10 Sporting Blowouts That Made Us Say 'Ouch!'

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Vote up the most painful thrashings.

Sometimes a sporting contest is memorable because two equally matched competitors bring out the best in each other in a thrilling spectacle for the fans. But sometimes the contests are memorable for less grandiose reasons. Whether it's a major mismatch, or one competitor just spectacularly implodes, a major sporting blowout tends to live long in the memory.

There's often a good story behind incident. From the rule change that forced a tiny Pacific team to field novice teenagers against professionals, to the rugby gamble that backfired horribly, this collection looks at the most painful drubbings in sports - those lopsided results where you can't help but say, “ouch!”


  • 1
    36 VOTES

    Australia Beat Namibia 142-0 In The 2003 Rugby World Cup

    In the rugby world, Australia is very much the crème de la crème. The two-time world champs were on home turf in a 2003 World Cup match against Namibia, whose team was still chasing their first-ever win on rugby’s grandest stage in 15 attempts. The African team occupies a bit of an odd place in international rugby. The Welwitschias, as they are known, is a tier-two side that suffers from a small talent pool and a lack of local competition to compete against. Neighboring South Africa is on a different level, so developing as a rugby nation is difficult for Namibia.

    Going into the match against the defending world champions, the Namibians decided to rest several key players. They knew they had little chance of victory against the Wallabies, but the final group stage match against Romania was a more realistic chance of getting that historic first win. The Aussies also rotated their squad, but even a second-string Australian rugby team is still going to be first-rate. The best Namibia could hope for was to keep things respectable.

    The Australian team was not in a merciful mood; they scored twice in the first 10  minutes and just didn’t let up. The game was held at the Adelaide Oval, which is typically used for cricket, so the hefty score line was pretty fitting for the arena. One of the Namibian players was also a cricket player and had the unusual distinction of competing in two World Cups in the same year. The Namibian coach gave a pretty honest verdict on the mismatch:

    They were too big, too quick, too fast - and it was a case of boys against men. It just shows really the gap between top sides and the sides of the lower echelon - but to be brutal the Australians approached it like a training run.

    At least some of the players seemed to have a good time; prop Neil du Toit was upbeat in his post-match comments:

    The experience we got there is irreplaceable. Yes, it's true we got a big hiding. But you actually physically feel that you can measure yourself against these guys and know where you have to go.

    After the walloping at the hands of the Wallabies, the Welwitschias made a more credible game of it against Romania but still came up short. At the time of writing, they’re still chasing that first rugby World Cup win. A typhoon prevented them from notching that maiden victory against Canada in 2019, a match Namibia had a very good shot of actually winning.

    36 votes
  • 2
    41 VOTES

    Canada Defeated Denmark 47-0 In The 1949 Ice Hockey World Championship

    When it comes to ice hockey in Canada, standards are sky-high. Until 1963, Canada was represented in international tournaments by senior amateur club teams. The one chosen for the 1949 World Championships in Sweden was Northern Ontario's Sudbury Wolves (modern lineup pictured). The team wasn’t highly regarded by sportswriters at the time and went to Stockholm with a point to prove.

    The opposition for that opening pool match was Denmark. Logic would seem to dictate that a Scandinavian country would naturally be a dab hand at ice hockey, but the Danes were very much the runt of the Nordic litter back then. They’d only just formed a team that year and took to the ice in shoddy wooden skates that quickly broke. The big bad Wolves blew the hapless Danes away in a merciless drubbing.

    Canada was up 13-0 after the first period and just plain refused to let up the pressure. Reports at the time noted the Danish team could barely get the puck out of their own half. By the time it was over, the Canadians had notched 47 goals without reply. At the time it was by far the heaviest defeat meted out in international hockey. Denmark’s maiden world championship didn’t get much better in the next match against Austria, finishing 25-1, but at least they got a goal. 

    The Canadians weren’t nearly so dominant in the next round. A loss to Czechoslovakia and ties with Sweden and Switzerland meant they had to settle for silver. The failure to win the gold was nothing short of an outrage. Canadian sportswriter Jim Coleman wrote

    If a worse team than the Sudbury Wolves has represented Canada in international hockey competitions, we haven't heard of it.

    Czechoslovakia’s victory was especially poignant due to a tragic air crash where six players perished in 1948. It might have taken 73 years, but the Danish national team finally managed to avenge its thrashing with a shock victory over Canada in 2022.

    41 votes
  • Brazil Fell To A Huge World Cup Loss In Front Of Their Own Fans
    Photo: Confederação Brasileira de Futebol

    7-1 is an astonishing score line at any level of soccer, but in the latter stages of the World Cup, it’s unheard of. The 2014 semi-final pitted international soccer’s two most successful sides against each other. Five-time champs Brazil were on home turf and gunning for a place in the final in front of a packed crowd at the Estadio Mineirão stadium. In their way were four-time champions Germany, who last reached the final in 2002, losing out to Brazil.

    Brazil was without star forward Neymar and key defender Thiago Silva, but they hadn’t lost a competitive match on home soil since 1975. Germany was the stronger side on paper, but few could have possibly foreseen the carnage that was about to unfold. It is remembered in Brazil today as the Agony of Mineirão.

    Germany opened the scoring on 11 minutes and ruthlessly exploited the weaknesses in the Brazil backline to run up an unprecedented 5-0 lead with barely half an hour gone. The Germans saw out the half and decided not to compound Brazil’s misery even further in the second half. With the result beyond doubt, the German team wanted to stay professional. Defender Mats Hummels explained

    We just made it clear that we had to stay focused and not try to humiliate them. We said we had to stay serious and concentrate at half-time. That's something you don't have to show on the pitch if you are playing.

    In the second half, Brazil pushed forward to get something - anything - for the fans, which left gaps in the backline for the Germans to punish twice more. It was a day of clinical finishing by the German team, which netted seven goals from only 14 attempts. Brazil scored in the 90th minute to reduce the deficit to 7-1. Suffice it to say, the crowd didn’t exactly go wild for that one.

    The result still weighs on the shoulders of the Brazil team years later; in a nation where football is “God,” losers aren't tolerated. The unfortunate Brazil goalkeeper Júlio César knows he’ll never escape the taint of the defeat. On his retirement from international football following the World Cup, he remarked:

    Even today, when I lie down, it’s inevitable that I think about it. I’m already imagining the day I die, years from now, when they announce on the news: “Júlio César, the goalkeeper in the 7-1, has died.”

    34 votes
  • Australia's National Soccer Team Defeated American Samoa 31-0
    Photo: Next Goal Wins / Icon Productions
    3
    49 VOTES

    Australia's National Soccer Team Defeated American Samoa 31-0

    In a 2001 qualifying match for the 2002 World Cup, Australia ran riot against American Samoa. Such was the blitz of goals that even the scorekeeper couldn’t keep track, with the result initially recorded as 32-0 before being corrected to 31-0. As great as the gap between the two sides was, some important mitigating factors contributed to the landslide. 

    With a small population of a little more than 55,000 American Samoa struggles to field respectable teams at the best of times. With limited opportunities at home, many young people opt to join the US military and don’t come back. Other potential players have difficulty with work commitments and the expenses of playing. So, take these already trying circumstances and make them worse - much worse.

    In February 2001, American Samoa’s coach learned the eligibility rules had changed and his players would need to hold US passports to play. Of the 20-man roster selected, 19 fell short of the requirement. Only the unfortunate goalkeeper, Nicky Salapu (pictured) was still allowed to play. American Samoa couldn’t even fall back on its under-20 team because many of them had school exams. After a desperate scramble to find any living soul with the right passport, a ramshackle roster of 16 players was thrown together that included two 15-year-olds who had never actually played a full 90-minute match. Some didn't even own the right footwear. With most players unable to even kick a ball more than a few yards, Salapu was going to be a busy man.

    The game American Samoans actually kept the Australian Socceroos at bay - for seven minutes. Once the first goal went in, the floodgates opened as the Aussies scored at will. At halftime, with the score at 16-0, a distraught Salapu, himself just 20 years old at the time, recalled:

    For me mentally, at halftime, I was really exhausted. I said a little prayer, cried a little bit when I was thinking to myself what can I do better to help my team out. God gave me the strength to survive the rest of the game.

    But the Australian team kept running up the score in the second period as their exhausted opposition could scarcely move. Australia’s Archie Thompson, who racked up an astonishing 13 goals in the match, explained:

    I felt so sorry for those guys, because we couldn’t not try. It felt bad the way we were scoring and how easy it was, but we simply had to do what we had to do. I didn’t know the score line was going to be like it was, but whenever you represent your country you’ve got to go hard.

    Such a humiliating defeat would have many questioning their future in the sport, but Salapu was made of sterner stuff. He vowed to play on and do the impossible: win an international match with American Samoa. 

    Nine long years later, he was pivotal in the tiny nation’s first-ever victory: a 2-1 triumph over Tonga. The goalkeeper was overcome with emotion as he broke down in tears at full-time. The nightmare match of 2001 was now firmly in the past:

    I feel like a champ right now. Finally I’m going to put the past behind me.

    49 votes
  • The Chicago Bears Obliterated Washington 73-0 In The 1940 NFL Championship Game
    Video: YouTube

    In the run-up to the 1940 NFL Championship game (the Super Bowl didn’t begin until 1967), all the signs pointed to a close, competitive match between the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins (now the Commanders). In fact, just three weeks prior, Washington edged out the Bears in a 7-3 victory in the regular season. Legend has it, Washington owner George Preston Marshall derided his team  as “quitters” and “crybabies” in the build-up to the game, and the Bears coach George Halas used those words to inspire his team to a crushing victory.

    There’s no evidence Marshall actually said those insults; a researcher only found an anonymous letter on the Bears’ bulletin board with those words. The writer suspected Halas might have written the letter himself. Whatever the truth, Halas used the words to inspire his players in his pre-game talk:

    Gentleman, this is what George Preston Marshall thinks of you. Well, I think you're a great football team, the greatest ever assembled. Now, go out there on the field and prove it! 

    Chicago did just that with an early touchdown. Washington should have leveled soon after but for a dropped pass in the end zone. Another oft-repeated but unsubstantiated story is that when asked about whether that blown chance might have altered the game, Washington star player Sammy Baugh just scoffed and said, “then it would have finished 73-7.”

    As bad as the day was for Washington, it actually should have been even worse, but a shortage of footballs helped keep the score down. Because the Bears kicked so many points into the stands, the officials were running out of footballs to keep the game going. As Bob Snyder recalled:

    We scored 11 touchdowns, but the referee asked if we'd begin running for the extra point. People were ringing the field and every time a pass or kick went into the crowd, they kept the ball. They were out of footballs.

    They stopped us four times when we tried to run the extra point. They didn't change the ball every play like they do now for (today's) dandies.

    Each member of the Bears team got $873.99 (about $18,000 in 2022) - a very nice payday but a far cry from the $150,000 today’s Super Bowl champs pocket. But more importantly, the team earned sporting immortality and the memories to last a lifetime. As former running back George McAfee reflected 50 years later:

    I wouldn't trade my years with the Bears for all the money they're making now.

    30 votes
  • John Heisman's Georgia Tech Defeated Cumberland 220-0
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    At the time of this bizarre contest, Georgia Tech's football team, known as the Yellow Jackets, was coached by John Heisman (pictured, 1918). The John Heisman. He also coached baseball and basketball, and it was a drubbing in the former - to the Cumberland Bulldogs - that sowed the seeds for the football rout. Cumberland brought in several ringers from the minor leagues to thrash Heisman’s team 22-0. Suffice it to say, Heisman was keen to even the score against the Tennessee school.

    The Cumberland Bulldogs were scheduled to play Georgia in October 1916 but folded after the 1915 season wrapped up. Heisman didn’t let a minor quibble like Cumberland no longer having a team get in the way of his vengeance. Georgia Tech forced Cumberland to fulfill the fixture anyway. Under the threat of paying a hefty forfeit fee, but also a $500 bounty from Heisman himself, Cumberland's manager gathered a band of players to make the trip to Atlanta. Reports conflict over just how many sacrificial bodies were rustled up for the game, but it wasn’t more than 20, and three didn’t make the last train.

    It’s worth pointing out that football was a good deal more dangerous back then so the reluctance to take part was understandable. Most of the players didn’t even want to touch the ball. A strapping young fellow nicknamed “Pee Wee” unwillingly received a snap and promptly ran out of bounds in terror.

    Georgia scored on their first play and pretty much at will thereafter. The first quarter ended 63-0; at halftime, it was 126-0 and Heisman reportedly gave a facetious team talk

    We’re ahead, but you just can’t tell what those Cumberland players have up their sleeves. They may spring a surprise. Be alert, men.

    Georgia kept running up the score as the hapless Bulldogs struggled to get the ball out of their own red zone. They didn’t manage a single first down for the entire game and rushed for -42 yards. Of the 32 touchdowns scored by Georgia, the most bizarre was when the kicker caught his own kick-off for a touchdown. 

    Heisman finally relented a little by agreeing to cut the second half to 15 minutes, but that was still more than enough to add nearly 100 points to the final score.
     

    48 votes
  • Brazil Fell To A Huge World Cup Loss In Front Of Their Own Fans
    Photo: Confederação Brasileira de Futebol

    7-1 is an astonishing score line at any level of soccer, but in the latter stages of the World Cup, it’s unheard of. The 2014 semi-final pitted international soccer’s two most successful sides against each other. Five-time champs Brazil were on home turf and gunning for a place in the final in front of a packed crowd at the Estadio Mineirão stadium. In their way were four-time champions Germany, who last reached the final in 2002, losing out to Brazil.

    Brazil was without star forward Neymar and key defender Thiago Silva, but they hadn’t lost a competitive match on home soil since 1975. Germany was the stronger side on paper, but few could have possibly foreseen the carnage that was about to unfold. It is remembered in Brazil today as the Agony of Mineirão.

    Germany opened the scoring on 11 minutes and ruthlessly exploited the weaknesses in the Brazil backline to run up an unprecedented 5-0 lead with barely half an hour gone. The Germans saw out the half and decided not to compound Brazil’s misery even further in the second half. With the result beyond doubt, the German team wanted to stay professional. Defender Mats Hummels explained

    We just made it clear that we had to stay focused and not try to humiliate them. We said we had to stay serious and concentrate at half-time. That's something you don't have to show on the pitch if you are playing.

    In the second half, Brazil pushed forward to get something - anything - for the fans, which left gaps in the backline for the Germans to punish twice more. It was a day of clinical finishing by the German team, which netted seven goals from only 14 attempts. Brazil scored in the 90th minute to reduce the deficit to 7-1. Suffice it to say, the crowd didn’t exactly go wild for that one.

    The result still weighs on the shoulders of the Brazil team years later; in a nation where football is “God,” losers aren't tolerated. The unfortunate Brazil goalkeeper Júlio César knows he’ll never escape the taint of the defeat. On his retirement from international football following the World Cup, he remarked:

    Even today, when I lie down, it’s inevitable that I think about it. I’m already imagining the day I die, years from now, when they announce on the news: “Júlio César, the goalkeeper in the 7-1, has died.”

    34 votes