After the nightmare for English women’s tennis in the Australian Open, where all the English female players were knocked out in the first round, let us take a look back at some of sports’ top flops.
England Football Team: 2006 World Cup
…all to be in the prime of their careers…
The 2006 World Cup was meant to be successful for the England football team’s ‘golden generation’. Expectation had grown as players such as Ashley Cole, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard were all to be in the prime of their careers when the tournament started. But it turned into that all-too-familiar England story. They scraped through the group stage (only just beating Trinidad and Tobago on the way) and edged past Equador in the second round to find themselves in the quarter-finals against Portugal. Once again, England lost on penalties and the ‘golden generation’ had flopped.
England Rugby Team: 2011 World Cup
…realistic chance of reaching the final…
Going into the 2011 Rugby World Cup, England had a realistic chance of reaching the final as they had in the previous two World Cups. They had won the Six Nations coming within a game of winning the Grand Slam and had a capable squad, with Chris Ashton providing tries and swallow-dives galore. Sadly, they flopped, going out to France in the quarter-finals and failing to impress throughout the tournament. A poor tournament was made worse by their off-field antics and the team returned home to much criticism.
…expected to be on similar form…
When Andriy Shevchenko signed for Chelsea at the cost of £30.8m, he had just scored 175 goals in 296 games for AC Milan and was expected to be on similar form for Chelsea. However, he only scored 5 goals in 30 games during his first season, and after 2 seasons he was loaned back to AC Milan. Having been worth £30.8m, his Chelsea career has to be considered a major disappointment and he eventually returned to his former club Dynamo Kiev in 2009.
2005 US Grand Prix
…a dull procession…
When considering a sporting event as a flop, the 2005 US Grand Prix has to rank highly. Only six cars took to the grid at Indianapolis due to concerns about tyre safety. The race was a dull procession which resulted in a 1-2 for Ferrari, and a lot of angry American fans. Formula One only paid two more visits to Indianapolis, as the popularity of Formula One in America waned after this debacle.
…released two weeks into his contract.
Many will not have heard of Ali Dia, and considering his short-lived English football career this will not be a surprise! Perhaps one of the biggest flops in any sport, Dia was recommended to Southampton manager Graeme Souness in 1996 and was duly signed on a one month contract. He played for Southampton for all of 53 minutes and was released two weeks into his contract. He frequently appears in lists of the top bad players/bad transfers and never played for any league club again.
Image courtesy of David Holloway and Collis