Thursday 14 December 2017

First Greece, then Leicester. Can Ireland make it a hat-trick of soccer shocks at Euro 2016?

Can Ireland emulate Greece and Leicester?
Can Ireland emulate Greece and Leicester?

Harry Clarke

Can Martin O'Neill's Ireland take inspiration from Leicester City's remarkable Premier League win?

Leicester were last night crowned Premier League champions and with it completed what is possibly the greatest upset in sporting history.

The Midlands side won the title after Tottenham drew against Chelsea, making it mathematically impossible for them to catch the league leaders.

At the start of the campaign Leicester, who had never before won the league title in their history, were among the favourites to be relegated. It was possible to get odds of 5000/1 on them winning the title (which a few canny punters actually backed).

However, Claudio Ranieri's side shocked everyone throughout the campaign and with their consistently stunning results upstaged the usual title contenders like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

O'Neill was involved in two of football's other massive shocks in recent history when he played a key role in Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest side that won back-to-back European Cups in 79 and 80.

Throw in O'Neill's strong connection with Leicester City, where he won two League Cups as manager, and surely Ireland fans can start dreaming, right?

We are asking you, can Ireland create history like Leicester and win the 2016 European Championship?

To give us some hope, here are seven other sporting upsets.

7: Greece win the European Championships

Rank outsiders at the start of the tournament, Greece beat hosts Portugal 1-0 in the 2004 final.

Theodoros Zagorakis, Giorgios Georgiadis and Dimitrios Papadopoulos with the trophy. (Photo by liewig christian/Corbis via Getty Images)

6: Superbowl XLII: Giants stun Patriots

Ruining a perfect season for the Patriots, the Giants' win is considered one of the best Superbowls ever

5: Man O'War is Upset

The aptly named Upset wins at 100-1, becoming the only horse ever to beat Man O'War

4: Holly Holm defeats Ronda Rousey

Rousey's unbeaten career ended at UFC 193 after a second-round knockout from Holm

Ronda Rousey (right) and Holly Holm battle it out in UFC 193 in Australia. Photo: Quinn Rooney

3: Japan beat South Arica

Japan beat South Africa 34-32 in what's been called the 'greatest Rugby World Cup sock ever'

2: Leon Spinks beats Muhammad Ali

After Spinks' split decision victory, Ali won the rematch - becoming the first three-time heavyweight champion

1: From relegation survivors to league winners, surely Leicester top the list?

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