The World Cup’s Great Underdog Tales

The saying goes that “the world only remembers the winners”… but that’s not always true.

Here we look back at World Cup history and pick out two of the great underdog stories, of sides that didn’t win the tournament, but left it with their heads held high.

A Rugby Nation Celebrates its Soccer Stars

Look back to the 2010 World Cup and New Zealand were making only their second appearance in the major tournament after beating Bahrain to reach the competition. An island nation that takes great pride in its All Blacks rugby union side, it was the All Whites who took centre stage for the competition in South Africa. In a group that included Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia, the Kiwis were not given much of a chance of picking up any points in the pool. While New Zealand failed to reach the knockout stages, they did manage to go through their group without losing a match and were the only team to be undefeated at the tournament. Even the eventual winners Spain suffered a 1-0 loss to Switzerland on their way to World Cup glory.

New Zealand started with a 1-1 draw against Slovakia thanks to an injury-time goal from Winston Reid, before a remarkable stalemate against Worlds Cup holders Italy. Scoring early can give an underdog a real confidence boost and Shane Smeltz’s opener after seven minutes certainly did that. However, it was by no means the quickest goal in the tournament’s history as there have been numerous goals within the first minute including Hakan Sukur’s strike within 11 seconds in 2002 for Turkey against South Korea.

Vincenzo Iaquinta went on to equalise for the Azzurri in the 29th minute from the penalty spot, before New Zealand held on for a famous draw at Mbombela Stadium. A goalless draw with Paraguay meant the Kiwis missed out on reaching the knockouts by a point, but they did finish above the Italians and headed back to New Zealand with plenty of plaudits for their efforts.

Cameroon Take African Football Forward

There have been some great runs from African nations at World Cups, with the likes of Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) being two prime examples. But Cameroon back in 1990 were the first African country to really make a statement on the world stage. The Indomitable Lions managed to secure a 1-0 win over eventual finalists Argentina in their opening game of Italia 90, with François Omam-Biyik scoring the all-important goal. The result was even more remarkable considering Cameroon had two players sent off in the match against an Argentina side captained by the great Diego Maradona.

Cameroon then went on to beat Romania 2-1, before a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Soviet Union. Still, Cameroon managed to finish top of Group B before their 38-year-old forward Roger Milla became a world sensation with his goals and eye-catching celebrations. Milla bagged a brace as Cameroon beat Colombia 2-1 in extra-time in the last-16, before a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat to England in the quarter-finals. It took extra time to separate the two sides, and Cameroon left the tournament having put African football firmly on the map.

World Cups are more than just about the winners, and Qatar 2022 is likely to produce its own stories of underdogs who will grab the headlines.


Countries vs. Sports: The Australian Sporting National Image

Countries vs. Sports: The Australian Sporting National Image Australia is a truly unique place for sports development. Thanks to globalization and internationalization processes, this country has invested in the evolution of traditional sports disciplines too. The peculiarities of its geographical position have significantly influenced the ranking of its popular sports. Thanks to GGBet Australia and other reputable betting services, people who are not really aware of what sports are popular in Oceania can easily check that.

The key factor here is that interests in sports are closely connected to the locals’ desire to punt, so the general picture will coincide with reality. Yet, there are myriads of activities that aren’t included in the list of professional sport and are beloved by Aussies. Pictures of the world are defined by several aspects, and knowing more about the sports habits of the country’s population will speak for itself.

Sports without Borders

According to statistics, four in five residents of the country can’t help but agree that sports are an important part of their daily life and land culture. Numerous experts who are specialized in sports development in the region even compare its influence and value to religion. So to say, Aussies consider sports their own and unique form of religion. 

This obsession with sports isn’t tragic. The domestic authorities at different levels ensure the rights of both sides are fully protected. This relates to clubs, their fans, and betting enthusiasts too. On the one hand, there are varied restrictions in the field when it comes to the advertising of related services, for instance. On the other hand, Aussies are much more confident in their passion for sports than residents of other countries.

Specific Sports in Australia

Australian athletes always participate in world championships and are known as skilled cricket, rugby, football, and hockey professionals. The list of activities people in the country are captivated about isn’t limited to traditional disciplines only:

  • Vigoro — in the universe of art, mixing different designs and layouts leads to unexpected yet excellent results. When it comes to sports, the same concept is also present. Vigoro is a combination of baseball and cricket. It is more popular among women. Invented back in 1901, it is one of the oldest activities in the official sports arena in Australia. Originally, this game was somewhat between tennis and cricket, but the rules were modified over time. It is a team activity, where squads of twelve participants compete to score the highest number of runs.

  • Trugo — if you are outside Australia, it will be a daunting task to define what is it just based on its name. The context is clear, but peculiarities are hard to understand. When it comes to trugo, it is a unique game in the land. Invented in Australia, it uses rubber rings, goal posts, and mallets to open and lead the score. Traditionally, it is an outdoor activity. If you want to experience a genuine Australian vibe, this game is highly suggested to give it a try.

  • Surf lifesaving — of course, the peculiar geography of the region couldn’t but influence its sports and culture. In this case, competitors are beach lifeguards, and they have to perform different tasks to win the challenge.

  • Campdrafting — horse riding and horse races are especially beloved in Australia. Campdrafting is a level up of the previous two activities. It also offers a sort of rancho and farm atmosphere to both participants and viewers. Team penning and Chilean rodeo are similar sports to enjoy if you like this variety.

Winner of the Australian Love

Known as Aussie rules, footy, and simply football, Australian football is a reason why sports fans are proud of their land. Though the name seems similar to a traditional variant, it is more like rugby in its essence. The game is played by two teams of eighteen competitors. By the way, AFL is the most attended sport in the country.

Among the world-famous celebrities in this sport, there are such athletes as Leigh Matthews, Ted Whitten, Wayne Carey, and several others. Since AFL is so popular in Australia, there are many samples of superstars and skillful talents.

Active Leisure Time

Australians are not only active supporters and sports fans. More and more local residents implement going in for sports in their daily routine. According to some research data, the average time people spend weekly for training is around two and a half hours. What is more interesting, this parameter has exceeded the amount of time they spend in front of TVs. If you think Aussies are coach potatoes just because they are so crazy about online sports, the myth is busted in practice.

The ability to enjoy gorgeous landscapes and vast territories also motivates amateur athletes in Australia. The most popular way to train is by visiting gyms and recreational walking. Cycling, swimming, athletics, and fitness form the basis of the sports industry in Oceania.

Australians are more focused on increasing their physical and mental stamina these days, so there is nothing surprising their passion for sports experiences transformations and modifications from time to time.

Wrap It Up

If you don’t want to read long posts to get an update about what sports are most popular in Australia, infographics provided by Australian bookmakers will come in handy. All in all, the tendency of sports development in the country is more than just positive. The local residents are eager to implement new activities and thus help the industry evolve in general.

Australians appreciate global sports, but a good feature of their national character is supported by traditional domestic activities. If you are looking for a chance to open your sports horizons, it is worth getting to know more about sports divergence in Oceania.

Mike Powell Breaks Long Jump World Record 1991

Mike Powell Breaks Long Jump World Record 1991 On October 18, 1968, during the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, American long jumper Bob Beamon delivered one of the great performances in the history of the modern Olympiad. Beamon hung in the rarefied air at the Estadio Olímpico and soared out to an astonishing distance of 8.90 metres, thereby beating the previous world record by 55 centimetres. Of course, Beamon benefited from the ‘double whammy’ of high altitude – Mexico City stands 7,350 feet above sea level – and a brisk, but legal, tailwind, but his record nonetheless stood for 23 years.

The stars aligned again on August 30, 1991, at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, during the World Athletics Championships. Taking advantage not of high altitude, but rather an extraordinarily hard long jump runway surface – of a type which, thereafter, would no longer be sanctioned by World Athletics – fellow American Mike Powell leapt 8.95 metres, thereby beating Beamon’s record by 5 centimetres. It was probably no coincidence that compatriot Carl Lewis jumped 8.87 metres – the third-longest legal jump of all time – during the same competition.

In 2016, Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics, proposed introducing a new set of world records, based on performaces in the so-called ‘Clean Athletics’ era. Powell reacted angrily, saying ‘I’ve got something that was set 25 years ago and I have got some guy sitting in an office who can take it away from me? Are you kidding me? I’d slap him in his face if he said that to me.’

Mike Powell – World Long Jump Record 1991 (VIDEO)

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