forever be remembered for Dave Beasant's penalty stop from John Aldridge - the first time a spot-kick had ever been saved in an FA Cup final.

5. USA v USSR ice hockey: The 1980 Olympics saw a team of amateur and collegiate players from the US go up against the highly-favoured, well-organised team of what were to all intents and purposes professional players from the Soviet Union. The Americans weren't given a cat in hell's chance of winning, but surprised everyone - themselves included - by running out 4-3 victors in what became known as the ''Miracle on ice''. The US team went on to win gold while their Cold War foes had to settle for silver.

6. Dennis Taylor v Steve Davis: Probably the one match on the green baize that EVERYONE remembers, whether you like snooker or not! It pulled the all-time record TV audience for a snooker match - one that will most likely never be beaten. More than 18 million stayed up until the early hours of the morning back in 1985 to watch Irishman Taylor defeat the undefeatable Davis in a match that went down to the last black ball of the last frame. The images of Taylor waving his cue above his head and wagging his finger will live long in the memory.

7. Goran Ivanisevic v Pat Rafter: Ivanisevic only made it to Wimbledon in 2001 with the aid of a wildcard entry. The man ranked 125 in the world was actually CRYING while still trying to serve for the match, which he eventually won 9-7 in the fifth set against Aussie Rafter. It wasn't the prettiest of finals, but it capped a quite incredible two weeks for the Croat.

8. Hereford v Newcastle: The FA Cup has thrown up some classic giant-killing acts over the years, but this was the biggest of the lot. Hereford were playing in the Southern League - the equivalent of today's Blue Square Premier - when they came up against First Division Newcastle in the third round in 1972. A 2-2 draw in the first game meant a replay at Hereford's Edgar Street ground, where more than 14,000 people witnessed maybe the greatest goal in the competition's history. Ronnie Radford picked up the ball in midfield, played a one-two and unleashed a 30-yard thunderbolt into the top corner eight minutes from time to level the scores - cue pitch invasion number one. Hereford went on to win it in extra time with Ricky George's strike - cue pitch invasion number two!

9. Bangladesh v Australia: The minnows of Bangladesh pulled off what was probably the biggest shock in the history of cricket when they somehow beat world champions in a one-day game in 2005. The Aussies were up first and posted 249-5, which should have been enough to see off the lowest-ranked one-day side in the world. But Mohammad Ashraful's century helped little Bangladesh to a five-wicket victory with four balls to spare. The Aussies had been 100/1 ON to win before the start of the match.

10. This is where you come in: There must be a whole load more classic upsets that shocked the world of sport which didn't make this list. So come on - which is the biggest one I have missed that simply has to be in your top 10?


masmasika said...

hi, great information here. thanks for sharing it to us. I wouldn't have known this.

Rhys said...

1. India vs West Indies World Cricket Cup Final 1983.
2. Algeria 2 West Germany 1 World Cup 1982.

Lita C. Malicdem said...

Hi, Can we add here Manny Pacquia vs. Cotto please?( boxing ) Thanks.

jonny on the ball said...

Thanks for the ideas so far...

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