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5 of the worst cup final performances in football history

  • Arsenal's Carabao Cup final performance might've been bad, but these 5 cup final performances might've been worse....
Scott Newman
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 15 Mar 2018, 19:02 IST

Arsenal v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Final
Arsenal capitulated against Manchester City in the recent Carabao Cup Final

We’re now almost three weeks removed from the Carabao Cup Final – the now-notorious game that saw Arsenal completely capitulate and lose 3-0 to Manchester City in one of the most one-sided cup finals in recent memory.

In the immediate aftermath of the game, Arsenal’s performance was widely criticised and some observers even went as far as to claim that it was the worst performance in a cup final in the history of the game. But was that the case?

Anti-Wenger Arsenal fans would probably tell you the answer is yes, but these other five awful performances in cup finals could argue otherwise:

#5 Holland against Spain - 2010 World Cup Final

Netherlands v Spain: 2010 FIFA World Cup Final
Dirty tactics meant that Holland's 2010 World Cup final performance was awful

The 2010 FIFA World Cup wasn’t exactly a vintage tournament for a lot of reasons, but the final match being largely terrible probably has a lot to do with the sour memories people hold of South Africa.

Sure, Holland managed to take the game almost to a penalty shoot-out before Andres Iniesta’s last-gasp goal gave Spain their first World Cup win, but that fact doesn’t take away from the truth that the Dutch were simply awful for the majority of it.

Holland had played well through the tournament – besting Brazil and Uruguay along the way – but decided to change tactic once they reached the final and evidently came to the conclusion that the way to beat Spain was to kick them a lot.

The game was bad-tempered throughout and somehow, eight of the Dutch players ended up being booked – including Nigel de Jong for a truly x-rated challenge – with Johnny Heitinga being sent off for a second yellow. In all the Dutch committed 28 fouls during the game.

A couple of chances on goal – missed by Arjen Robben – were largely all the Dutch created during the game – Spain had 20 attempts on goal to Holland’s 11 – and by the time Iniesta scored fans across the world were breathing sighs of relief.


It might not have been a capitulation, but due to their dirty tactics and general lack of creativity as compared to what they did in the tournament beforehand, this has to go down as an all-time bad final performance.

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Published 15 Mar 2018, 19:02 IST
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