Rich 10 Soccer Moments of the 2010s

10. South Korea shockingly eliminates Germany in 2018 World Cup Collin Fewkes

The 2018 Men’s World Cup was full of thrilling matches and upsets. But very few matches brought the excitement and story of South Korea vs. Germany. Germany strong off the last World Cup, winning their fourth title, was looking to find its way out of the group stage and into the knockout stages. This time however, they found themselves in unfamiliar territory. As they came into the final Matchday of their group play, Germany sat in 3rd place and had to take on a scrappy South Korean team.

A win and Germany is back into the knockout stages, but a loss would send them back with head in hands. The stage was set, and Germany came out ready to attack. This game saw Germany on the constant attack, having 70% possession and taking 26 shots but only 6 on target. The South Koreans were ready to weather the storm and eventually off a skewed corner found the back of the net (after VAR confirmed no offsides). The final nail in the coffin was while Germany pushed everyone upfield, a heaved ball toward the German end was put into the net after a streaking run from Son Heung Min made it 2-0 and South Korea put the reigning champions to bed.

9. Liverpool comes back to beat Barcelona in 2019William Hopkins

Liverpool capped off the Decade with a Champions League win after what otherwise would have likely been a disappointing Decade for the Scouse club. The iconic moment of this run was their comeback against FC Barcelona from a 3-0 deficit without many of their big name players. 

Capped off by a goal from Divock Origi after a corner taken quickly by right back Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Reds were just dominant enough to get through. After Origi’s goal in the sixth minute the thought “here we go again” was going through many soccer fans heads. In a decade that will likely be remembered for its crazy second legs, such as 6-1 Barcelona, this game almost felt normal. Also followed by Tottenham topping Ajax, this match gets the nod from us because it was between two of the biggest teams in Europe at the time. 

8. The United States Women’s National Team wins back-to-back World Cups-William Hopkins

The U.S. Women’s team started the decade as hopefuls to win the World Cup in 2011, and they were just 4 minutes away from three straight. This decade has been huge for USA soccer, players like Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz have rose to stardom and legends like Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach have said farewell, in very different ways. And the future looks bright as players like Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan still have most of their careers in front of them. 

The two World Cups came in very different settings. 2015 was a revenge tour, where the matchup with Japan loomed large in the final. The U.S. would edge past Germany to get their shot at the defending World Cup Champions, which would end in complete dominance in a 5-2 victory. The U.S. entered 2019 with a massive target on their backs. This didn’t slow the U.S. as they opened group play with a 13-0 win over Thailand and continued to look invincible as they ran through the tournament. Outside of a rough match with Spain in the Round of 16, the U.S. was the clear winner of every game they played capping off a decade that included 3 straight world cup finals and two wins. With the 2019 roster being largely past their prime and a coaching change in late 2019, the next steps may be rough for the U.S. but with their previous dominance there will likely be many young players coming through in the decade to come.

7. 2019 EPL Title Race- Sean Clark

The 2018-19 English Premier League provided us with one of the most unforgettable championship races we will ever see. Manchester City and Liverpool were two of the best teams in all of Europe, and they battled all season long for the Premier League title race. Both teams combined for 195 points, which is the record for the top two teams in the top English league. Throughout the season, the lead changed 32 times between the two teams. Manchester City won their last 14 games, and they had to win every single one of them as they beat out Liverpool, who won their last nine games, by only a single point. 

The iconic moment in this race took place on May 6, 2019, six days before decision day. Manchester City was in a scoreless draw in the second half against defensively-stout Leicester City. Then, captain and defender Vincent Kompany shot an absolute missile from outside the penalty box and buried in the top corner of the net to give City their only goal and a 1-0 victory. They defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 six days later to claim the title. What puts this on the list is how two elite teams battled so closely for a title and the Kompany goal was an unforgettable moment for all that witnessed it. 

6. Tottenham’s 2019 UCL Comeback at AjaxCollin Fewkes

What happens when you cross a Dutch League team with an average age less than 27 vs. an English Premier team who are struggling to find an identity? If your answer was one of the best Champions League matchups of the decade, I would say you were crazy too. Tottenham barely clawed their way out of Group B after they beat Inter Milan who was level on points with them after the final matchday. Ajax found themselves in a little bit of an easier group and finished in 2nd place in their group as well. Falling only two points behind first place Bayern Munich.

Both teams found themselves on difficult paths to get to the semifinal. Tottenham’s first match in the round of 16 had the Spurs against the 2nd best team in Germany, Borussia Dortmund. After a shocking result in both legs, Tottenham pushed aside the black and yellow to move on to the quarter-final with a 4-0 aggregate score. Ajax had to take on the decades biggest giants and defending champions Real Madrid. Real went into Amsterdam and stole 2 huge away goals. But it was the surprising young and pacey Ajax who stole the show and the second leg in Madrid to give them a 5-3 aggregate win over the three-time champions.

This semi-final matchup may not have been on many fantasy matchups, but it gave a thrilling outcome. The first leg took place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The lone goal came to Ajax who played a long ball out from the backline to spray it out wide to David Neres, after some fancy footwork played the ball up to Schone who found Ziyech on his right. Ziyech played in a pacey ball to the foot of Donny van de Beek and slotted it home. The second leg proved to be more thrilling in the Amsterdam Arena. Ajax once again put themselves on the front foot with two goals in the first half by Matthjis de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech (who had the crucial assist in the first leg). All looked done and dusted for the Spurs however Lucas Moura had other plans. His first goal came off a great run from Dele Alli through the middle of the pitch. Moura cleaned up a heavy touch from Alli, continued the run and buried it to the keepers left. His second goal came in the 59th minute, where after Ajax keeper, Onana, spilled a whipped cross into his own 18-yard box. Moura took a couple of brilliant touches to beat four Ajax defenders and find the net. Moura’s crowning of his hat trick came in stoppage time of the 2nd half. A lofted ball from midfield came off an Ajax defender and a quick touch from Alli found the left foot of Lucas Moura who calmly signed, sealed and delivered a spot for the Spurs into the Champions League Final.

5. Andres Iniesta wins the 2010 World Cup for SpainSean Clark

Spanish Football entering the 2010 World Cup had not had the same amount of championship success some of their European counterparts such as France, Germany and Italy have had. Spain before 2008 hadn’t won a UEFA Euro title since 1964 and had never won a World Cup. But they broke through in 2008 and beat Germany 1-0 to claim the Euro title. They headed into the 2010 World Cup in South Africa ready to win their first ever World Cup. 

Spain had a loaded lineup that included midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi from FC Barcelona, goalkeeper Iker Casillas, defender Sergio Ramos and midfielder Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid among others. They won their group after defeating Chile and Honduras. And then they defeated Portugal, Paraguy and Germany 1-0 each time to set the stage for our 5th greatest moment of the decade. 

Spain took on the Dutch in the World Cup Final, and it was an ugly game. There were a total of 13 yellow cards and a red card picked up by The Netherlands in extra time. Then substitute Cesc Fabregas found Iniesta and he smashed it past the goalkeepers’ right side in the 116th minute to win Spain’s first World Cup. Spain finally won the big tournament that they had never won before. Iniesta was a legend at FC Barelona and Spain and this was the iconic moment of his career. It was the perfect capper on what was a chaotic World Cup. Spain was dominant as during their four knockout games of the World Cup, they did not concede a single goal. Spain would win Euro 2012 and it concluded a four-year period where Spain was clearly the best team in the world. 

4. Barcelona stuns PSG in 2017 Collin Fewkes

Elimination rounds seem to bring out absolute thrillers and this clash between two world giants who have proved nothing but dominance in this decade was no exception. This was the hot ticket around the globe to watch two teams at their peak play great football, what ensued in the two-leg matchup was pure chaos and arguably the best matchup in champions league history.

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain combined had 51 trophies this decade and were two clubs in top form looking to claim their spot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The first leg venue was Parc des Princes, a location where PSG is practically unbeatable. This game was no different for Les Rouge et Bleu. While Barcelona found their typical rhythm with possession and passing advantage, PSG found their advantage with their chances on frame. 16 shots and 10 shots on target. The shots finally found the net in the 18th minute after a perfectly hit free kick rippled the net passed Ter Stegen. More goals from Draxler and Cavani plus a second from Di Maria put a bow on a perfect day in Paris with a win of 4-0.The second leg at the illustrious Camp Nou, another home team favorite to play in proved to be a stunner of a game. This was going to be a mountain to climb, especially after the four home goals PSG had scored. This game came to a rapid start after a cross to the box in the third minute found the large dome of Luis Suarez to put a ball just over the line to get Barcelona on the board. PSG was able to man down the hatches until their undoing in the 40th minute. A ball played into Andres Iniesta came off the foot of Layvin Kurzawa into his own net to bring the aggregate to 4-2. Barcelona’s gold mine continued to flourish in the 50th minute when a sliding, grab-him-by-the-laces, tackle came in the box to trip up Neymar. The little genius, Lionel Messi stepped up to the spot and slotted it home for a 4-3 scoreline. Game=officially on. Or so Barcelona thought until a half volley finish from Cavani came in the 62nd minute to deflate the sails of Barcelona hopefuls everywhere with a dagger of an away goal to PSG to now make the aggregate score line 5-3.

This game should have been put to bed, but Barcelona never said die and that showed in the 88th minute when Brazilian superstar, Neymar, sent a beauty of a curler into the upper left-hand corner of the net making it 5-4 but PSG still having the away goal advantage. They needed two more goals to push them into the quarter final. That dream goal came in the 91st minute when a (I would say soft) penalty call was given to Barcelona after a knock over from Marquinhos brought Suarez down in the box. Neymar took the penalty this time and with no cheeky runup needed put Barcelona one goal away from starting a happy riot in the streets of Barcelona. 95th minute, this could be the final kick of the game if this free kick does not fall for Barcelona. Ter Stegen and every defender for Barca was pulled up field to get a head on the ball. The cross gets played in from Neymar but is dealt with quickly from the PSG defense only to fall back to the feet of Neymar. Neymar fakes right and cuts to his left to beat the recently subbed on PSG defender, Krychiowiak. A lofted ball is played into a trailing run of Sergi Roberto to find the back of the net and to send Barcelona rampant and put a stamp on the greatest comeback in Champions League history.

3. Germany humiliates the 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil 7-1William Hopkins

Germany had one of the most dominant World Cup runs in recent memory. The Germans came into the tournament quietly, but had many weapons like 2010 Golden Boot winner Thomas Muller and revolutionary keeper Manuel Neuer. The team never had a game that set them apart until their matchup with Brazil in the semifinal. Brazil had entered the World Cup with a chance at winning on home soil and as many people’s favorite. The quarter final would hold disaster for Brazil’s hopes though.

Brazil saw their best player, Neymar, go down with a back injury that would end his World Cup and even endanger the following season. Additionally, defender and captain Thiago Silva would be serving a suspension for the match. 

With the stage set Germany would dominate Brazil 7-1. Germany ripped apart Brazil’s defense over the course of 10 minutes and never looked back. The images of devastated Brazil fans were seen all around the world and many memes were made to commemorate the miraculous occasion. Brazil is still humiliated by the memory of the loss, and for Germany it earned them two spots on this list as the world was shocked by Germany’s early exit just four years later.

2. Leicester City wins the 2016 Premier League despite 5000-1 oddsWilliam Hopkins

What a story. Leicester goes from relegation favorites to champions. The club entered the season as 5000-1 underdogs to win the title and somehow found a way to destroy the way odds makers do their jobs.  Leicester completely revolutionized the way an entire industry works. 

Leicester capitalized on a down year from many of the top clubs to pull off the impossible. This story will be told for years to come, it was a sports movie come to life. Forget Major League, Forget Friday Night Lights, The Leicester City story will be immortalized as one team overcoming the odds and just finding a way to win. Leicester constantly came back from behind winning games in the late minutes. 

Additionally, Leicester was lead by three unlikely heroes. N’golo Kante, a player who was “too small” but has become one of the best midfielders in the world. Jamie Vardy once made medical supplies for a living when playing non league. Vardy has now become one of the most consistent players in the English top flight. Finally Riyad Marhez has been disappointing for City since his transfer but watching him play for the Foxes that season was simply magical. 

Leicesters legend will long live on as the Foxes are still a force in the Prem. The win has set up the Foxes for plenty of future success, possibly helping them on their way to another title in the near future.

1. Sergio Aguero wins the Premier League for Manchester CitySean Clark

AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very few calls in the history of sports are as iconic as Martin Tyler losing his mind when Sergio Aguero scored the goal that won the 2012 English Premier League Title for Manchester City. Due to the stakes, the history and the sheer drama of the moment, this moment tops the decade in the sport of soccer.

Manchester City in the history of the Premier League has been the little brother to the giants, Manchester United. City had won only two English top-flight titles ever until this moment. The two were in 1937 and 1968. United, on the other hand, had won 19 titles and 12 under then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson. United also has won 4 of the last 5, including the previous years’ title. But in 2012, City was looking to change things. City beat United in the Manchester Derby twice, 6-1 and 1-0 two weeks before Decision Day. City and United were tied on points heading into Decision Day, but City had the tiebreaker due to a greater goal differential.

On May 13, 2012, City took on Queens Park Rangers, who were facing relegation at home but ended up staying in the Premier League, and United played Sunderland, who finished in 13th place, on the road. Wayne Rooney scored 20 minutes into the game and that would end up being the only goal in an eventual United win. But it was going on at the same time as City’s match vs QPR. Man City was heavily favored to win, but shockingly, fell behind 2-1, despite QPR picking up a red card when it was tied at 1-1. 

Down 2-1 in stoppage time, City was desperate and needed two goals to win the title. In the 91st minute, Edin Dzeko smashed in a header off David Silva’s corner to tie the game. Fast forward to the 94th minute, United has just wrapped up their win and were on top of the table. City needed a goal and had less than two minutes to do it. Then, Mario Balloteli slipped and fell while trying to pass the ball outside the penalty box. Star striker Sergio Aguero ran toward the ball and blasted it into the net to give City the Premier League title in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 victory.

City fans went crazy, Tyler went crazy, United, who had just won seconds ago, watched in terror as the Premier League title was snatched away from them. It was an unforgettable moment full of terror, shock and pandemonium. It is one of the most iconic moments in the history of soccer and the top moment of the decade. 

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