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INPHO/Donall Farmer The starting line-up against Italy.
# Whitewashes
Ireland set for wooden spoon... but we're not worst ever
France would have to beat Sweden by seven goals in order to prevent Giovanni Trapattoni’s men from finishing as the tournament’s bottom-placed side.

UNLESS SWEDEN IMPROBABLY lose by seven goals tonight, Ireland will be ranked the worst team of Euro 2012.

At least, though, we’re not one of the worst tournament teams of all time. Far from it. Here are teams of similar or superior stature who fared worse:

Greece, 1994

Played 3

Lost 3

Goal difference -10

Group Nigeria, Bulgaria, Argentina

Ten years before the feat of 2004, Greece only conceded 10 times and couldn’t manage a single goal of their own. For a country that is at least competitive at this level, it is probably the worst tournament performance ever.

Mexico, 1978

Played 3

Lost 3

Goal difference -10

Group Poland, West Germany, Tunisia

A very literal footnote in history. In a miserable tournament for Mexico, their defeat to Tunisia was the first ever African win at a World Cup.

Serbia and Montenegro, 2006

Played 3

Lost 3

Goal difference -8

Group Argentina, Netherlands, Ivory Coast

The traffic cones in Esteban Cambiasso thrilling goal for Argentina. And, given that came in a 6-0 defeat, it was the ultimate indignity.

Bulgaria, 2004

Credit: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

Played 3

Lost 3

Goal difference -8

Group Sweden, Denmark, Italy

A team that was in an almost identical situation to Ireland given that this was the other infamous group where a mutually beneficial 2-2 draw could have knocked out the Italians. At the very least, though, our group featured one of the greatest teams of all time in Spain.

Denmark, 2000

Played 3

Lost 3

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Goal difference -8

Group Netherlands, France, Czech Republic

In a group with the finalists of Euro 96, the hosts and the eventual winners, Denmark didn’t even score a goal. Hey, at least we had Sean St Ledger’s strike.

Yugoslavia, 1984

Played 3

Lost 3

Goal difference -8

Group France, Denmark, Belgium

Probably the closest to Ireland in terms of overall performance. Yugoslavia were similarly in with one of the finest teams of all time in the eventual French winners but, although they ran Michel Platini’s side close in a 3-2 defeat – their only two goals of the tournament – that was offset by a 5-0 beating to Belgium.

Switzerland, 1966

Played 3

Lost 3

Goal difference -8

Another tournament similar to Ireland in status of opposition and performance, and indentical in terms of goals scored and conceded. The Swiss got their only strike in a 2-1 defeat to Spain, having previously lost 5-0 to finalists West Germany. Worse, it was their second whitewash in a row after 1962.

Other teams to be whitewashed in European Championships or World Cups in modern groups: Netherlands 2012, North Korea 2010, Cameroon 2010, Costa Rica 2006, Togo 2006, Slovenia 2002, China 2002, Saudi Arabia 2002, USA 1998, Japan 1998, Romania 1996, Turkey 1996, Morocco 1994, USA 1990, Sweden 1990, UAE 1990, Korea 1990, England 1988, Denmark 1988, Iraq 1986, Canada 1986, Chile 1982, El Salvador 1982, New Zealand 1982, Hungary 1978, Zaire 1974, Haiti 1974, El Salvador 1970, Czechoslovakia 1970, Switzerland 1962

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