As we get set to put 2019 behind us and as well the decade, we take a look back at the years we witnessed significant happenings that shook the football World.
Although the following moments let us realize how much football is full of uncertainties. However, it also will give you a nostalgic feeling and it is indeed a feeling every football fan would love to enjoy again and tell the beautiful stories to their offspring. What an eventful decade it has been for the round leather game!
10. Portugal Broke The Jinx (2016)
Portugal had never won a major tournament before, this was their fourth European Championship semi-final or final in the past five tournaments – reaching the quarter-finals the other time.
They lost their only previous final – as Euro 2004 hosts – when underdogs Greece left a 19-year-old Ronaldo in tears. 2016 Euro final again saw Ronaldo walked off the pitch in tears just after 24minutes but this time was tears of joy.
Portugal, who began the tournament rated at 20-1 by the bookmakers, only won one of their seven matches in 90 minutes – the 2-0 semi-final win over Wales.
They qualified for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams having drawn against Iceland 1-1, Austria 0-0 and Hungary 3-3. Fernando Santos’ side beat Croatia 1-0 in extra time in the last 16 and Poland on penalties in the quarter-finals after a 1-1 draw. They are the first team to go to extra time three times in one European Championship.
The feeling that comes when people do not give you the chance to succeed but you fashion out a way to shut your doubters is always intriguing. Portugal entered the EURO 2016 as an underdog and ended as the Champion against the host nation. (FRANCE)
When talking about the highlights of this decade, Eder’s goal against France will forever be mentioned and his name will never be forgotten in the hearts of every Portuguese being.
9. Steven Gerrard’s Slip (2014)
This was a time most Liverpool faithful will never forget until they get to win the EPL. The childish error of the then Club Captain against Chelsea was seen by many as pivotal in preventing Liverpool from winning their first domestic title since 1990 in the 2013/14 season.
The famous nickname for the Kop “ Serial Bottlers ” came around in the 2013/14 season. With the Reds on an 11-game winning run and top of the table, Gerrard while trying to have full control of a pass slipped and allowed Demba Ba make some sharp runs and slotted the ball past Simon Mignolet at Anfield.
Willian put the final nail to the coffin after scoring the second, later on, to salvage a draw for Chelsea in a game they’ve struggled to make something out of. Of course, it only got worse for Liverpool as they lost the chance to win the league for that season; while City on the other hand never looked back.
One ironic factor about the whole incident is Gerrad’s “we don’t let this slip ” comments after the game against the city which as a result brought about so many quips from Liverpool’s haters.
8. Sir Alex Ferguson Bade Football Farewell (2013)
One of the greatest managers to have managed football teams if not ( THE GREATEST) is for sure the veteran. Having spent 26 years at the Red side of Manchester, Sir Alex announced his retirement from management on the 8th of May 2013.
The Scot bowed out having won a staggering
38 trophies during his 26 years in charge at Old Trafford, more than any other manager in the history of the game and it was only right he signed off with another Premier League winners’ medal, as United lifted the trophy after that final home match against Swansea in May 2013.
In his emotional farewell speech, The Scot made mention of the fact that the decision to retire at that time was the right one and at the perfect time.
7. Corruption Scandals Ravaged Football (2015)
We cannot talk about the remarkable moments of football in this decade and not talk about the year that has put a strong blemish on the white linen of Football’s Governing Body.
It was in the summer of 2015 when FIFA was overwhelmed with big corruption cases after the US Department of Justice indicted several big guns on charges of Rampant, Systemic and Deep-rooted corruption following a major inquiry by the FBI.
The career of two most powerful men in football as at then suffered hiccups as the duo of Sepp Blatter (FIFA President) and Michel Platini (UEFA President) were banned for eight years from all football-related activities by FIFA Ethics Committee.
In 2016, Sepp Blatter had an eight-year ban later reduced to six but the incident has however left a permanent scar on the face of football.
6. Barcelona’s Unprecedented Remotanda Against PSG In The Champions League (2017)
It was the third time Paris Saint-Germain faced Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League knockout phases, having lost the two previous encounters in the 2012–13 and the 2014–15 seasons on aggregate.
The first leg was played on 14 February at the
Parc des Princes in Paris, with both teams in good shape. Paris Saint-Germain coming from a 3–0 away win at Bordeaux in Ligue 1 and Barcelona thrashing Deportivo Alavés in a 6–0 away win in La Liga.
The Parisians were just too much for the Blaugrana as Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Edinson Cavani all ran riot over the Barcelona defense. Securing the 4-nil win against a Barcelona side that only recorded just one shot on target all through the game.
The return leg had an impressive attendance of 96,290 despite the home side’s heavy defeat in the first leg. Barcelona’s Luis Suárez scored the first goal of the game in the 3rd minute after heading the ball over the line before it was cleared by Thomas Meunier.
In the 40th minute, Paris Saint-Germain’s Layvin Kurzawa scored an own goal in an attempt to block a shot by Andrés Iniesta. The third goal came in the 50th minute via a penalty scored by Lionel Messi after Neymar was fouled by Thomas Meunier.
Barcelona’s hopes were seemingly brought down after Edinson Cavani scored Paris Saint-Germain’s only goal in the 62nd minute, leaving them requiring three more to win due to the away goals rule now favoring PSG. Neymar scored two goals in the closing stages – a free kick in the 88th minute and a penalty kick in the 91st – to make it 5–1.
In the final seconds of the match, Neymar appeared once again to deliver a cross into the penalty area, and Sergi Roberto scored their sixth and final goal in the 95th minute thus winning the game 6-1 and advancing to the quarter-finals 6-5 on aggregate; with the outcome described as “astonishing “, “incredible “, and “a miracle ” by the media.
5. Aguero-ooo Magic (2012)
This was another moment of ecstasy that many will love to watch over and over again countless times. It was on the afternoon of May 13, 2012, the final fixtures went underway at different match centers across England.
Should United win against Sunderland, City will have to beat Mark Hughes’ QPR side at the Etihad to make sure that the party doesn’t happen at the Red Half of Manchester.
Mancini’s Manchester City team side had been impressive throughout the season but goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie saw them 2-1 down at home to QPR on the final day of the 2011-12 season, needing all three points to lay claim to their first Premier League title.
Edin Dzeko had headed City level in the second of five minutes of stoppage time, and the hope of the Citizens geared up. All eyes and minds were on the tepid game from that moment with utmost concentration from every fan at the Etihad.
In the ninety-fifth minute of the game, Sergio Aguero scored an all-important goal to shatter the hopes of every player and fan of the Red Devil’s. The incredible last minute was probably the most iconic moment in the history of the Premier League. A title race that got down to the last few seconds – and we might perhaps not see a title race as close like that again in the EPL.
4. Leicester City’s Fairytale (2016)
Former Premier League Executive Chairman said, “ If this was a once in every 5,000-year event, then we’ve effectively got another 5,000 years of hope ahead of us .” The greatest story in the history of football? At odds of 5,000-1, it is certainly up there.
Leicester City celebrated their coronation as Premier League champions – the first top-flight title of their 132-year history – in spectacular and emotional style on 7 May 2016. The league was actually won a few days earlier when Tottenham failed to beat Chelsea, but few will forget the Foxes’ triumphant exploits.
Despite having been bottom of the league exactly 12 months earlier, Leicester topped the table on Christmas Day 2016 and while the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur struggled to string a run together, Ranieri’s men kept going in the second half of the season and with each passing game, the most unlikely of title triumphs began to look more and more likely.
3. Germany’s Humiliation of Brazil At the World Cup (2014)
This piece would’ve been incomplete if this massacre was found wanting. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil produced the biggest winning margin in the history of the competition. Ironically, the team that got annihilated happened to be the nation with the highest number of World Cup wins.
Many Brazil supporters, swamped with such anticipation as they gathered in their thousands around the ground hours before kick-off, were reduced to tears after less than 30minutes and reduced to such a stage of shock that it was only at half-time that they registered their first serious dissent.
This equaled Brazil’s heaviest margin of defeat, a 6-0 loss at the hands of Uruguay in the 1920 Copa America, but the impact of this reverse, not just on the world stage but in their homeland, will put this alongside the 1950 World Cup final defeat by the Uruguayans in Rio as their darkest football day.
Eventually, Germany emerged as winners of the 2014 World Cup competition having beaten Argentina after 120 minutes of eventful football. While Brazil came fourth in the tournament after suffering in the hands of the Netherlands in the third place.
2. Real Madrid’s UCL Consecutive Triumph (2016, 2017 & 2018)
Another historical happening in this decade that is rounding off is Real Madrid’s total hegemony of the UEFA Champions League. The Los Blancos under the tutelage of Zinedine Zidane blew teams like Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Liverpool away during the three years.
In 2016, It was a Madrid Derby and Los Blancos triumphed over their Arch rivals in Milan after scoring more penalties than the Roji Blancos. The win over Atletico in 2016 in Milan made it the second in three years. The first was in 2014 under Carlo Ancelotti.
Madrid again found their way into the final in 2017 having trumped Bayern Munich in the semi-final. The opposition of Los Blancos in 2017 was Allegri’s led Juventus side who hoped to correct the mistake they made against Barcelona in the final of 2015.
Their hope, however, was cut short as they couldn’t match up with the quality of Cristiano Ronaldo; the Portuguese talisman scored a hat trick to make Juventus wait on the Champions League for another season.
The year 2018 happened to be the year that nobody predicted Madrid to win the Champions League. The Los Blancos endured some torrid times from the group stage to the knockout stage of the competition.
The final witnessed Madrid against 2005 miracle workers in Instanbul (Liverpool). Jurgen Klopp’s side looked like a team that will put a halt to Madrid’s rule in Europe but the early injury to Mo Salah turned things around for the Kop.
Real Madrid scored before half time and in the early stage of the second half, Sadio Mane leveled for the Reds. Zinedine Zidane brought in Gareth Bale as Cristiano Ronaldo was not up to Par on the night and interestingly, The son of the soil (Bale) gave Madrid two memorial goals in Cardiff. Scoring a header and another Screamer that smashed the expectations of the Kop.
1. Liverpool’s Dramatic Comeback
Liverpool was going to have one over another Spanish giant and it was against a Barcelona side that had capitulated their first-leg lead the previous season against Roma.
The first leg was horrible for the Reds in Spain as the Kop looked so clueless and lacked the finishing touch. Goals by Luiz Suarez and Lionel Messi rendered Liverpool to make a dramatic comeback in the return leg in England.
Rightfully so, Barcelona started the second leg in a sorry manner; Two quick goals from Divock Origi and Giorginho Wijnaldum had made the comeback imminent as the Liverpool defense marked out Messi completely in the game and Barcelona’s problem upfront was so obvious.
All Barcelona needed in the game was just to score a goal and get to play in the final but Liverpool compounded their woes both offensively and defensively, another set of two goals by the same culprits who had scored in the first half shattered Barcelona’s hope of making it to the final – did Barca even have any hope from the blast of the kick-off whistle?
The night reminded everyone of the night in Instanbul in 2005 just as it happened some 14 years ago. The comeback was only a starting point for Liverpool as they outclassed Tottenham in the final of the competition.
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