Football has seen some remarkable underdog stories in tournaments. From Leicester City’s unbelievable win in the Premier League to Denmark’s last-minute call to glory in the European Championship, each story is about teams that beat the odds and made their fans wildest dreams come true.
Here is a look at five of the most renowned underdog stories in football history:
5) Sunderland – FA Cup (1973)
The 1973 FA Cup final saw Sunderland, a second-tier English football team, defeat Leeds United, one of the best teams in the country at the time. The match took place on May 5, 1973, at Wembley Stadium.
Ian Porterfield’s goal and Jimmy Montgomery’s miraculous double save ensured a 1-0 victory for Sunderland. This win is one of the most iconic underdog stories in English football, as it proved that with passion, determination, and a bit of luck, even the most unlikely of dreams can be achieved.
4) Nottingham Forest – European Cup (1978/1979)
Nottingham Forest’s European Cup victory in 1979 was a remarkable achievement for a club that had been promoted to the top flight just the season before. Under the leadership of legendary Brian Clough, Forest not only won the English league but also conquered Europe.
Trevor Francis scored the only goal of the match in the final against Malmö FF of Sweden, securing a 1-0 victory and crowning Nottingham Forest as European champions for the first time. Clough’s managerial skills and the team’s belief were the driving forces behind this incredible feat.
3) Denmark – UEFA European Championship (1992)
Denmark’s national team’s victory at the UEFA European Championship in 1992 is a classic underdog tale. They only qualified for the tournament after Yugoslavia was disqualified due to the outbreak of war.
Despite being hastily assembled and without their star player Michael Laudrup, the Danish team, led by coach Richard Møller Nielsen, displayed remarkable team cohesion and determination.
They won the final 2-0 with goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort, claiming their first European title and leaving a permanent mark on football history.
2) Porto – UEFA Champions League (2003/2004)
FC Porto’s Champions League victory in 2004 under the management of José Mourinho was a stunning achievement that shook the football world. Porto was not considered a favourite at the start of the competition, but Mourinho’s tactical genius led them to a dominant 3-0 victory over AS Monaco in the final.
Carlos Alberto, Deco, and Dmitri Alenichev scored the goals, with Deco being named the man of the match. This victory was a result of Porto’s disciplined approach and Mourinho’s ability to inspire his team to overcome the odds.
1) Leicester City – Premier League (2015/2016)
In what was described as one of the greatest sporting stories of all time, Leicester City was confirmed as champions of the 2015/2016 Premier League season on May 2, 2016.
Managed by Claudio Ranieri, the team was a 5000/1 long shot at the start of the season. With a squad built on a shoestring budget and players who had been overlooked by other clubs, Leicester City showed the world that dreams can come true.
The Foxes’ consistency, team spirit, and tactical discipline, coupled with the stellar performances of players like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, led them to win the title in one of the most competitive leagues in the world.