First XI

Cup final thrashings

February 28, 2013
By Robin Hackett
(Archive)

Swansea City recorded the biggest ever victory in a League Cup final as they trounced Bradford City 5-0 at Wembley. Here we examine other record-breaking cup victories from around Europe.

Note: Where winning margins in competitions have been equalled, the earlier or higher-scoring results have been preferred.

Scottish Cup: Renton 6-1 Cambuslang (1888)

Champions of the world: Renton claimed global glory after a victory over West Brom in 1888
GettyImagesChampions of the world: Renton claimed global glory after a victory over West Brom in 1888

Renton set the record for Scottish Cup final victories early on, the minnows from Dunbartonshire thrashing short-lived Glaswegian team Cambuslang 6-1 at Cathkin Park - or "Second Hampden" - to lift the trophy for a second time.

The more interesting postscript is that Renton afterwards challenged West Bromwich Albion, the winners of the FA Cup, to a 'World Championship trophy' match. Several thousand spectators attended the game in Glasgow, which was played despite heavy thunderstorms, and saw Renton win 4-1. The result meant the villagers were for a time - unofficially at least - football's world champions.

The Old Firm clubs have matched but not yet surpassed Renton's record-setting win, with Rangers beating St Mirren 5-0 in 1934 and Celtic defeating Hibernian 6-1 in 1972.

FA Cup: Bury 6-0 Derby County (1903)

A tight contest between Bury and Derby County at Crystal Palace had been anticipated, with a 63,000-strong crowd present for the final in south London despite the absence of any southern sides.

Derby, who lacked England international Steve Bloomer through injury, went into the match as underdogs but were thought capable of winning. The esteemed John Bentley, who helped found the Football League and later took charge of Manchester United, tipped the Rams for success in the Daily Express, while The Times expected a "magnificent struggle".

In the end, it was a procession as Bury - who went through the competition without conceding a goal - won 6-0 without breaking stride in a contest that was, by all accounts, utterly tedious.

KNVB-Beker: Willem II 9-2 Groene Ster (1944)

Groene Ster, a village club then playing in the Dutch second tier and at the peak of their powers, defied the odds to book their place in the final of what was then known as the NVB-Beker.

The game was played at the time of Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, but Groene Ster's best player was a Jewish winger named Evert Grifhorst, who had fled Amsterdam in fear of his life but was brave enough to play a key role in the cup run. In fact, the squad as a whole refused to be cowed by the Germans. One former Groene Ster player, Herman Meuser, revealed a prank the team played the night before the semi-final victory over LSC: when staying in a Nijmegen hotel, they poured water into boots belonging to a group of German officers. Fortunately, those responsible escaped without detection.

Unfortunately for Groene Ster, their fairytale run came to an unhappy end as they were thrashed 9-2 by Willem II in Eindhoven - but their mere presence that day remains the proudest moment in the club's history.

Fairs Cup: Barcelona 8-2 (agg) London XI (1958)

The Inter-Cities Industrial Fairs Cup was set up to promote international trade fairs and, as a result, only allowed the presence of one team from each city upon its formation. As such, the inaugural competition, which took place over three years from 1955, saw teams including a London XI, a Leipzig XI and a Zagreb XI taking part alongside Barcelona, Inter Milan and Birmingham City.

The London side, featuring star names such as Jimmy Greaves, Johnny Haynes and Danny Blanchflower, battled through to the two-legged final against Barcelona but, after a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, were simply overwhelmed at the Camp Nou. With Luis Suarez Miramontes restored to the side after missing the first leg, Barca triumphed 6-0 on home soil to claim a highly impressive 8-2 aggregate victory.

"I've never seen such incredible shooting," said London XI goalkeeper Jack Kelsey, whose eye closed up after he was poleaxed by a thunderous shot from Evaristo for Barca's fourth goal. "I got a hand to [Evaristo's shot] but it was going so hard it flew on and hit me in the eye. I was knocked out and couldn't see at all with my left eye when I came round."

European Cup: Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt (1960)

Real Madrid defender Marquitos and goalkeeper Rogelio Dominguez celebrate with the European Cup at Hampden
PA PhotosReal Madrid defender Marquitos and goalkeeper Rogelio Dominguez celebrate with the European Cup at Hampden

This match, considered one of the finest ever played, saw the legendary Madrid team led by Alfredo Di Stefano demolish Frankfurt at Hampden Park to clinch their fifth straight European Cup crown.

Di Stefano netted a hat-trick that day but was outdone by the great Ferenc Puskas, who scored four. Puskas' involvement in the final had been in doubt in the days leading up the game, with German sides forbidden from playing against the Hungarian after he had accused West Germany of using performance-enhancing drugs in the 1954 World Cup final.

But a last-minute apology to the authorities in that country ensured Puskas could play without objection, and he enjoyed his greatest day as a Madrid player. After the match, Puskas caught the ball and refused to hand it over to the referee, although he eventually allowed a member of the Frankfurt side to take it away as they sought a momento. Madrid defender Marquitos, meanwhile, celebrated by buying a kilt and full Scottish rig-up, including knee-high socks and a hat, at the airport on the way home.

The match, it seemed, had major significance on all present at Hampden, including a young Alex Ferguson, while the president of the English Football League, Joe Richards, said: "This was the best match I have ever seen."

Since that result, there have been numerous 4-0 victories in the European Cup and Champions League. Bayern Munich beat Atletico Madrid by that score in a replay of the 1974 final, while AC Milan hit four without reply against Steaua Bucuresti and Barcelona in 1989 and 1994 respectively.

Cup Winners' Cup: Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Atletico Madrid (1963)

Tottenham became the first British side to win a European trophy when they lifted the Cup Winners' Cup after an annihilation of Atletico Madrid at De Kuip, with Jimmy Greaves and Terry Dyson netting a brace apiece.

Spurs' performance drew widespread praise, with the Madrid newspapers acknowledging that Bill Nicholson's men had served up a masterclass. "As we all know," Marca reported, "when a team as good as Spurs can play the English style, they can beat anybody in the world." ABC added: "For what Spurs did last night, we must congratulate them. Their victory is the start of a new age of football in the British Isles which could have its confirmation in the World Cup of 1966."

In 1978, Anderlecht matched that margin of victory, beating Austria Vienna 4-0.

Coupe de France: St Etienne 5-0 FC Nantes (1970)

A tight encounter had been expected at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir when St Etienne, two-time Coupe de France winners in the previous eight years, took on Nantes, who had won two league titles in that time. However, before a slender crowd of fewer than 33,000, Nantes were outclassed, going down to a shock 5-0 defeat.

DFB-Pokal: Schalke 5-0 Kaiserslautern (1972)

Schalke matched their own record when they thrashed Duisburg in 2011
GettyImagesSchalke matched their own record when they thrashed Duisburg in 2011

Schalke were threatening a league and cup double in the 1971-72 season as they travelled to the Olympiastadion on the final day trailing league leaders Bayern Munich by a single point, but their hopes of winning a first Bundesliga title were cruelly ended as Bayern ran out 5-1 winners. With the DFB-Pokal final following just three days later, it was feared their confidence could have been destroyed.

However, they responded superbly, demolishing Kaiserslautern 5-0. Klaus Fischer, who scored the team's fourth that day, told the Ruhr Nachrichten newspaper in 2012: "Everything was right. It was a perfect team. As I remember it, it was the best Schalke side of all time."

That may be true, but Schalke matched their own DFB-Pokal record in 2011 as they thrashed second-tier Duisburg 5-0 to lift the trophy for the fifth time in their history.

Copa del Rey: Real Madrid 6-1 Castilla (1980)

The 1980 Copa del Rey provided a truly extraordinary occurrence as the Bernabeu hosted a final between Real Madrid and Real Madrid reserves.

Castilla's success in reaching the final was unique, and described by Phil Ball in his book White Storm as "a sure sign that Real Madrid were at last getting to grips with the youth development problem", but what transpired was a massacre. El Mundo Deportivo headlined its report of the match "6-1: Infanticidio", although it did note that "it did not appear there was a prior agreement" for Castilla to roll over.

"The kids showed marvellous commitment," Castilla coach Juanjo said. "They maybe fought too hard and got too excited."

With Real Madrid qualifying for the following season's European Cup as La Liga winners, Castilla entered the Cup Winners' Cup, which they exited after a hard-fought 6-4 aggregate defeat to West Ham in the first round. Reserve teams have been banned from entering the competition since 1990-91.

Athletic Bilbao had previously won by the same margin as Madrid when they beat Espanyol 5-0 in 1915.

UEFA Cup: Juventus 6-1 (agg) Borussia Dortmund (1993)

Roberto Baggio won the first major trophy of his career in 1993 as he helped Juventus to UEFA Cup glory over Dortmund.

The Italians had won 3-1 in Germany, with Dino Baggio opening the scoring and Roberto adding a brace, while a further two goals from Dino in the return leg, as well as an effort from Andreas Moller, saw Juve claim a resounding 6-1 aggregate victory.

"Until now, I had only won cups of coffee," Il Divin Codino said. "This is a success that crowns a career. There have been many battles, and now the war is won."

The clear consensus was that Juve had simply been too strong for Dortmund, but Ottmar Hitzfeld and his team would have their revenge in 1997 when they defeated the Bianconeri 3-1 in the Champions League final.

Sevilla, meanwhile, hold the record for a single-legged final, beating Middlesbrough 4-0 in 2006.

Coppa Italia: Sampdoria 6-1 (agg) Ancona (1994)

Attilio Lombardo and Gianluca Pagliuca celebrate with the Coppa Italia after thrashing Ancona
GettyImagesAttilio Lombardo and Gianluca Pagliuca celebrate with the Coppa Italia after thrashing Ancona

In the 1992-93 season, Ancona played in Serie A for the first time in their history and, though they dropped straight back down again, kept their place in the spotlight when they reached their first major cup final in the following campaign.

There, they faced a Sampdoria team that, with the likes of Ruud Gullit, Roberto Mancini, David Platt and Attilio Lombardo in their ranks, had finished the season as the top scorers in Serie A.

In the home leg of the final, they managed a 0-0 draw that led Sampdoria coach Sven-Goran Eriksson to tell Corriere dello Sport before the second leg that "there is little difference between Serie A and Serie B". As it turned out, Samp thrashed them 6-1 in the return leg in what was the biggest final victory in the competition's history.

In single-legged finals, Torino and Napoli share the record, with the former beating Alessandria 5-1 in 1936 and the latter seeing off Verona 4-0 in 1976.