The beaten finalists who were more memorable than the champions

Roberto Baggio in 1994, Holland in the 1970s and Bayern Munich’s late heartache in 1999 – sometimes losers leave more enduring images than winners

By Mark Sanderson for When Saturday Comes, of the Guardian Sport Network

As captain it was my job to go up and collect the cup. I was only 12 at the time but I still knew when I was being patronised. We hadn’t come close to winning the Eastleigh District League Cup final yet here I was being presented with the fair play award. This was no doubt dreamed up as some kind of consolation prize to ease the disappointment of defeat in a big game. Losing 8-0 was bad enough. If I needed consoling, it was after having to lift that thing in front of a congregation of parents, including my own.

Reaching a final gives you a day out and a medal but, when you’ve built up a runners-up collection like mine, you start considering semi-final defeat as a blessing in disguise, something you can forget about. Between 1991 and 2005 I played in six cup finals and didn’t win one of them. So I cringe when I hear pundits harping on about nobody remembering the losers in a cup final. The losers are all I tend to remember.

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