Laura Bassett of England made the right play, lunging for the cross in the waning seconds of injury time in Wednesday’s Women’s World Cup semifinal match against Japan.
It just went horribly, horribly wrong.
Instead of deflecting the ball over the end line, she scored on her own team. The own goal that cost her team the game will live in World Cup lore.
Here is one list of the 10 worst in-game blunders:
10. Escobar’s own goal. This is certainly the most tragic entry. Playing for Colombia in the 1994 World Cup against the United States, Andres Escobar stretched out to deflect a pass, inadvertently scoring on his own net in what would be a 2-1 loss. Less than two weeks later he would be murdered in his native country in an apparent response to his miscue.
9. Jacobellis’ show-off falls flat. In the bottom run of the snowboard cross final at the 2006 Winter Olympics, Lindsey Jacobellis had a 50-yard lead. On the last jump she added a little showy flourish — and fell. She scrambled to her feet, but finished second.
8. Smith’s cross-ice catastrophe. There was no one in the way of Steve Smith’s cross-ice clear in Game 7 of the 1986 Smythe Division Finals — except his Edmonton Oilers teammate, goalie Grant Fuhr. Smith’s pass went off Fuhr’s leg into his own net, the difference in the Calgary Flames’ series-clinching 3-2 win.
7. Lett’s letdowns. In a Thanksgiving 1993 game against the Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboy Leon Lett needlessly tried to pounce on a blocked field goal, allowing the Dolphins to recover and go on to win the game. But he is most remembered for a play earlier that calendar year that had no impact on a game’s outcome. In the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXVII, and the Cowboys crushing the Buffalo Bills 52-17, the defensive tackle recovered a fumble and took off for an easy touchdown. But by celebrating short of the goal line he allowed himself to be caught by a hustling Don Beebe, who knocked the ball out of his hands for a touchback. Both plays were the epitome of bone-headedness.
Another contender in the bone-headed category:
6. Webber’s time out. Down two with 11 seconds to go in the 1993 NCAA title game against North Carolina, Michigan’s Chris Webber called time out. Considering he was about to be trapped by the defense, it would have been a good play — had his team had any time outs. UNC hit two technical foul shots and got the ball; Michigan lost 77-71.
5. And the band ran on. While front-office blunders did not make this list, a group of non-athletes did. On Nov. 20, 1982, John Elway led Stanford to a 20-19 lead on Cal with only four seconds to play in their heated football rivalry. All that remained was a seemingly ceremonial kickoff. But Cal tossed lateral after lateral, as the Stanford band ran onto the field in premature celebration. Kevin Moen was the last Golden Bear with the ball (note: he was also the first), weaving through the crowd and steamrolling a trombone player en route to a touchdown and an unbelievable 25-20 Golden Bears win.
4. Shoemaker’s stand. In the 1957 Kentucky Derby, Gallant Man, with legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker aboard, was gaining on Bill Hartack and Iron Liege down the stretch. But as they passed the sixteenth pole, Shoemaker stood up in the irons for a moment, misjudging the finish the line. It cost him the race by a nose.
3. “What a stupid I am to be wrong here.” Those were the immortal words of Roberto De Vicenzo, who after the 1968 Masters signed a scorecard with the wrong score — he shot a 65, not a 66, which he signed off on — costing him a chance at a playoff for the green jacket.
2. “Wrong Way” Riegels. Roy Riegels was an All-American for Cal in 1929, but he made perhaps the dumbest play in football history, and on its biggest stage. Playing defense in the Rose Bowl that year, Riegels recovered a fumble at the Georgia Tech 30-yard-line and took off for the end zone — the wrong way. He was finally turned around by a teammate at the 3, but got tackled at the 1. The next series resulted in a safety, and Cal would go on to lose the game 8-7. Roy “Wrong Way” Riegels is a nickname that has stuck through the generations.
1. “The ball gets by Buckner.” It was the easiest of ground balls, and it rolled right through first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs. The error allowed the winning run to score in the New York Mets’ improbable 6-5, 10-inning comeback win over the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that the Mets would win in seven games. The play added another large chapter to the Curse of the Bambino, which would not be broken until 2004.
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