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Biggest sporting mismatches

Tom Walker
October 14, 2010
Dereck Chisora will be taking a few steps up in class when he tackles Wladimir Klitschko in December © Getty Images

While David Haye's blockbuster November showdown with fellow Brit Audley Harrison has captured the nation's attention, earlier this week it was announced that British heavyweight champion Dereck Chisora will step into the ring with Wladimir Klitschko on December 11. The bout has generated little excitement, with many of the opinion that Chisora will get a hammering at the hands of his hugely experienced and powerful opponent. The bout has the look of a complete mismatch - much like the following one-sided sporting contests.

Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich
Relegated already in the eyes of many pundits, Ipswich arrived at Old Trafford at the beginning of March, in 1995, with seemingly nothing to lose. Alex Ferguson's side, however, were locked in a fierce battle for the Premiership title with Blackburn Rovers, so the visitors were under no illusions of the size of the task ahead of them. Still, there was cause for optimism, seeing that during George Burley's first month in charge they had earned a shock victory at Liverpool. Unfortunately for Burley, his beginners luck had run out. United were not just 'in the mood', they were rampant and Ipswich's only saving grace was that their goalkeeper Craig Forrest enjoyed a match to savour, thwarting Fergie's men time and again. Nine goals would have to suffice, with Andy Cole smashing five of them in the club's biggest victory for over a century.

Australia 142-0 Namibia
When Chris Latham scored the opening converted try inside the first two minutes at the Adelaide Oval during the 2003 World Cup, you instantly felt Namibia were in for a torrid 80 minutes. Australia may have narrowly missed out on a world-record score but they won by a record margin, running in a World Cup record 22 tries in the process. If Latham hadn't have been so selfish, the whole of the Australian side could have got on the score sheet. As it was, the winger grabbed five while Lote Tuqiri and Matt Giteau had to be content with three apiece. In a largely second-string outfit, Mat Rogers finished with 42 points by his name after taking over the kicking duties. Afterwards, Namibia coach Dave Waterston said: "We got a rugby lesson - they were ruthless".

Steffi Graf v Natasha Zvereva
Spare a thought for the thousands of people who paid good money to watch the French Open women's singles final in 1988 - they were treated to a mere 34 minutes of action. Zvereva, aged only 17 at the time, had beaten the likes of Martina Navratilova and sixth seed Helena Sukova en route to the final, so much was expected as she took to the court to face Germany's Graf. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, her only individual Grand Slam singles final was over when she succumbed to a 6-0 6-0 massacre. In her defence, Zvereva was predominantly a doubles player, a formidable one at that, and she happened to come up against a woman who was having the year of her career - Graf was on the way to four Grand Slam victories and Olympic Gold. A bitterly disappointed Zvereva said: "I wanted to do well, but Graf was so awesome that after the first set I began to think about what I would have to eat for dinner later."

Australia 31-0 American Samoa
Qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup will forever be remembered for the hammering American Samoa received. The two teams entered the clash on the back of conflicting form. The Socceroos recorded a 22-0 win over Tonga, breaking the previous record for the biggest win in an international match. Meanwhile, American Samoa were struggling to plug gaping holes in their defence, losing 13-0 to Fiji and 8-0 to Samoa. With their defence leaking goals at will, a potent strike force was a necessity, but they failed to register a single goal as Australia found the back of the net 31 times - Archie Thompson doing his goals/game ratio no harm as he bagged 13. Afterwards, American Samoa manager Tony Langkilde said: "Despite what some people say, I refuse to accept that we are the worst team in the world." Somewhat debatable.

England v Australia
In 1938, Australia were 1-0 up in the five-match series with England with only match remaining - at The Oval. Wally Hammond won the toss and England put the pads on. After a phenomenal 335.2 overs, Hammond's England had accumulated 903 runs for the loss of seven wickets - Len Hutton chipping in with a knock of 364. England, perhaps feeling just about safe, declared and proceeded to rip through an Australian batting line-up without key duo Jack Fingleton and Don Bradman. Australia's nine crawled to 201. In the second innings, the visitors totally capitulated, making 123 to fall to an innings and 579-run defeat. Ricky Ponting and his men have been warned.

Tiger Woods blew away the field at Pebble Beach in 2000 © Getty Images

Eric Moussambani
Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea won the hearts of the Sydney crowd in the heats of the 100m freestyle during the 2000 Olympics. Nicknamed "Eric The Eel" by some sections of the media, Moussambani set the slowest time ever for the event. He had only learned to swim in January and he appeared exhausted as he ploughed his way, unconventionally, through the water. However, cheered on by a partisan crowd, he finally completed the race in 1 minute 52 seconds - more than double the length of time it took his faster competitors.

Muhammad Ali v Richard Dunn
Dunn was the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight champion when he fought Ali for the world title. Dunn, who was 31 at the time, was not in the great Ali's league, however, and he was dominated when they met in Munich in 1976. Dunn, a Halifax southpaw, got off to a confident start but Ali soon showed his class to take apart his awkward opponent. Dunn was knocked down five times before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight in the fifth round.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' 15-stroke victory at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach is still considered by many to be the greatest performance in golf history. His domination over four consecutive days was emphatic to say the least: he drove further and straighter than anyone, his irons landed on the small, firm greens like lasers and he didn't three putt once. "Tiger has raised the bar," said Tom Watson, who won his only US Open at Pebble Beach in 1982 - "and it seems that he's the only guy who can jump over that bar." Watson would be proved correct when Woods went on to win the Open Championship, the US PGA Championship and then the 2001 Masters to seal a unique 'Tiger Slam.'

Manny Pacquiao v Oscar de la Hoya
"I don't know if its wishful thinking or I am seeing things that I shouldn't be seeing, but Oscar looked drawn," said Bob Arum at the weigh-in. Boxing promoters are supposed to support their charge and initially Arum's analysis of De la Hoya could easily have been brushd aside as nothing more than psychological gamesmanship. But Arum was right on this occasion; De la Hoya was visibly weight-drained as he tipped the scales at 145 pounds for the December 2008 superfight, his lightest weight for 11 years. Pacquiao weighed-in three pounds lighter, but the Filipino looked healthy and strong - the total opposite of a gaunt De la Hoya. The 'Golden Boy' was a shadow of his former self as the 'Pacman' punished him for eight rounds until he was forced to retire on his stool ahead of the start of the ninth. An amazing performance from Pacquiao, but De la Hoya was, unfortunately, nothing more than a punch bag.

Manchester United 3-0 Millwall
The 3-0 scoreline of the 2004 FA Cup final fails to depict a match that was essentially men versus boys. Millwall may have started the stronger, but it didn't take United long to assert themselves. Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show, terrorising Millwall's defence - specifically the hapless Robbie Ryan - as Fergie's men toyed with their inferior opponents. Ronaldo headed United in front just before the break, with Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy bagging a brace in the second-half. United minus Ronaldo will have been a different proposition for Millwall but the trouble was the Portuguese wizard was at the hub of every United wave of attack. "Ryan Giggs and Ruud van Nistelrooy produced some good moments for us, but Cristiano Ronaldo was particularly outstanding," said Gary Neville. "I think Ronaldo can be one of the top footballers in the world."

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