What are the greatest soccer moments of the last 10 years?
After the USWNT World Cup victory, I started recounting on my favorite soccer memories. Basking in glory watching my TV as the US trampled over Japan, I began thinking about the most shocking, amazing, and unbelievable moments I have seen as a soccer spectator. So here we go: here is a compiled list of the top ten most memorable soccer moments of the last ten years. Rankings are based on the following categories:
Timing: In the case of goals, everyone loves a last gasp winner. Those memories stick more than a 1-0 victory where the goal was scored in the first half.
Importance: Did the moment occur in a friendly or a World Cup Final? The higher the stakes, the more memorable it is.
Aftermath: What resulted from this event? How long was it discussed?
My Allegiance: I have a closer connection to the teams I support which make these events more memorable.
Commentary: As silly as it sounds, it’s true. Great commentary of a goal can make a good goal, spectacular. Just ask any of the Spanish broadcasters; they know how it’s done.
Ridiculous Factor: I couldn’t think of a good way to explain this, but you get what I’m trying to say. For example: if it was a goal, how awesome was the shot?
Nov. 14, 2012
Sweden 4-2 England- Friendly
Although this result for the Swedish team was simply a friendly, I felt the need to include this in my top 10 because it is the greatest goal I have ever seen. Zlatan’s bicycle kick is incomprehensible. Who in their right mind would decide to try a bike kick from 30 yards out? Only Zlatan. Also something to keep in mind: Zlatan scored all four goals for Sweden that day.
Oct. 30, 2012
Arsenal 7-5 Reading- Capital One Cup Round of 16
Arsenal was down 4-0 after 37 minutes of play against Championship side, Reading. It was an abysmal start: Laurent Koscielny conceded an own goal, Damian Martinez let in a howler, and it was just going to be another one of those nights for good old Arsenal. They had been known to disappoint in cup matches, and this match deserved a little pinch on the wrist, because it was a nightmare. Theo Walcott grabbed one before halftime, but the effort seemed futile, especially on the road. Arsenal then brought it back to 4-3 in the 89th minute, and suddenly the tides started to turn. In the final minute of stoppage time, the comeback was complete. Walcott sent the game into extra time and Arsenal sealed their spot in the quarter. By the way, there were another four goals scored in extra time. This was not a game to miss.
May 12, 2013
Watford 3-1 Leicester City- Championship Playoff Semifinal
Background: Placeholders 3-6 in the Championship division play a four-team playoff at the end of the season to see who will earn the final spot of promotion to the Premier League.
Leicester was on the brink of sealing their spot in a Playoff Final while leading on away goals and having a chance to seal it at the penalty spot late in stoppage time. Anthony Knockaert was denied from the spot and Watford countered the length of the field. In the waning seconds Troy Deeney scored a thunderous volley to clinch the semifinal victory for Watford. The sheer emotion from the Watford faithful is what I love about this. This is the equivalent to scoring a buzzer-beater and storming the court except the stakes were higher here and a buzzer-beater in soccer is much more rare. This is one of the many plays on this countdown that has you scratching your head wondering, did that really just happen?
7. (to 1)
July 8, 2014
Germany 7-1 Brazil- World Cup Semifinal
It is fitting that this should come in at number seven. This game was so iconic that if you type in “7-1” on Google, it is the first result. This was the worst loss ever by a host country of the World Cup, and it was Brazil, the nation with more World Cup victories than anyone. You can imagine the aftermath a result like this would cause in a nation that worships this sport. It tied Brazil’s worst defeat in team history with the six-goal margin. It was the last time Brazil lost a home match since 1975 spanning 63 games. Brazil certainly were not favorites in this match losing Neymar to injury and having their captain Thiago Silva suspended, but 7-1? This is the most shocking result I have ever seen in a soccer match, and it was in a World Cup Semi-Final.
June 23, 2010
USA 1-0 Algeria- World Cup Group Stage
Background: The 2010 World Cup was a culmination of all kinds of frustration and anger for U.S. fans. After squeaking out a draw against England (thank you Robert Green), the U.S. faced a lower Slovenia side. After going down 2-0 at half, hope was lost, but the comeback kings put on a show and tied it up with a wondrous strike from Michael Bradley in the 82nd minute. The U.S. was denied a victory after a puzzling call made by the ref denied this late winner:
Tell me where the US violation is. In fact, it looks as if multiple US players were fouled.
It was just another one of those days against Algeria. The United States dominated play but could not muster a goal. A draw would’ve eliminated the U.S., meaning that they needed a late winner. Landon Donovan delivered. This was the most memorable moment for every U.S. Soccer fan. In the U.S., we love drama, and we got it alright, with nothing short of a few heart attacks.
July 1, 2006
England 0-0 Portugal (Portugal wins 3-1 on penalties)- World Cup Quarterfinal
At the face of the Portuguese national team was youngster Cristiano Ronaldo who was teammates with English superstar Wayne Rooney at Manchester United. It was only fitting that whomever showed up bigger was going to lead his team to victory. This day it was Ronaldo, but not necessarily in his playing ability.
In the 62nd minute, in a fit of rage, Wayne Rooney stepped on the crotch of Ricardo Carvalho and was sent off with a straight red. What the eye may not catch at first glance was that Ronaldo appeared to have winked to a teammate or to the bench as almost of an indicator that he succeeded in his mission. What was his mission? Getting Rooney out of the game. He knew that he could get inside of the head of Rooney, and he informed his teammates to aggravate Rooney. This is all hearsay, but in the chance that this is all true, it adds to the drama that was brewing in the match. Even with Rooney off the field, the game remained incredibly intense and deservedly went to penalties. Typical of an English team, they were only able to put in one penalty, and of course, Ronaldo was the one to seal the victory for the Portuguese. It was a horrible day for the UK but an incredible match for a neutral perspective
May 7, 2009
Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea (Barcelona advance on away goals)- Champions League Semifinal
At Stamford Bridge, Barcelona needed an away goal to advance to the UCL Final or else Chelsea would advance. In stoppage time, Iniesta ripped a shot in the top corner. The commentating as well as the emotion from the celebration still gives me the chills. Iniesta has scored winners in the biggest stage possible, and this one remains especially close to me.
July 9, 2006
France 1-1 Italy (Italy wins 5-3 on penalties)- World Cup Final
This is easily the most exciting World Cup Final I have watched. France and Italy were both in the final defying the pre-tournament odds. France took down Ronaldo and Brazil in the quarterfinals while Italy defeated host country Germany in a late winner from Fabio Grosso in the waning minutes of extra time. France’s superstar, Zinedine Zidane, led the team. Zidane was making his last competitive appearance playing in the 2006 World Cup, and he was still the most dominant player in the entire tournament. Zidane scored the opening goal off a cheeky penalty that nicked the cross bar before crossing the line, and Italy equalized almost immediately, converting a near-perfect corner kick. The Italians had been lethal off set pieces the entire tournament.
As everyone probably knows, this game was not known for the game itself, but for a specific moment from Zidane. The headbutt. In the 110th minute, Zidane was sent off for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Whether Materazzi said something about Zidane’s mother or not, this was the worst way a legend could end his career. Zidane was a French hero, and then in the blink of an eye he became a villain. He was not able to take a penalty kick and the Italians made all theirs en route to winning the 2006 World Cup. You need to do something extraordinary to get your own country to hate you, and Zidane did that with one strike of his head.
May 25, 2005
Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (Liverpool wins 3-2 on penalties)- UCL Final
Liverpool made it into the Round of 16 from the late heroics of Steven Gerrard versus Olympiakos who scored a thunderous bullet that took them into the knockout round.
The Champions League Final: the biggest stage of European soccer. Milan came out with a bang. They scored three first half goals and looked to have ended the hopes of the underdogs, Liverpool. Gerrard led his team all the way to the final, but it looked as if they were going to come up short from winning the trophy.
The game quickly changed shape at the start of the second half. A new Liverpool team walked out of the tunnel than the one seen in the first half. Liverpool scored three goals in six minutes and tied it up against all odds. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Milan looked like they would run away with it, and then they collapsed. Who would have thought that Gerrard would lead his team to the most dramatic comeback in UCL history to take the title.
May 13, 2012
Manchester City 3-2 QPR- Final Day of the EPLhttps://youtu.be/IbliibB0kA8
This is the most incredible moment I remember and it is a shame because like Martin Tyler exclaimed, “I will never see anything like this ever again!” In the Watford vs. Leicester match, when they referred to the “final day,” this is what they were talking about. City could clinch the title with a victory, and after Manchester United won their game at Sunderland, City needed a win. They were home against QPR. No problem right? QPR was hovering right above the relegation zone and had nothing to play for except for trying to spoil the day. Meanwhile, City had much more talent and had a title on the line.
They were down 2-1 heading into extra time and needed two goals for the title. They had five minutes of stoppage time to grab those goals. Tension was building, tears flowing, frustration mounting. In the 92nd minute, Edin Dzeko grabbed an equalizer from a corner kick and brought life back into the Citizens. Just two minutes later, Aguero had done it. This moment when Aguero fired home the winner is what soccer is all about: Martin Tyler went absolutely berserk and the fans followed suit. Aguero couldn’t believe what he’d just done and neither could his teammates, the coaches and everyone that was watching the events unfold. After years of misery, City had won their first title since 1968. The screams of AGUEROOOO still reverberate in fans of soccer worldwide.
I’m sure I have missed a couple of great moments; there are so many great moments that I cannot forget and it was difficult compiling them into a top 10 list. Let us know at SQ what you think? What is your favorite moment as a soccer fan?
Edited by Jeremy Losak.
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