20 Greatest Sporting Upsets
Greece defied all the critics and all the bookmakers to sensationally win Euro 2004 beating the hosts Portugal in the final and knocking out defending champions France in the Quarter Finals. Blue Square had Greece at 100/1 before the tournament and their victory has to be one of the biggest sport betting upsets of all time!
2. Wrexham v Arsenal - F.A. Cup 1992
The F.A. Cup has a habit of throwing up shocks and this example is one of the greatest in the competitions history. In 1992, Wrexham defeated the league champions Arsenal in the Third Round, Wrexham having finished bottom of the Football League the previous season. Arsenal took the lead in the game through Alan Smith but Wrexham stormed back to send the Gunners crashing at the Racecourse Ground at odds of 25/1!
3. Bangladesh v Australia - 18th June 2005
Bangladesh pulled off what may be the greatest shock ever in cricket betting with a five-wicket victory over world champions Australia in a One Day International in Cardiff in 2005. The Tigers were aided by a magnificent century by Mohammad Ashraful and surpassed Australias 249 for 5 with 4 balls to spare. Ashraful was the games top runscorer 6/1 and the huge upset was complete in when Jason Gillespie was hit for the winning runs in a victory that was priced at a massive 20/1 before the game.
4. St. Gallen beating Chelsea in 2000
Chelsea suffered a succession of embarrassing defeats in the UEFA Cup in the Pre Roman Abramovic era including a home loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv. However, the biggest by far was the humiliating exit at the hands of Swiss minnows St Gallen in 2000. 1-0 up from the 1st leg, Chelsea were 1/100 to progress but were beaten 2-1 thanks to goals from Sascha Muller and Charles Amoah sending the Swiss outfit through at odds of 16/1 after the 1st leg.
5. Richard Krajicek wins Wimbledon in 1996
In 1996, the previously unheard of Richard Krajicek lifted the famous Wimbledon trophy beating the equally unrecognisable name of Mal Washington in the final. Krajicek was not fancied before the tournament and could have been backed at 66/1. He beat Michael Stich in the 4th Round an then stunned the 2/1 favourite Pete Sampras in the Quarter Final.
6. USA 1-0 England - 1950 World Cup
On June 29th 1950, England were one of the superpowers in world football with a post-war record of 23 wins, 4 losses, and 3 draws. The Americans had lost their last seven international matches and were supposed to be the whipping boys of a group that also contained Spain and Chile. England were 3/1 to win the World Cup with U.S.A at 500/1! Joe Gaetjens was the goalscorer on that famous occasion in 1950 where the underdogs stunned the football world producing one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history. A film called The Miracle Match was released in 2005 depicting the true story behind the game and captures the circumstances that lead to this incredible result.
Interestingly, Uruguay won the 1950 World Cup having only played 4 matches! Turkey and Scotland withdrew from their group leaving a one-off game with Bolivia to decide who progressed to the final round - 4 goals from Miguez ensured their qualification in an 8-0 win. The final round consisted of a further round-robin with the winners of the four groups all playing each other once to determine the champion (hence no World Cup was needed). However, the group did come down to the final game with Brazil needing only a draw to secure the title in their own country. 200,000 fans were stunned however by a 79th minute strike by Ghiggia to win the game for the Uruguayans by 2 goals to 1.
7. Northern Ireland 1 England 0 - September 7th 2005
On 7th September 2005, an England team managed by Sven Goran Eriksson suffered a humiliating defeat to Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier at Lansdowne Road. David Healys 73rd minute strike was enough for Lawrie Sanchezs men giving them their first victory over England since 1972 at odds of 16/1.
Very few had fancied the Irish before the game and England had been backed heavily at odds of they were only 7/1 to win the World Cup final in Germany the following year.
8. Dream Team Stunned By Argentina in 2004 Olympics
The US men's basketball team, known as the Dream Team were humbled in Athens in the 2004 Olympic, semi-finals by Argentina, beaten 89-81.
Argentina had a 43-38 half-time lead and never allowed their more glamorous opponents to overtake them as the Americans tried desperately to avoid a shock defeat.
The Americans had been gold medallists in every Olympics since 1992 when NBA players started competing in the Games and were the massive favourites at 1/6 to win their 4th successive title even before the Olympics began.
9. Cameroon v Argentina 1990 World Cup
Italia 90 was one of the most exciting World Cups in the last 30 years and it threw up a classic upset in the opening game. Argentina were defending their title won in Mexico in 1986 but were stunned by Francois Oman Biyiks header as Cameroon went onto to win 1-0. Cameroon were 12/1 to win the game but the Argentineans still went on to reach the final where they lost to West Germany. The lasting memories from Italia 90 however will be the likes of Roger Milla dancing round the corner flag, Toto Schillaci banging in goals, the site of Roberto Baggio terrorising defences and Gazzas tears!
Douglas was a 42/1 outsider while Tyson was at 1/200 to defend his title: an unbelievable price and one that cost several punters a hefty sum.
On July 20th 2003, Ben Curtis secured one of golfs greatest ever shocks winning by 1 shot from Swede Thomas Bjorn who managed to capitulate on the final few holes.
He was the first first-time Open winner since Tom Watson in 1975 and Curtis, who was ranked 396th in the world before the tournament beat a world class filed including World Number 1 Tiger Woods who finished 2 shots of the lead at 1 over par.
Curtis could have been backed at 750/1 to win at Royal St. Georges and was the only man to finish under par for the tournament.
12. Miracle on Ice - 1980
The U.S.A. could have been backed at 33/1 just to win the match and they astonishingly went on to win the gold medal beating Finland in the final
13. USA Wins Women's 4 x 100 Meter Freestyle Relay 1976 Olympics
In arguably the greatest relay victory in history, the USA 4 x 100 freestyle relay team shocked the world when they defeated everyone including the East German favourites who had been sweeping everyone aside and punters had widely expected them to take the gold.
The USA team of Kim Peyton, Wendy Boglioli, Jill Sterkel and Shirley Babashoff shocked the world winning at odds of 20/1 setting a world record of 3:44.82.
12. Goran Ivanisevic wins Wimbledon in 2001
Goran Ivanisevic produced an amazing display at the 2001 Wimbledon Championships winning the title at odds of 250/1!
He beat Pat Rafter in 5 sets in the final and he became the first wild card in the history of the tournament to capture the title.
Ivanisevic had previously reached the 1992, 1994 and 1998 finals but his victory in 2002 came as a huge shock to the tennis world and only very shrewd punters would have predicted this outcome at the start of the tournament.
15. Papua New Guinea 20-18 Great Britain 1990 Rugby League
In 1990 over 11,500 fanatical Papua New Guinea fans watched their team stun Great Britain and condemned them to their one and only loss to the Kumuls.
It was an historic victory and one that was not backed before the game despite an amazing price of 20/1. Papa New Guinea were even give a +28 point handicap!
16. Sean Murphy World Snooker Championships 2005
Murphy was a 150/1 shot at the beginning of the Championship but defied all the odds beating a host of stars including John Higgins and Peter Ebdon before overcoming Matthew Stevens by 18 frames to 16 in the final.
17. France beat New Zealand 43- 31 in World Cup 1999
Although France are one of rugbys superpowers, they were heavily unfancied at the 1999 World Cup and produced an upset that some have described as the greatest shock in World Cup history beating the mighty New Zealand in the semi-final.
Jonah Lomu scored two tries but even he could not prevent France marching on to the final where they were beaten by Australia.
France were 8/1 to win the game and had a MASSIVE +25 point handicap!
18. Senegal 1 France 0 - 2002 World Cup
In a story that virtually mirrored the story of Italia 90, The defending champions were beaten in the opening game by an African team making their first appearance at a World Cup finals (Cameroon were making their second appearance when they beat Argentina).
Punters steamed into France in every game in Group A assuming that a change in fortune was round the corner but it never came and France limped out of the World Cup at the group stage with 1 point and no goals scored.
19. Leyton Hewitt loses to Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon in 1999
Leyton Hewitt was defending his Wimbledon title in 1999 when he was sent tumbling out in the first round by Ivo Karlovic the worst performance ever by a defending champion and the first champion to crash in the first round since tennis became professional in 1968.
Karlovic was ranked number 203 in the world and nobody had seen this result coming indeed he could have been backed at 12/1 to beat the Australian!
Karlovic was beaten in the 3rd round by Max Mirnyi.
20. Foinavon Wins The 1967 Grand National
The 1967 Grand National has become part of horse racing betting folklore and gives once a year punters reason for hope. Foinavon was priced as a 100/1 outsider in the 1967 Grand National and coming to the 23rd fence the bookmakers judgment looked spot-on, as the bottom weight was tailed off. But a loose horse caused a pile-up at Aintrees smallest fence and no-hoper Foinavon eluded the melee to go clear of his field and he eventually won by 15 lengths from Red Alligator (who went on to win the 1968 Grand National).