The decade came to an end with many bittersweet memories of Soccer. Out of thousands of such moments, we have selected 10 for you.
AIZAWL FC WON I-LEAGUE 2016-17
It was the ‘Leicester Moment of India.’ Defying odds, Unknown Aizwal FC participated from a shoestring budget. It was their only second season in the top flight. In the soccer-mad North-Eastern part, triumph resulted in a massive celebration. Concomitant effects were visible. 2016-17 saw the participation of 2 North East clubs. It improved to 3 in the next three. Other new clubs got the motivation and (Minerva Punjab and Chennai City) topped the next two leagues.
FIFA CORRUPTION REVEALED
In the middle of the decade, various agencies confirmed rampant corruption in FIFA. Fishy acts were going on for decades. Nobody was willing to talk about it. When the lid opened, a lot of skeletons tumbled out of the cupboard. It finally cost presidencies of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini.
QATAR WON ASIA CUP 2019
In the backdrop of the geopolitical struggle of Gulf nations, Qatar participated in AFC Asia Cup in UAE. Talks remain centered around strife in the region. Maroons handed hosts 4-0 semi-final humiliation. For a partisan crowd, it was difficult to swallow. In the final, they stunned 4 times champion Japan. It was Samurai’s first final loss. Qatar conceded just one goal in the whole tournament. Almoez Ali, Abdelaziz Hatim, and Akram Hassan Afif gave tiny Gulf nation the most historic moment in their toughest time.
BRAZIL’S FIRST OLYMPIC GOLD
5 times FIFA WC champion has never won Football’s Olympic Gold. They finished second best on three occasions. Uruguay and Argentina had 2 successes. In Rio, they faced Germany in the summit clash. Memories of 7-1 thrashing returned to haunt. Both teams played out a 1-1 draw in regular time. The contest moved to penalties. Neymar scored the fifth in front of 78000 fans. It ended the frustration for most of the passionate soccer fans. Revenge couldn’t have been sweeter than this.
RONALDO’S BICYCLE KICK AGAINST BIANCONERI
It was one of the most beautiful goals of the decade. The moment came in 2017-18 season of the UEFA Champions League. With it, Ronaldo won the hearts of Beautiful Italians. Many rubbed eyes in disbelieve at Turin. In search of ‘Champion League,’ Old lady signed him in next season for 105 million pounds. It resulted in an overall increased profile of ‘Serie A’. Investment, TV viewership, revenue, fan following, competition profile, all got a massive boost with that single transfer.
GERRARD SLIP IN 2014
‘There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about it,’ Gerrard said in a recent interview. Before the game, Brandan Rodgers’s side was five points clear of the Blues and three points ahead of Man City (they had a game in hand). Just before half time, Sakho passed, and Red legend slipped. Demba Ba seized it, and finally, Chelsea won 2-0. It helped Manchester City to lift the cup. The infamous slip came from the most dedicated member of the squad. It effectively cost Liverpool a first league title they were longing for 24 years.
MESSI RONALDO RIVALRY
When we talk about the greatest rivalry, our mind shifts to Pele and Maradona. Both played at different points of time. Messi and Ronaldo are worthy competitors. What’s beautiful is that both are competing against each other at the same time. Both greats bettered various records in this decade and mesmerized fans around the world. Who is the greatest; is still divided opinion and open to debate.
LEICESTER CAUGHT THE IMAGINATION OF WORLD
It was the greatest underdog success story of all time. Foxes enjoyed Cinderella run in 2015-16. It ended in the triumph of EPL. A team of modest and dejected players beat 5000/1 odds. In the previous season, Foxes narrowly avoided relegation. After shabby departure from Chelsea, Coach Claudio Ranieri worked from scratch. “I won the most important league in Europe, I think, not just Europe but the world!” Claudio Ranieri remarked in disbelieve.
BRAZIL’S 7-1 LOSS TO GERMANY IN FIFA 2014
In the Semifinal, Germany scored four goals in a span of frightening seven minutes. It was the greatest margin of defeat in a World Cup semi-final. Rubbing salt to wounds, the game saw Germany moving ahead of Brazil as the highest-scoring team in WC. They also set the record of playing 8 finals. The host Brazil was playing without injured Neymar. It was the biggest tragedy of Brazil’s soccer history since the loss to Uruguay in the 1950 final (Maracanazo).
In the last game of the 2016-17 seasons of EPL, Queen’s Park Rangers was their opponent. The city had to win to clinch the prize. After a huge investment, Roberto Mancini’s side was a force. The title was eluding them since 1968. In front of home fans, they were down 2-1 in regular time. Fans were leaving the stadium in tears. In the second half of the five minutes of stoppage time, Dzeko leveled. Aguero struck with a minute left on the clock. The Etihad erupted in the explosion of ‘Blue Joy’. The city overturned 8 points lead in five weeks. The balance of power also tilted from Red to Blue part of Manchester in the coming years. The result of 380 matches of the most competitive league hung in the balance till the last minute. It couldn’t have been more thrilling.
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