What is David’s biggest population victory against Goliath in soccer? | Football
“Curacao beat India 3-1 in the Copa del Rey last week,” notes Bas van Eldonk. “Curaçao has a population of 162,000 compared to India’s 1.367 billion, meaning there is one person in Curaçao for every 8,438 in India. Let’s call this ratio (1:8438) the David/Goliath number. Has there ever been a win in men’s international football with a higher D/G number?”
In FIFA ranking terms, Curaçao’s victory over India was no shock at all: they were the 82nd best team in the world, beating 101st. But in terms of population, it was a seismic phenomenon. India is the second most populous country in the world, Curaçao 192nd.
We were unable to find any examples of a smaller country beating India, although Guam was close. They defeated India in 2015, when its population was 161,797. But India’s population was slightly smaller then (1.309 billion), so the ratio of David to Goliath was only 1:8091.
The world’s most populous country, China, has lost many soccer matches, but none against a country the size of Curaçao or Guam. We think the smallest country to beat them is Iceland in 2017, in a match where the ratio of David to Goliath was 1:4037.
China and India are so far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of population that there is no chance of finding the highest D/G ratio compared to any other competitor. But Bermuda pulled through when they defeated the United States in 1991. At that time, Bermuda had a population of 59,021 out of 253 million in the US, which meant that there was one living Bermudan for every 4,286 living Americans.
There are several other unlikely victories.
1:489 In 2003, Maldives (302,209) beat Pakistan (147.7 million)
1:539 In 1981, Liechtenstein (then population 26,224) defeated Malaysia (14.1 million)
1:573 In 1989, the Faroe Islands (47,766) beat Canada (27.4 million)
We thought we found a cracker from 1982when Liechtenstein (26,130) beat China (1.009 billion) 2-0 in Vaduz. It’s an absurd D/G ratio 1:38,614. Unfortunately, we were denied (VA)RSSSF, which confirmed it was an unofficial match against the Beijing XI.
Despite spending an entire night going through population data and historical soccer performance, we haven’t been able to find a major upset like Curaçao’s win over India. If you know of one, please send an email to [email protected].
The best shooters of the golden old man
“Fabio Quagliarella was Serie A’s top scorer at the age of 36. Did a major European league have an older top scorer?” asks George Jones.
Turns out we don’t even need to change leagues to find an older scorer at the top of the charts. “Luca Toni shared Capocannoniere with Mauro Icardi in the 2014-15 Serie A season at the age of 38,” writes Cameron Kellington. He scored 22 goals for Verona and won his second Serie A top scorer award, nine years after winning his first (for Fiorentina in 2005-06 when he scored 31 goals and won the European Golden Boot).
ZZZZZZZZ in names
“There were eight players in the Europa League final who had the letter Z in their name. Was there a game with more?” asks Sam Hughes.
Adrian Armstrong takes us to Eastern Europe to play one better than Chelsea against Arsenal. “Polish football is, unsurprisingly, fertile ground for Z in the names of players and others. The starting line-ups for the 2010 Polish Cup final included nine players whose names included Z or Z: Janukiewicz, Hrymowicz, Woźniak, Mandrysz, Pietruszka, Moskalewicz, Gikiewicz, Lewczuk and Grzyb. The managers were Mandrysz and Probierz. The match was played in Bydgoszcz at the stadium. Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak. The second place was taken by Pogoń Szczecin. Unfortunately for the zetafils, Jagiellonia Białystok won after Andrius Skerla’s goal.
But Alberto Lalouf thinks he can beat the nine Z offered by Poland this example from Liga MX May 5 in the match between Atlas and Monterrey. “The Atlas started with O González, Hernández, Martínez and Torres Ramírez, while for Monterrey came Reséndiz, J González, Gutiérrez, Meza, Sánchez, Vasquez and Zaldivar, so 11 Zs; although this number drops to nine if you choose to remove those with a Z next to their second surname (as you may know, this is the mother’s surname which is common in Spain and some Latin American countries). Later in the match, Govea Solorzano replaced Santamaria (Atlas), finishing 12th (if we agreed to count last but one name).
First comes, last goes
Lars Husum contacted us to share this curiosity. “During the 2018-19 season, Derby County became the first club in Football League (and Premier League) history to play the only game on the first day of the season (winning 2-1 at Reading on 3 August 2018) as well as to play the only match on the last day of the season (2-1 loss to Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final on 27 May 2019).”
“Encouraged by Wikipedia, I came across Guy Roux’s website” wrote Eamonn Kelly in 2014. “I saw Roux resign from Lens during the 2-1 loss to Strasbourg. Upon further investigation, I discovered that he actually resigned after the match, but my interest in the subject was piqued, hence my question: Have any managers resigned during the match? (Instead of being fired, which we wrote about earlier – Ed. knowledge)”
Here’s Michael Gahler with a story from Switzerland: “In 2006, Nestor Clausen, coach of then Swiss league leader FC Sion and former 1986 World Cup winner with Argentina, resigned at half-time in a cup match when the team was losing 0-1he wrote. “Funny enough, Sion still managed to win this match 3-1 thanks to a Sanel Kuljic hat-trick in the second half.” For more information on Christian Constantin’s color spell behind Sion, you can find a great article When Saturday comes.
You can help?
“There are spectacular stats for national team performances at the Women’s World Cup,” writes Daniel Smalls. “But what is the most caps scored by a starting eleven in women’s international football?”
“What is the shortest distance the cup-winning captain had to travel from his place of birth to the place where he received the cup?” asks Kevin Gilvary.
“In the current U-20 World Cup, Norway’s Erling Braut Håland has scored nine goals. None of the other 23 teams achieved such a result in the group stage. Have there been other tournaments where one player beats all other teams in the group stage? And was he eliminated too? asks Pablo Miguez [Oleg Salenko scored as many as any other team in 1994 World Cup groups – Knowledge Ed].
Email your questions and answers to [email protected] or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.
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