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Greatest international upset of all time

View Poll Results: Which is the greatest upset of all time?
1976 World Championships Poland - Soviet 6-4 7 7.07%
1980 Olympics USA - Soviet 4-3 54 54.55%
1984 Canada Cup Czechoslovakia - Germany 4-4 0 0%
1996 World Cup Czechoslovakia - Germany 1-7 2 2.02%
2000 World Championships Latvia-Russia 3-2 1 1.01%
2002 Olympics Belarus - Sweden 4-3 29 29.29%
2006 Olympics Switzerland - Czech Republic 3-2 1 1.01%
2006 Olympics Switzerland - Canada 2-0 5 5.05%
Voters: 99. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
03-02-2006, 01:20 PM
  #1
Leo Naphta
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Greatest international upset of all time

So, which one is it.

The candidates are.

1976 World Championships Poland - Soviet 6-4
This is from the time Soviet regularly subscribed to the World Championship title. Poland, now as then, a minor in the world of hockey.

1980 Olympics USA - Soviet 4-3
The mother of all upsets

1984 Canada Cup Czechoslovakia - Germany 4-4
First time ever a major (i.e. big7) nation is held by a minor (i.e. non-big7) nation in a best-on-best.

1996 World Cup Czech Republic - Germany 1-7
First time ever a major nation is defeated by a minor nation in a best-on-best. The result meant that the Czechs were out of the tournament. I seem however to remember that they didn't exactly went full throttle in that game…

2000 World Championships Latvia-Russia 3-2
Latvia defeats Russia to advance to the quarterfinals. Russia misses the quarterfinal, despite having several NHL superstars and home advantage in St. Petersburg. The greatest moment in Latvian hockey history.

2002 Olympics Belarus - Sweden 4-3
First, and so far only, time that a minor nation has defeated a big7 nation in the eliminationrounds in a best on best.

2006 Olympics Switzerland - Czech Republic 3-2
First time Switzerland defeats a big7 nation in a best-on-best

2006 Olympics Switzerland - Canada 2-0
First time a minor nation shuts out a major nation in best-on-best. First time Canada loses against a minor natin in a best-on-best.


Last edited by Leo Naphta: 03-02-2006 at 02:11 PM.
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Old
03-02-2006, 01:23 PM
  #2
Leo Naphta
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I'd say Sweden's loss to Belarus. But that is probably because it is the game that broke my heart...

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03-02-2006, 01:45 PM
  #3
God Bless Canada
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My pick is Sweden Belarus as well. The 1980 Miracle on Ice will likely win, but it was a talented (but young) U.S. team. Even in 1980, the gap between U.S. and U.S.S.R. was nowhere near as large as Belarus/Sweden.

One upset I would have liked to have seen in this list is from the 1995 WJC, when Ukraine upset the U.S. The U.S. was picked by many to be a threat for a medal. The Ukrainians were backstopped by an obscure but sensational goaltender who went on to be named to the tournament all-star team. It's considered by many to be the biggest upset in WJC history. The funny thing is Ukraine beat the U.S. the following year, too, and in Boston, no less.

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03-02-2006, 01:58 PM
  #4
Leo Naphta
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I think the most "underestimated" upset of these may be Poland's win in 1976. I bet not many people here have any memories of that game, or even watched it - I didn't. But this remember was during the cold war, when Poland was a part of the Soviet communist-bloc - something that a majority of Poles almost certainly opposed. I don't know what kind of team they put on in 1976, but judging by their lack of success during that time, and in the time that followed, it cannot have been particularly impressive. Watching them beat the mighty Soviet Union at home in Katowice must have been quite an experience.

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03-02-2006, 02:00 PM
  #5
Kenadyan
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Gotta be the 1980 US upset of the Soviets. C'mon, even as a Canadian, I'd vote for that one everytime.

That Soviet team had beaten some NHL clubs in exhibition games in the months leading up to the 1980 Olympics. Then, they get beaten by a bunch of college kids on the biggest stage in the world. Much credit to Herb Brooks.

It would be comparable to a bunch of college football all-stars beating the Super Bowl champion (not that it couldn't happen, but it would be most unlikely).

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03-02-2006, 02:04 PM
  #6
12# Peter Bondra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Naphta
1996 World Cup Czechoslovakia - Germany 1-7
First time ever a major nation is defeated by a minor nation in a best-on-best. The result meant that the Czechs were out of the tournament. I seem however to remember that they didn't exactly went full throttle in that game…
CzechoSlovakia? In 1996?

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03-02-2006, 02:06 PM
  #7
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I have to say the 1980 upset. Although it is the most media-hyped upset of all time, the more recent upsets such as Canada and Switzerland have to be recognized as the failure of a bunch of superstars to form a cohesive unit. The USSR team, however, was the most dominant team in that era and perhaps in history. They had been playing together for years, and crushed the US team in a game before the Olympics. You also have to take into consideration the game's significance because of the Cold War.

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03-02-2006, 02:10 PM
  #8
Leo Naphta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12# Peter Bondra
CzechoSlovakia? In 1996?
How stupid of me...

I edited the original post, but I cannot edit the poll.

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03-02-2006, 03:04 PM
  #9
mattihp
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No doubt it's 1980. The greatest team put together against a bunch of youngsters...

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03-02-2006, 03:23 PM
  #10
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I have to go with 1980 myself (looking at the picture through star-spangled glasses, admittedly ). Not only was it a great upset, but it was probably the most exhilarating Olympic moment I've ever experienced, or ever will. Somehow, watching the "Dream Team" mop the floor with the competition in basketball 12 years later just wasn't the same...

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03-02-2006, 03:23 PM
  #11
Leo Naphta
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I've found a few other tidbits about Poland's victory. Apparently the Poles had been beaten by 16-1 by the Soviets a few months before in the Olympics! Moreover, in '73 they were defeated by 20-0 and 9-3, in '74 by 17-0 and 8-3 and in '75 by 13-2 and 15-1!

The Soviets meanwhile came off four straight olympic victories, and had won 8 of the last 9 World Championships!

I'm starting to regret my choice...


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03-02-2006, 04:39 PM
  #12
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I think a lot of this has to do with definitions. Which was the bigger upset? Belarus over Sweden. At least some members of that U.S. team played in the show, and some went on to very successful careers.

But which upset is more significant within the history of the game? That's easy. The Miracle on Ice. Even if you think it's a little overhyped, there is to be no denying the impact this had on U.S. hockey, and the game in general. The Miracle on Ice inspired a generation of U.S. youth, and resulted in the best stretch of talent in U.S. hockey history. The U.S. consistently had strong drafts from about 1986 to 1992, players who would have been 6-12 years old at that time.

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03-02-2006, 04:57 PM
  #13
Big Phil
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Its 1980 case closed IMO. I mean how can it not be? Does anyone remember how good the Soviets were back then? They beat the NHl all-stars 6-0 in '79 and then 8-1 to Canada in '81. They were much better than the Swedes of '02. And Belarus was no worse than the Americans of '80.

This was maybe the best team ever, although the '76 Canadians and '87 are just ahead IMO. But could team USA have beaten the best NHLers at that time? I doubt it. can you imagine Herb Brooks engineering this team to beat the NHL? How embarassing would that be? Well that's how the Soviets felt.

I didnt go with Sweden/Belarus since it was a quarterfinal game and Sweden wasnt as good. The USA/Russia game was a semi final game. Plus Can/Swi this year was just a round robin game. The US had been handed thier lunch two weeks earlier by the Soviets 10-3.

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03-02-2006, 05:18 PM
  #14
Leo Naphta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by God Bless Canada
I think a lot of this has to do with definitions. Which was the bigger upset? Belarus over Sweden. At least some members of that U.S. team played in the show, and some went on to very successful careers.

But which upset is more significant within the history of the game? That's easy. The Miracle on Ice. Even if you think it's a little overhyped, there is to be no denying the impact this had on U.S. hockey, and the game in general. The Miracle on Ice inspired a generation of U.S. youth, and resulted in the best stretch of talent in U.S. hockey history. The U.S. consistently had strong drafts from about 1986 to 1992, players who would have been 6-12 years old at that time.
Some good points there. I agree with you that The Miracle on Ice has had the greatest impact on the game.

But if we are looking at upset in terms of largest disparity in quality between the teams, I believe that Poland or Belarus pulled off the biggest upset.

If we compare the Miracle in Katowice - the Poles had home advantage - with the 1980-miracle, we should remember that Poland was usually humiliated by Russia (19-1) a few months before. I also doubt that the 1980 USA team was worse than the 1976 Polish team. The day after beating Soviet, Poland was humiliated 12-0 by Czechoslovakia. In fact, they were so bad in that tournament that they got relegated! Moreover, and someone please correct me if I am wrong here, the Soviets was about enter a generational shift in 1980. In 1976, their key players such as Kharlamov was still in their primes.

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03-03-2006, 02:28 AM
  #15
stv11
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I voted for Poland-USSR, very underrated upset

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil
The USA/Russia game was a semi final game.
It wasn't, there was no elimination games back in 1980

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03-03-2006, 02:33 AM
  #16
Corto
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Voted Sweden-Belarus.

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03-03-2006, 04:19 AM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Naphta
I think the most "underestimated" upset of these may be Poland's win in 1976.
Hey, hey! This is the most legendary event in polish hockey and one of the most legendary in our sport in general. Thanks to goalie Wieslaw Tkacz and a national team rookie Wieslaw Jobczyk who scored a hat-trick we won 6-4. People in Katowice and in the whole country went nuts.
I've heard that tapes from this game dissapeared, there are some highlights in the tv archives 'though.
I think you are underrating that team's quality a little bit Leo Naphta. I agree we were a minor but I think we could be compared to todays Germany, Belaruss, Kazakhstan. On the other hand I doubt that any of todays teams has the same level of dominance that Soviet team had.
I think Lake Placid was a bigger upset 'though. It was much more important game, against Poland Myshkin or Sidielnikov was a starter ( replaced with Tretiak with the score 4-1 to Pol), 'though Tretiak didn't exactly help the Soviets against Americans and while some of those american players were later very good it was a college team.


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03-03-2006, 08:37 AM
  #18
Ludwig Fell Down
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stv11
I voted for Poland-USSR, very underrated upset



It wasn't, there was no elimination games back in 1980
Correct, although the U.S. would have been eliminated from Gold medal contention had they lost, and I believe USSR would have clinched the gold with a win.

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03-03-2006, 08:55 AM
  #19
stv11
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The medal round was a four team poll with the US, the USSR, Sweden and Finland. The results were :

USA 2-2 SWE (carried over from the 1st round)
URS 4-2 FIN (carried over from the 1st round)
USA 4-3 URS
SWE 3-3 FIN
URS 9-2 SWE
USA 4-2 FIN

The US topped the standing by one point, so the USSR game was indeed the one which decided the gold medal (but the soviets couldn't clinch the gold with a win as Sweden would still have had a chance). Still, both teams had one game left and had to beat Finland and Sweden to clinch their medals, which is why the USA-Finland game is often mistakenly described as the final.

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03-03-2006, 09:16 AM
  #20
Leo Naphta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archijerej
Hey, hey! This is the most legendary event in polish hockey and one of the most legendary in our sport in general. Thanks to goalie Wieslaw Tkacz and a national team rookie Wieslaw Jobczyk who scored a hat-trick we won 6-4. People in Katowice and in the whole country went nuts.
I've heard that tapes from this game dissapeared, there are some highlights in the tv archives 'though.
I think you are underrating that team's quality a little bit Leo Naphta. I agree we were a minor but I think we could be compared to todays Germany, Belaruss, Kazakhstan. On the other hand I doubt that any of todays teams has the same level of dominance that Soviet team had.
I think Lake Placid was a bigger upset 'though. It was much more important game, against Poland Myshkin or Sidielnikov was a starter ( replaced with Tretiak with the score 4-1 to Pol), 'though Tretiak didn't exactly help the Soviets against Americans and while some of those american players were later very good it was a college team.
It's quite possible that I underrate the Polish team. I never watched that team play - I was born in the seventies - but I remember that Poland was almost on a par with West Germany from time to time in the eighties - Sweden alwas seemed to have bigger problems beating Poland than West Germany. My estimation was based on the fact that Poland had lost by scores nearing the twenties in the preceding months and years. I don't think the USA was ever that far behind. On the other hand, Poland had beaten USA a few times in the seventies, but I suspect that that American team was worse on paper than the Miracle on ice team. I don't know that for a fact though.

Still, it was a great victory for Poland, and it made for a great story. In your opinion, Archijerej, how much of its legendary status is due to the political situation of the time?

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03-03-2006, 10:25 AM
  #21
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I went with Sweden-Belarus. The 1980 victory by the U.S. was impressive, but at least somewhat foreshadowed with the U.S. Team's impressive tournament play up to that point. I remember at the time thinking that an upset was at least possible. Not so with Sweden-Belarus, but that was probably just due to a lack of familiarity with Belarus. Sweden was playing great up to that point, though.

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03-03-2006, 10:37 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by God Bless Canada
My pick is Sweden Belarus as well. The 1980 Miracle on Ice will likely win, but it was a talented (but young) U.S. team. Even in 1980, the gap between U.S. and U.S.S.R. was nowhere near as large as Belarus/Sweden.

While the talent gap was larger bewteen Sweden-Belarus than US-USSR, one factor not to be overlooked is that the Swedish team had only been playing together for two weeks, while the dominant Sovit team practiced and played together 11 months a year, and many of those players have been on the team for 5-7 years. They were an absolute well oiled machine that had just dismantles an NHL all-star team.

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03-03-2006, 11:10 AM
  #23
Archijerej
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Naphta
Still, it was a great victory for Poland, and it made for a great story. In your opinion, Archijerej, how much of its legendary status is due to the political situation of the time?
Very much IMO. The 70's are the beginning of anti-communist opposition in Poland. In 1970 in Gdynia the government gave orders to open fire to the striking laborers, in the same 1976 there were strikes in Radom and Ursus that gave birth to " Solidarity" and while there were no Soviet intervention like in Hungary and Chechoslovakia it was obvious for everybody who is a guardien of the communist regime. So every victory over the Soviet Union was treated like it was a victory on the battlefield. same was in 1956 when our football team have won 2-1 and in Olympic games in Montreal when our volleyball team won the gold beating USSR in the final. But in case of this hockey game it was special, because of the time when it happened and because we were a complete underdog (in volleyball and football we were as good as the Soviets and for some periods of time, even better) and couple years earlier we lost 19-0

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03-06-2006, 02:31 AM
  #24
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I can understand that "Miracle on blahblahblah" gets the most votes, but the biggest upset ever... No fricken way!

The Soviets struggled all through the ´79-´80 season and Lake Placid was no exception. Does it need to be reminded that the "mighty" Finland was leading the game against the Russians 2-1 with just five and half minutes to go (ok, USSR rallied and won the game 4-2) and the Soviets barely beat the amateur Canada (one young Glenn Anderson does not a great team make).

Also, just prior to the Olympics, Buffalo Sabres had crushed Red Army 6-1 in an exhibition game and the Habs had an easy night with them also (a 4-2 win), so while the Soviets were awesome on paper, they clearly weren´t unbeatable in reality!

Of course they still should have won the USA game, but it just doesn´t qualify as the biggest upset ever, as far as I´m concerned. The Soviets were a "team in transition" (lots of older players going out and younger coming in) and that can sometimes create problems. BTW, Czechoslovakia had a similar situation and they fared even worse than the Soviets in LP!

All in all, I think the Sweden - Belarus game is a much bigger upset.


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03-06-2006, 02:39 AM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corto
Voted Sweden-Belarus.
same

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