Top 10 Greatest Upsets in Sports That Shocked the World

11:35 am 26 Mar, 2013

Upsets are part and parcel of daily life and the world of sports is no exception to the rule. David defeats Goliath and when he does, the shockwave spreads like jungle fire across territories within a fraction of a few seconds. The best thing about upsets is that they occur when least expected. Interestingly, they affect fans of the loser more than anyone else including the person who gets robbed off his glory. Well, underdogs do count at times. Here is a list of top 10 greatest upsets in sports history that hit the whole world.


10. American therapy for Spaniards:

Barring the surprise victory in the World Cup of 1950, Americans have not really made it big on the field of soccer for quite some time now. However, they were too superior on the turf the day they defeated the mighty Spanish soccer team 2-0 in the semi-final match during 2009 Confederations Cup. It is one of the golden moments in the soccer history of the US and the day when the mighty Spaniards stood still.

American therapy for Spaniards - Greatest Upsets in Sports That Shocked the World

9. The undefeated that lost:

Regarded as the greatest ever Greco-Roman wrestler, Alexander Karelin was the man to watch out for in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He had not lost a fight for the last 13 years anywhere in the world before entering the competition. But little did he know that Rulon Gardner from US, who he had once defeated previously, was all set to spoil the party. What did not happen in 13 years ultimately happened at Sydney.

Sydney 2000

8. Boxing to glory at a fading age:

Very few boxers have achieved the feat that George Foreman did at the fading age of 45. Not many can even boast to box a punching bag out of the ring at an age when this determined veteran took on the heavyweight champion Michael Moorer in 1994. The best part was that he knocked out a dominating Moorer in the 10th round to win the Heavyweight Championship becoming the oldest boxer in history to do so.

Upsets in Boxing

7. Rafa is busted:

It was difficult to imagine for fans of Rafael Nadal but the darling of many lost badly to a then unknown Robin Soderling at the French Open 2009. Winner of the previous four French Opens, Nadal wanted to bulldoze through the semi-final match as well and enter the finals to win his fifth title in a row. Soderling, however, struck him as a surprise and effortlessly sailed through the semis. The media dubbed it “the impossible that happened”.

Rafa is busted - Greatest Upsets in Sports That Shocked the World

6. The man who beat Ali:

If you ask a layman, he’d probably never believe that the ‘God of Boxing’ Muhammad Ali was boxed out in his glorious career. But that happened and happened more than once. Losing to other legends is one thing but losing to a newbie is another. A then novice in the name of Leon Spinks achieved the impossible feat and caught him unaware or perhaps over confident. He beat Ali by split decision winning three titles from ‘The Greatest’.

The man who beat Ali - Greatest Upsets in Sports That Shocked the World

5. Shock of a time:

With their slow moves Americans never qualified to be top-notch soccer players nor have they ever tried to be. However, the only time these minnows of football tried to prove something to the world, the result inclined heavily to their side; beginner’s luck, perhaps. It was in the 1950 Brazil World Cup that USA made the favourites England bite the dust with a score-line of 1-0. The English media was left aghast because they had predicted that USA would be beaten 10-0.

1950 world cup

4. Yang takes on Woods:

Tiger Woods has always been regarded as an indomitable force in Golf, even today when he is not at his best. Back in 2009, during the final round of PGA championship, he and his fans got the setback of their lives. Y.E. Yang of South Korea achieved what very few in the world of golf could have dreamt of even in the wildest of their dreams. Yang was ranked 110 at the time and Woods was rank 1.

Yang takes on Woods - Greatest Upsets in Sports That Shocked the World

3. Pakistan vs. Bangladesh World Cup Match:

The 1999 cricket World Cup will be remembered for throwing up a few surprises and giving birth to the ambitions of a small South Asian country – Bangladesh. The outcome of the match between Bangladesh and Pakistan could have been predicted in favour of the latter by even a not so cricket buff. Pakistan had a formidable line up in batsmen like Saeed Anwar, Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam, and bowlers like Akram, Younis and Saqlain. But Bangladesh did not surrender and the match ended with the minnows defeating Pakistan by 62 runs.

1999 World Cup

2. Jack Fleck beats Ben Hogan:

It is regarded as the greatest upset in the international golf history ever. Jack Fleck, a newbie at the game, went on to defeat the mighty world champion Ben Hogan in a three-hole playoff to win the 1955 US Open. He ended up with three PGA tours in his kitty but the win against Ben Hogan was something out of the world that he could narrate to his grandchildren and their children, too.

Jack Fleck beats Ben Hogan - Greatest Upsets in Sports That Shocked the World

1. Sri Lanka Vs Australia World Cup Final:

Who would have thought that a cricket team with rookies in the ranks could upset one of the greatest teams of all time and that too, in Cricket World Cup! Even the punters didn’t want to risk their money on the Lankans. However, those who did were rewarded greatly as Sri Lanka clinched the world cup title in 1996 comfortably defeating Australia in finals.

Sri Lanka Vs Australia World Cup Final - Greatest Upsets in Sports That Shocked the World

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