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Top 10 Sporting Whitewashes

Top 10 Sporting Whitewashes

Top 10 Sporting Whitewashes

Whitewashes are rare in sport, tending to occur only when everything goes right for one side, and everything goes very, very wrong for the other.

We take a look at the 10 greatest sporting whitewashes: when Goliath thrashes David and then laughs in his face.

(Images: Rex)


CRICKET: Australia 5-0 England

Year: 2006/2007

In 2005, everything came together for England to win what was widely regarded as the greatest Test Series all of time, regaining the urn after 18 long years of defeats with a 2-1 victory. However, in the following series in Australia, things went very much the other way. The Aussies - stung by criticism following their defeat, and with a string of legendary players, including Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, wanting to bow out in style - were eager to exact revenge on home turf. England, meanwhile, had lost captain Michael Vaughan, who was replaced by the untested Andrew Flintoff as skipper, and bowler Simon Jones to injury.

The first ball of the series set the tone: a delivery from Steve Harmison that was so wide it went to second slip. The Aussies piled up 602/9 before dismissing England for 157 and going on to win the first Test at a canter. Worse was to come in the 2nd Test as England contrived to lose after declaring on 551/6. Three further thrashings followed and England suffered the first Ashes whitewash since 1921.

FOOTBALL: Australia 31-0 American Samoa

Year: 2011

Everyone expected an Australia win, but no-one quite expected this. American Samoa had lost every game they had played since joining FIFA in 1998 and were the lowest ranked team in the world - at 203; Australia, meanwhile, were no giants, but were a respectable 75. In addition, in their previous match they had tonked Tonga 22-0 - then the record win margin in international football; a record that stood for just two days.

Samoa were beset with passport problems, with just one of their original squad eligible to play. Their under-20 players were involved with school exams, so their final team had an average age of 18, including three 15-year-olds. Most of the team had never played a full 90 minute match.

Samoa held out for 8 minutes before the floodgates opened, with Archie Thompson netting 13, and David Zdrilic scoring 8. There were so many goals, the stadium's scoreboard mistakenly read 32-0 before a recount. But it could have been worse: Australia left out two players responsible for 10 of the goals against Tonga.

RUGBY UNION: New Zealand 3-0 British & Irish Lions

Year: 2005

It was the tour where nothing could go wrong. Coached by Sir Clive Woodward, who had led England to World Cup glory just two years before, and containing the core of that very side, together with members of the newly triumphant Grand Slam-winning Welsh side. However, question marks started to appear when Woodward named an enormous 44-man playing squad, and even more when a giant 26-strong management team - including a kit technician, legal advisor and, astonishingly, Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell as public relations officer - was announced.

It got worse when talisman Dallaglio was injured, a breakdown in team spirit emerged, and the Lions were beaten 19-13 by New Zealand Maori - an unofficial '4th test'. More injuries followed - including skipper Brian O'Driscoll - and the Lions were drubbed 21-3, 48-13 and 38-19 - a combined total of 107-35 - by an imperious New Zealand side featuring the legendary Dan Carter. They went home with their tails between their legs after suffering a first whitewashing since 1983. Try and spin your way out of that one Alistair.

TENNIS: Steffi Graf bt Natalya Natasha Zvereva 6-0, 6-0

Year: 1988

A win with the opponent failing to win a single game - known as a double, or triple bagel - is extremely rare in tennis, only occurring a handful of times in Grand Slams, and usually in an opening round, as a giant is paired up against a wildcard. However, arguably the most famous whitewash ever happened in 1988 - and unbelievably it was in a Grand Slam Final.

Natasha Zvereva took on Steffi Graf for the French Open title and went down in just 32 minutes, winning only 13 points in the entire match. To be fair to Zvereva, Graf was all-conquering that year, taking all four Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold to boot, but this was one to forget. At least it was over quickly.

SNOOKER: John Parrott 10-0 Eddie Charlton

Year: 1992

Pity poor Eddie Charlton. The Australian legend had been a three-time World Championship runner up in the 60s and 70s, but by 1992 was 68 years old, with his best days behind him. He faced defending champion John Parrott in the first round and went down 10-0 - the only whitewash in Crucible history.

Parrott went 9-0 up in the first session, then clinched the 10th after Charlton left a blue in the jaws of the pocket. He was modest in victory, commenting "the scoreline is ridiculous. There's no way I'm ten frames better than Eddie, although I played very solidly", with Charlton stating simply "John was a bit good, wasn't he?" Yes, he certainly was Eddie.


CRICKET: England 0-5 West Indies

Year: 1984

The Windies had already hinted at the dominance they were to exert over England when they won 3-0 in a 5-match series in England in 1976, but by the mid-80s, they had become arguably the greatest side to ever play the game. Their batting included captain Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge, while their fearsome pace attack featured Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall.

England found this out to their cost in 1984, when they were thumped 5-0 at home - to this day the only 5 test whitewash by a touring side. England's captain David Gower averaged 19, two of the defeats were by an innings, and even the Windies reserve bowlers caused havoc: Winston Davis broke England's Paul Terry's arm with a delivery in the 4th Test.

As if this wasn't enough, the West Indies whitewashed England again at home in 1986/87 - winning 5-0 once again. We're surprised England even bothered turning up for the series after that - we'd have just refused.

FOOTBALL: Spain 4-0 Italy

Year: 2012

Spain arrived at Euro 2012 as overwhelming favourites, being the reigning World Cup winners and European Champions but, despite cruising through the group stages, they had begun to attract criticism for their methodical, 'boring' style. They edged past France in the quarters, and triumped on penalties against bitter rivals Portugal in the semi-finals: many predicted that they had been 'found out' and that they would come unstuck against the Italians in the final.

However, it was nothing of the sort, as Spain rose to the occasion, producing arguably their finest-ever performance, destroying Italy 4-0 in a comprehensive defeat, becoming the first team to retain the European Championships, and the first to win three major tournaments in a row.

RUGBY UNION: Australia 142-0 Namibia

Year: 2003

The Australians are a merciless bunch aren't they? Making their third appearance on this list, this 2003 drubbing remains the biggest winning margin in Rugby World Cup history. A total mismatch in the group stage, there was no let-up for the Namibians, with the first try coming just two minutes in. Another 21 were to follow, with full-back Chris Latham notching a world-record five of them. Matt Rogers scored 42 points on his own, notching 16 conversions.

Namibia coach Dave Waterston commented "we got a rugby lesson - they were ruthless" - but we have some respect for them for making it through the match: we'd have probably run away from the ground at half time, complaining that 'bigger boys' were being nasty to us.

DARTS: Phil 'The Power' Taylor 6-0 Dennis Priestley

Year: 1998

Whitewashes in darts are reasonably common but, like other sports, not so much in the latter stages of tournaments; that is, unless Phil Taylor is involved, having won four of his 16 world titles without dropping a set. Perhaps the most impressive of his victories was against his friend and great rival Dennis Priestley in 1998 - the third consecutive time he had faced him in the final.

Stars John Part, Peter Manley and Priestley himself were all present, but Taylor simply swept aside all challengers, dropping just two sets in the entire tournament - both to Rod Harrington in the semi-final - triumphing 6-0 in the final against Priestley, and scoring a 3-dart average of 103.98 to take the crown. The win marked Taylor's 4th title in a row, as he overtook Eric Bristow to become the most successful player in World Championship history. We'd still fancy our chances against him after a couple of pints though.

FOOTBALL: Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich

Year: 1995

A result that remains the biggest win in Premier League history, the gulf between the two teams was clear for all to see on a chastening day for the Tractor Boys. Andy Cole scored 5 goals in this rout - a feat which has since been equalled by Alan Shearer, Dmitar Berbatov and Jermain Defoe - with Roy Keane, Mark Hughes (2) and Paul Ince netting the rest. It was United's best result in 103 years, but it didn't take them to the title, as they missed out later in the season by a point. Ipswich were relegated, conceding a record 59 goals in away games that season. This match certainly did not help.


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