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4 Unknown Underdog Teams that Shocked the World

By Matt Alesevich | 17. April 2015


Everyone loves an underdog story. Some, if not most, of histories most memorable sports moments involve nail-biting David vs. Goliath matchups with everything on the line. Throughout the years, however, countless amazing, storybook-like team achievements have seeped through the cracks of sports history.

Here are four of our favorites:

1950 USA World Cup “Miracle on Grass”

During Brazil’s 1950 World Cup, the US team of part-time players (starting goalie Frank Borghi took a leave of absence as a hearse driver to attend the tourney) shocked powerhouse England 1-0 in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. When the final score came across the news wire, BBC radio listeners assumed it was an error, and the New York Times dismissed the report as a joke. Dubbed “The Miracle on Grass,” the story inspired the 2005 movie The Game of Their Lives.

1992 Denmark Euro Cup Team

The World Cup of European soccer, the European Nations Cup, saw a team that didn’t even qualify for the tournament take home the hardware in 1992. After the Yugoslav wars disqualified Yugoslavia from participating in the tournament, the country’s spot was given to their group’s runner up: Denmark. After a shocking semi-final penalty-shot shootout win against the Netherlands, the Danes capped their Cinderella run by shutting out reigning champion Germany 2-0 in the final.

2008 Japan Olympic Softball Team

Due to consistent US dominance and sparse competition, the International Olympic Committee voted to remove softball from the Olympics after the 2008 Beijing Games. Dating back to 2000, the US team had won 22 consecutive matches, outscoring the competition 57-2. On a seemingly smooth road to locking in all of history's softball golds, the United States was upended by Japan 3-1 in the championship match.

1998 Harvard Women’s Basketball Team

Contrary to popular belief, a 16-seed has indeed knocked off a 1-seed in the first round of the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament. While the 16-1 upset is yet to happen in men’s basketball, the 1998 Harvard women’s basketball became the first team in NCAA history to dethrone a 1-seed when they shocked Stanford 71-67 in front of Stamford’s home crowd.

Stay tuned later this week as we review the most inspiring teams in cinema history. If you've got some input, we wanna hear it. Send your nominees to (Quack...Quack...Quack...Quack...)