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Poll: Are England the biggest bottlers on a sporting stage?

| 18.03.2015

Having failed to reach a World Cup final in six attempts many cricket fans will have seen South Africa’s quarter final tie as another botched attempt at the latter stages waiting to happen for the Proteas.

But a nine wicket win, with JP Duminy’s hat-trick stealing the show, hinted that this year could be their year.

With their bottle-job tags waiting to be lifted we are asking you which sporting outfit are the biggest culprit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Here are the candidates.

Sri Lanka

Their last eight opponents may have taken the accolade as perennial failures in the build up to their encounter, but the Lions haven’t boasted the proudest recent record in cricket’s premier tournament.

Since winning the event in 1996, they have been beaten finalists twice and were knocked out in the semis in 2003. Could they be the next South Africa?

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The World Cup in front of their own adorning fans, the carnival atmosphere surely boosting the morale of the Selecao as they blasted their way to the semi finals.

All they had to do to book a block-buster final in Rio was see off Germany. With Luis Filipe Scolari’s men in fine fettle most suspected they would account for the Germans like they had their previous opponents. What followed was the country’s biggest and most humiliating defeat since 1920.

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Rory McIlroy

The second day running McIlroy features in our poll, only this is one he won’t want to be winning.

With a four shot lead going into the final round of the 2011 Masters, a steady 18 holes would surely have seen the Ulsterman land the prize. But with a monumental collapse on the back nine he blundered his way to a round of eight over, finishing 10 shots off the lead. Still, he’s probably made up for it since.

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AC Milan

Three-nil up at half-time and cruising. The 2005 Champions League final looked done and dusted at the break, although no-one told Liverpool.

Led by their talismanic captain Steven Gerrard, the Reds put the Italian side to the sword in the second period, taking the game all the way to penalties. Having thrown away their lead, it came down to the usually sure-footed Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko to show the rest how it was done from the spot, but the wobbly-legged Jerzy Dudek had other ideas.

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This could go for just about any England side, at just about any tournament, in just about any sport – it seems this nation has been obsessed with failure in recent years.

Sure we may have taken the World Twenty20 in 2010 in cricket and the Rugby World Cup in 2003, but how many times have we seen an England side going into a sporting competition with the expectation of a nation on their shoulders, only to balls it up? They simply had to be on the list.

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What is your biggest sporting bottle-job moment? Vote now in today’s poll…

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.