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Rugby, WSOP and poker victories

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...England are drawing 17-17 with age-old rivals Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final. It's about to go to sudden death with the host nation looking favourites to steal the game. Then the ball gets passed to Jonny Wilkinson... Eight magazine celebrates the spirit of never giving up until the very last kick of the game.

England Vs Australia - 2003 Rugby World Cup Final

"IS THAT ALL YOU'VE GOT?" mocked the Australian newspapers the day before England were due to play Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final in Sydney. They were referring to Jonny Wilkinson, whose goal kicking almost single-footedly took England to the final. The game was a true nail-biter. After Australia opened the scoring, three Wilkinson penalties and a

Jason Robinson try quickly saw England go 14-5 ahead. Australia levelled twice - once on 80 minutes with a penalty, and again in extra time with just three minutes left on the clock. The score was 17-17 with 20 seconds left when Wilkinson received the ball out of a ruck. He took aim, kicked and the ball looped gracefully between the posts. England had won the World Cup in the most dramatic fashion.

Strauss Vs The World-World Series of Poker 1982

Jack Strauss looked to be heading out of the World Series of Poker in 1982. On what seemed certain to be his final hand he pushed all his chips in, lost and got ready to walk away. Just then he noticed a $500 chip under his napkin. Since he hadn't declared himself all-in on the previous losing hand, he was allowed to carry on.

Using all his poker skill, the player nicknamed 'Treetop', because of his 6ft 6in frame, worked his way up the field and made the final two. Eventually he saw off fellow American Dewey Tomko to become the 1982 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion. Strauss' prize for winning was $520,000.

Russia Vs America - Munich Olympics Basketball 1972

No American men's basketball team had ever lost a game at the Olympics. But all that changed on September 10 1972, when the USA met the Soviet Union in a match for the gold medal. The Cold War was hotting up, so things were incredibly tense as the Soviets led by just one point with 38 seconds to go. A USSR foul saw the USA sink two free throws, giving them a 50-49 lead.

It looked as though the gold was heading west. But the Soviets claimed they'd called a time-out between the two free throws so with just one second left it was decided to add another three seconds of play. The horn then sounded to signal the end of the game, but it turned out the clock had not been reset and the game wasn't really over. When play resumed Alexander Belov scored - and the Soviet Union won 51-50 to claim the most unexpected victory ever.

Bradbury Vs The World - Winter Olympics Speedskating 2002

The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City gave Australia their first ever Winter Olympic gold, but no-one was more surprised than the man who ended up with the medal. 28-year-old short track skater Steven Bradbury was in last place in the five-man 100 metre final when the four skaters ahead of him got caught in a mass pile-up on the very last turn. All four men ended up on the deck, leaving Bradbury to skate over the winning line and into Olympic history.

Jacobellis Vs Frieden - Olympic Snowboarding, 2006

The 2006 Winter Olympics featured the sport of Snowboard Cross for the first time. But not even winner Tanja Frieden could have believed she'd end up in the history books as the gold medallist. The event featured a combination of jumps and turns and in the very last race America's Lindsey Jacobellis, one of the best snowboarders in the world, was leaving Frieden in her wake. Until the penultimate jump, that is.


Thinking that the gold medal was in the bag, Jacobellis tried to execute a flash move, caught an edge and wiped out. As she struggled to her feet, she could only watch in despair as Frieden cruised past her on the slope and home in first place. "It looked like she was trying to show off," was the comment from unsympathetic British competitor Zoe Gillings about Jacobellis's antics. "It was just amazing," explained a stunned Frieden. "You're never sure until you get to the very end. This is something I've learned in races." Clearly not everyone has grasped that principle.

Piquet Vs Mansell - Canadian F1 Grand Prix 1991

When Nigel Mansell scorched away at the start of the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix it seemed impossible that anyone would catch him. The Brit looked certain to chalk up his first season win. By the last lap, he was almost a minute ahead of his nearest rival, Nelson Piquet. Saluting the crowd to celebrate his certain 'victory', however, Mansell suddenly found his Williams losing all power and grinding to a halt.

It was either gearbox failure or Mansell accidentally cutting the engine with a waving elbow, depending on who you believe. Piquet sped past for what turned out to be his last-ever Grand Prix victory.

Sevilla Vs Shakhtar Donetsk - Uefa Cup last 16, 2007

Uefa Cup holders and 888.com sponsored Sevilla's chances of retaining the prestigious trophy hung by a thread as they trailed Ukrainian opponents Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 in the second leg of their last 16 clash, having drawn the first leg 2-2. The match entered the fourth and final minute of added time with Sevilla looking certain to go out of the competition.

But then a last-minute corner saw Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop charge up the field to meet Daniel Alves' corner smack in the middle of the forehead, sending the ball into the net and the game into extra time. "Of course it was a miracle," acknowledged Sevilla manager Juande Ramos after the match. Although it was striker Ernesto Chevanton who scored the winner that put Sevilla through to the semi-final before going on to regain the trophy, the hero of the hour in Spain was Palop - the goalkeeper who never gave up.

Man Utd Vs Bayern Munich - Champions League Final, 1999

With 90 minutes on the clock in the 1999 Champions League Final, Bayern Munich had a 1-0 lead that they had secured through a Mario Basler free-kick. Manchester United never looked like scoring, but never looked like giving up either. To keep the pressure on, Alex Ferguson had thrown on substitute strikers Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The fourth official indicated there would be three minutes of additional time.


Thirty seconds in, United got a corner. It was cleared out of the area but United sent it back across the goal and Sheringham poked the ball into the net. A minute after the restart, another Beckham corner was nodded down into the path of Solskjaer who rifled the ball into the roof of the net as the stunned Bayern players looked on. Even Ferguson couldn't quite believe it. "We never gave up" he grinned.