We all love a footballing upset, don’t we? There’s no better time to watch Match Of The Day than when a team going for the title is tripped up by an underdog.
And on the international stage, the gap can be even bigger.
When China PR took on Syria in their Group A 2018 World Cup qualifier, the Chinese had the football pedigree, having attended the 2002 World Cup and boasting a world ranking of 78. Syria, on the other hand, sit in 114th place.
Population also makes for an interesting comparison. China can call on over 1.3 billion people, compared with Syria’s population of just under 18 million – and that’s before you consider that Syria has been rocked by civil war for the best part of six years.
Regardless of all that, the Syrians managed a 1-0 win over the Chinese, courtesy of Mahmoud Al Mauras’s goal 54 minutes in. It’s fair to say the world was shocked.
Syria beat China 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier..
China population: 1.357 billion.
Syria is heading into its 6th year of civil war.
— Rory Briggs (@RWABriggs) October 6, 2016
Put in context, it really is a phenomenal result.
Syria just beat china in a WC qualifier. They've been in a civil war for the past 6yrs and beat a country with a population of 1+ billion.
— Francois (@Franbeast) October 6, 2016
Syria currently sit fourth in their group of six. With the top two qualifying automatically and third place going through to a play-off round, Syria could well be looking at a chance of a World Cup appearance.
Syria won away in China?! That is huge! Very real possibility of them at least making the playoffs #WCQ
— Tomasz Mortimer (@TMortimerFtbl) October 6, 2016
And let’s not forget that Syria’s win came away from home.
What a result for Syria — 1-0 win in China. Incredible. #WCQ
— Ned Zelic (@NedZelic) October 6, 2016