The thing about underdog is that they usually lose. Yet sometimes the dark horse can raise their game and produce a shock that nobody could have ever predicted. A game of football can create the perfect environment for this to happen in. So without further ado, Football FanCast brings you some of the greatest upsets ever seen in the beautiful game.
10. Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United, 1984
Just three months into his first managerial role at Bournemouth, a 37-year-old Harry Redknapp welcomed FA Cup holders Manchester United to Dean Court on January 7, 1984.
At the time, The Cherries were fourth from bottom in the old Third Division, while Ron Atkinson’s United had lost just one league game away all season. 14,815 people watched on in astonishment as midfielder Milton Graham fired the home side in front. Ian Thompson doubled his side’s lead four minutes later and Bournemouth held on in one of the biggest giant killings in FA Cup history.
9. KV Mechelen 1-0 Ajax, 1988
Backed by the fortune of local electronic magnate John Cordier, unheralded Belgian side KV Mechelen won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in their debut season in the competition in 1988.
Cordier invested heavily in KV in an attempt to turn them into a dominant force in European football. Following a remarkable run, they immediately made it to their first European final, although very few expected them to defeat their illustrious Dutch opponents Ajax. Dutch striker Piet den Boer scored the winning goal for Malinwa who remain the last Belgian side to win a European competition.
8. Sunderland 1-0 Leeds, 1973
Bob Stokoe’s Sunderland became the first Second Division outfit in 40 years to win the FA Cup against the defending champions Leeds in 1973.
Don Revie’s side were expected to steamroll The Mackems but were left stunned when Ian Porterfield volleyed in to win the cup for the underdogs.
7. Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal, 1992
Wrexham, bottom of the fourth division, scored two goals in the last ten-minutes to send reigning league champions Arsenal tumbling out of the FA Cup third round.
Alan Smith notched to put The Gunners ahead just before half-time. 37-year-old Mickey Thomas then left the North Londoners shell-shocked when he fired a sizzling 25-yard free-kick past David Seaman, while Steve Watkin grabbed the winner with just minutes remaining.
6. West Germany 3-2 Hungary, 1954
Fondly remember by German supporters as ‘The miracle of Berne’, West Germany defeated a Hungary side unbeaten in SIX years to win the 1954 World Cup Final.
The Mighty Magyars, a side including prolific goalscorer Ferenc Puskas, remain the greatest team never to win the World Cup after losing to a West German side they had beaten 8-3 in the group stages. The Hungarians raced into a two goal lead before West Germany staged a spectacular comeback to land their first-ever World Cup title.
5. Senegal 1-0 France, 2002
The opening game of the 2002 World Cup produced one of the most improbable upsets in World Cup history.
A goal from Papa Bouba Diop secured Senegal’s first ever win at a Finals, at the expense of reigning champions France, who had been tipped as tournament favorites. Les Bleus never recovered from their shock opening defeat and exited the tournament with one point and 0 goals.
4. Barcelona 1-2 Rubin Kazan, 2009
Unprecedented Treble winners and Champions League holders Barcelona were widely considered to be the best football side in the world when unknown Russian minnows Rubin Kazan upset the apple-cart at the Nou Camp in October 2009.
The Tartars immediately settled their nerves when Aleksandr Ryazantsev fired in a wonderful strike from 25 yards after two minutes, the fastest goal scored by an away side in Champions League history. Barca levelled before Turkish international Gokdeniz Karadeniz finished off a superb breakaway move to stun the reigning European champions.
3. Hereford 2-1 Newcastle, 1972
Hereford United became the first non-league side in 23 years to defeat a First Division outfit in the FA Cup with this stunning upset.
A late Malcolm MacDonald goal looked good enough to send United through to the fourth round before Ronnie Radford smashed in a sensational 30-yard screamer to send the tie into extra-time. Ricky George then grabbed the winner and a earn his side a place on this list.
2. North Korea 1 Italy 0, 1966
Rank outsiders North Korea humbled one of the pre-tournament favourites Italy at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park with a 1-0 win in 1966.
Pak Doo Ik’s goal sent the Italians crashing out of the tournament and ensured the Koreans received a heroes welcome when they returned home. The Italians however were not so lucky, they were met with an angry mob who pelted them with rotten tomatoes.
1. USA 1-0 England, 1950
England were considered the best side in the world when they entered their first ever World Cup in 1950. In reality, they were undone by a semi-professional side containing a teacher, accountant and part-time dishwasher.
Joe Gaetjens will forever be remembered for grabbing the winning goal in the biggest upset in football history. England goalkeeper Bert Williams said after the game:
“If we played them 20 times we’d beat them 19. That’s how one-sided it was. But you can’t tell anyone that.
“All they’re aware of is we lost, and 60 years on I’m still trying to forget it.”