A meltdown in sport is different to a choke.
Choking is when you have the game seemingly won and then inexplicably lose. The infamous Mike Tyson ear biting was a meltdown but I would like to talk about individuals or teams who just haven’t turned up to play when all eyes are on them, on the biggest stage of their chosen sport.
After the embarrassment Brazil have just gone through, courtesy of a German team, who didn’t play that well, I believe it’s the biggest melt down in sports history, but we’ll get to that.
Here are the top 5:
5. In 1998, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor was taking on his great rival Dennis Priestley at the World Titles in Darts. They faced each other in the two previous World Title finals and this time was a complete whitewash. In the best of 11 sets, The Power, tore through Jason Priestley’s Dad, like he was was eating pie at the Peach Pit in Beverley Hills 90210 and won 6-0.
4. Another Power, Port Adelaide Power took on Geelong in the 2007 AFL Grand Final. The Cats had been the Premiership front runners all year, finishing 12 points clear at the end of the regular season. They had lost only one game since round 5 and that was to Port Adelaide, so Port knew how to beat this team. Come Grand Final day though, it was a different story. The Cats purred all day. Port Adelaide just had no power on this day as they were trounced by 119 points in the biggest loss in AFL Grand Final history.
3. Steffi Graf was playing Natasha Zvereva in the French Open in 1988. Graf was heavily favourited to win, but in a two horse race, nothing is that certain. Zvereva may have had an emotional hangover after beating Martina Navratilova in the semi’s, but she completely forgot to turn up in the final in Paris and lost 6-0, 6-0 in just 32 minutes and only won 13 points.
2. ANZ Stadium was the scene for the 2008 NRL Grand Final. The might of the Melbourne Storm were taking on the Manly Sea Eagles. Melbourne were the Minor Premiers and were looking for back to back titles after they had demolished Manly the following year. It was set to be a classic Grand Final with odds basically even and no-one daring to try and predict a winner. Melbourne may have been jetlagged or just missing the coffee from back home, as they were outclassed and smashed 40-0 by a rampant and electrifying, Manly.
1. The number one meltdown is easily the disaster of Brazil against Germany at this year’s Soccer World Cup. They were the host nation. Yes they had a couple of big names out, but depth wasn’t something they really lacked. It was going to be a tight game, but with the support of the country behind them, Brazil were expected to win and march towards the final. Quite simply, they didn’t turn up. Germany didn’t even play particularly well. Brazil were just amateur. In a three minute period, Germany scored three goals. It was like under 7’s soccer where goals are scored at will from the kick off. The final scoreline of 7-1 to Germany was incredible, stunning, spectacular, bizarre, remarkable. A few people in Brazil will be dusting off their resumes.
If you know of any other meltdowns, let me know.