Brazil join sport's biggest chokers

Brazil's 7-1 humbling at the hands of Germany in the FIFA World Cup semi-final is a source of deep embarrassment for the hosts.

However, football fans in the country can take solace from the fact that they are not the first and will not be the last to suffer heartbreaking capitulation in the sporting arena.


Jana Novotna - Wimbledon, 1993

Czech Novotna had one hand on what would have been her first Wimbledon crown when she went 4–1 up and 40-30 ahead in the deciding set against Steffi Graf in the 1993 final. 

What followed led to one of sport's greatest collapses, as Novotna double faulted and then Graf reeled off the final five games to clinch the win - although Novotna did eventually make up for her disappointment when she won the grand slam five years later.


Team New Zealand - Americas Cup, 2013

It is fair to say that the waters were looking choppy for Oracle Team USA in San Francisco when their New Zealand opponents amassed an 8-1 lead after 11 races of the 2013 Americas Cup. However, with victory in sight, the Kiwis choked.

Led by British Olympic hero Ben Ainslie, who arrived after the sixth race, the Americans managed an incredible turnaround as they won the last eight races to triumph 9-8. 


New England Patriots - NFL, 2008

The Patriots were already record breakers by the time they reached Superbowl XLII, winning all 18 games on the way to the showpiece for the first time in NFL history.  

They even held a 14-10 lead with just under three minutes left in their bid for a perfect 19-0 season, but a Plaxico Burress touchdown with just 35 seconds to go as the New York Giants rallied from their own 17-yard line saw the Patriots snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


Boston Red Sox - MLB, 1978

The Red Sox were 14 games ahead and cruising in the American League East at one point back in 1978, but then the New York Yankees came to town and swept a four-game series dubbed the 'Boston Massacre'.

It proved to be the start of the Red Sox's total capitulation and although they levelled the division to take it to a one-game play-off, Bucky Dent hit a three-run home run to help the Yankees to a 5-4 success on their way to winning that year's World Series. 


Jean van de Velde - The Open Championship, 1999

The image of Frenchman Van de Velde trudging through water at Carnoustie in The Open 15 years ago remains one of the most iconic in sport.

Needing just a double-bogey six for the title heading down the 18th, his drive was wayward off the tee and, rather than opting for the safer option of the fairway, he went for the green with his second and again found trouble. 

After trudging through the water at the Barry Burn and opting for a drop with his fourth, he ended up sinking a putt for a triple-bogey seven before losing to Paul Lawrie in a three-way play-off.