Underdog Stories: Four Remarkable Football Upsets

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As Leicester City continue their charge towards Premier League glory, they now only have seven games to go before they could lift the title in England’s top division. Coming from a team who were last season battling relegation it is a miracle, but will it be the biggest upset?

Which other teams have gone on to victory despite being underdogs?


Uruguay claim World Cup on Brazilian soil

It is on the international stage, where a player or a team can really become heroes or villains. With the intensity of the world watching you, the pressure is only increased. In some ways, this makes an international upset all the more prominent and unlikely.

In 1950, we saw the first real upset in International football. Brazil were hosting their first ever World Cup. They had a reputation for being a football mad nation and boasted some truly talented players. The tournament back then was not like it is now, matches were played in a round-robin style, seeing each team play the other as they battled for points.

Uruguay had already won the tournament before in 1930, but weren’t considered favourites on foreign soil. Brazil had also wiped out the likes of Mexico, Spain and Sweden winning 4-0, 6-1 and 7-1.

They were huge favourites going into the final game against Uruguay and only needed a point at the Maracana, with 150,000 fans behind them and going 1-0 up at half time, everything looked rosy for the Brazilians. But it was an astonishing come back which saw Uruguay win 2-1, claim three points and win the World Cup for the second time.

Although they failed to win the tournament back in 1950, Brazil have gone on to be the most successful nation in World Cup history, winning football’s biggest prize five times. Uruguay have had less international success, not having won the tournament since that famous victory, however, they have become the most successful nation in the Copa America.


Montpellier banish the bucks

Manchester City and Chelsea seem to have proved the theory to instant success. Get a Middle-Eastern owner and gorge the club full of riches, splashing out on the best players and paying the biggest salaries, picking up a high-profile Italian owner in the process.

PSG have since become the latest club to attempt something similar and have in time conquered on the domestic side in France. However, in 2012 when the club was first bought by its rich owners, it was Montpellier who battle valiantly and shocked the whole of France claiming the Ligue 1 title. Compared to the Parisians, Montpellier had ÂŁ29 million worth of budget, whereas PSG spent ÂŁ37 million alone on playmaker Javier Pastore.

PSG finished the season on 79 points three behind the incredible 82 that Montpellier achieved. It was an incredible achievement led by the talents of Olivier Giroud. Things became even more tense on the final day of the season, which saw Montpellier’s final game interrupted three times, meaning they had to finish their game, knowing PSG had already won theirs.


Second division Sunderland put a halt to all conquering Leeds

No second division side had won the FA Cup for 42 years in 1973, but it was Sunderland who upset the odds dispatching Leeds 1-0.

One of the biggest shocks in the tournaments history, the Black Cats went up against a conquering Leeds side which started no less than eleven internationals. Leeds had already won the First Division under the stewardship of Don Revie and were huge favourites to make it a league and cup double.

However, it was Sunderland who came out on top, with Ian Portfield scoring the winner following a Dave Watson corner. Jim Montgomery made one of the greatest saves in English football during the match, first parrying away an effort from Trevor Sherry, then denying the laws of physics to push a Peter Lorimer shot onto the underside of the cross bar.

The victory has proved the magic of the FA Cup and it will give hope to all lower division sides in their quest for future FA Cup glory.


Galatasaray give the Gunners a wakeup call

In 2000, Turkish superpower Galatasaray were hardly a force in European football. But that meant nothing in their journey to winning the UEFA Cup.

Things got off to the worst possible start, when the Turkish side were demolished 5-0 by Chelsea in the early part of the tournament. Things did get better, though. Galatasaray showed incredible character to come back against AC Milan when they were 2-1 down with 10 minutes remaining in a deciding group game.

But with Romanian skipper Hagi in the ranks anything is possible. Galatasaray stunned Europe and fought all the way to the final, where they came up against Arsene Wenger and his brilliant Arsenal. The game finished 0-0 despite Galatasaray having Hagi sent off, eventually the game went on to penalties where the Turkish outfit came out on top.

In a time when money seems to rule football, it is incredible to see what Leicester have achieved so far, they are now odds on for the title. If they are to claim England’s top prize, it will surely be the greatest shock in football history.


Written by Edward Ware

Follow Edward on Twitter @wade_edward

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