The 100 greatest football moments of all time

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Tardelli 1982 World Cup

Marco Tardelli celebrates, 1982 World Cup final

70. Costinha pushes Porto over the line, Mourinho walks it

Manchester United 1-1 FC Porto, Old Trafford
Champions League last 16 second leg, 10 March 2004

The moment On the verge of the quarter-finals, all Manchester United have to do is defend this last, contentious free-kick. So tight are the margins, though, that all Porto have to do is score it. And, ultimately, the latter’s fierce resolve sees them through. Benni McCarthy hits the free, Tim Howard palms it down and Costinha reacts quicker than anyone… except, that is, his manager.

Apparently overtaken by the moment, Jose Mourinho leaps out of the Old Trafford bench and races up the touchline to joyously embrace his players.

They said

“When Costinha scored, I was going crazy. Mourinho was going crazy. Everybody was going crazy.” Jorge Costa

“My team were out after 90 minutes, and in the quarter-finals after 91.” Mourinho

“In that season, and before, under Mourinho it didn’t matter who we played – United, Real Madrid, Lazio – we went to the game and we thought ‘can we win? Yes we can’.” Costa

What it meant at the time, it seemed like one of the Champions League’s great upsets, particularly since it led to an unfashionable Porto side winning the competition as a whole. In the grander context of history, though, the victory seems inevitable: a natural end product of Mourinho’s brilliance. Because, more than anything, this was the game that created his legend. In effect, it was the quintessential Mourinho victory: a tactical masterclass, a big scalp, a late win through sheer force of character and – above all – a brazen, eye-catching stunt from the man himself.

 

69. Van Basten reverses 1974

West Germany 1-2 Netherlands, Volksparkstadion
Euro 88 semi-final, 21 June 1988

The moment 14 years after the 1974 World Cup final, the Dutch were still carrying a lot of the pain and anguish from that traumatic defeat. Until, in the Euro 88 semi-final, they went through the ultimate catharsis: an almost exact reversal of that milestone match. As David Winner writes in Brilliant Orange, “probably never before or since has an historic game developed into so haunting a mirror of its predecessor. A night of dark memories and seeming redemption unfolded.”

First, an opening penalty early in second half for the team that would eventually lose. Then a dive to level things up for the inevitable victors. Lothar Matthaus struck first before Ronaldo Koeman took advantage of Marco Van Basten’s theatrics. But the striker would add a deeper level of drama still.

Three minutes from time, the ball was played to Van Basten towards the right of the German box. Covered by Jurgen Kohler, he seems to have been pushed too far wide… only to somehow hit a strike across the German defender. Like Gerd Muller’s 14 years earlier, “it’s almost more of a push than a hit”. But it’s enough. In every sense.

They said

“The 1974 final was one of my motivations. I think the whole team had that knd of feeling – we have to beat them this time.” Hans van Breukelen

“It was the Lost Final reincarnate – with everything mixed up.” Winner

“Revenge!” a headline in De Telegraaf

What it meant a lot more than a football match. Half-Dutch journalist Simon Kuper wrote that “it was not only the resistance we never quite offered but also the battle we never quite won.” Strong words. But they were strong emotions. And they were to be distilled to an even greater degree.

The tournament remains the only occasion in which the Dutch have properly lived up to all of their potential and pretensions. It goes without saying that a paradigm-shifting victory over the Germans gave them the will to do it.

 

68. Trezeguet trumps Italy’s defence to triumph

France 2-1 Italy, De Kuip
Euro 2000 final, 2 July 2000

The moment after a thrilling tournament and a dramatic final, David Tezegeut provides the coup de grace. With France having finally broken Italy’s admirable defensive resistance in the 94th minute to force golden-goal extra-time, the striker then beats Francesco Toldo again in the most brilliant manner: powering a half-volley into the roof of the net.

They said

“It is the willpower of the team that did it.” French manager Roger Lemerre

“The tournament as a whole was played at a very high standard… Pires put in a cross that was fairly difficult but I was on the spot.” Trezeguet

“When you feel victory is in your hands and it slips away it takes a lot out of your spirit. But it was a great effort. I’m really sorry, but that’s football.” Italian manager Dino Zoff

What it meant That a fantastic French team were crowned European champions and, by winning a double, one of the greatest international sides ever. Trezeguet’s half-volley was also the perfect finish in two senses. First, for the sheer quality of the strike. Secondly, as an appropriate ending to a rare international tournament in which all of the continent’s finest attacking talents played to the very maximum of their ability.

 

67. Bobby wins it for Busby and the Babes

Benfica 1-4 Manchester United, Wembley
European Cup final, 29 May 1968

The moment In one of the most emotion-drenched European Cup finals, Manchester United were desperate to finally deliver the trophy 10 years after so many of the Busby Babes had tragically died in pursuit of it. That desperation, however, led to a late anxiety that almost cost them. With the score 1-1 after Benfica had unexpectedly equalised, Eusebio should have won it late only for Alex Stepney to pull off the most stunning save of his career. Before extra-time, Busby knew something extra was needed. And found the words. “You’ve won it once, go and win it again.”

Within four minutes, both George Best and Brian Kidd had found the net.

Finally, in the 99th, Bobby Charlton secured the trophy – and, more importantly, the club’s legacy – with a glorious, clipped finish.

They said

“No club and team ever had greater motivation.” Charlton

“It was a beautiful feeling. It was triumph and deliverance all wrapped up into one, but the deepest emotion would take a little time to well up.” Charlton

“I remember looking at Bobby and the boss. They both looked drained. The boss looked very old, which he had never seemed. There was a sense that this was the end of something momentous and it was almost immediate.” David Sadler

“I do recall what it meant to embrace teammates like Bill Foulkes… especially Bill because, like me, he had been on the snowy airfield and seen Matt Busby down and our team, his friends, destroyed.” Charlton

What it meant arguably more than any other European Cup victory, given that it transcended pure football. It became about honouring the memory of a magnificent but tragic young team. The Manchester United players felt they owed Busby. And Busby – above all – felt he owed the boys who died 10 years previous. As a teammate of those players and survivor of Munich himself, it was hard to think of a more fitting man as Charlton to start and finish the scoring on the night. In that, it was a match rich in emotional symbolism.

On a football level, though, one issue for United was that all of the sentiment around the game meant it also felt like too much of a natural ending. As if the Holy Grail had been reached and there were no more worlds to conquer. It would talk United another 31 years to reclaim the competition.

 

66. Rensenbrink on the brink

Argentina 3-1 Netherlands, Estadio Monumental
World Cup final, 25 June 1978

The moment There are just seconds left of the 1978 World Cup final. But the margins are to get even tighter still. Much tighter.

Holland had only equalised Mario Kempes’s first-half opener in the 82nd minute through Dick Nanninga. But, given how they had met – and overcome – Argentina’s aggression with supreme attacking football, the Dutch seemed deserving winners. And, at that point, the only winners. Certainly, they looked like they were about to confirm it.

First, Ruud Krol plays a precise free-kick. The ball evades the Argentine defence to land perfectly for Rob Rensenbrink just yards from goal. Slightly to the left, the winger – who has arguably been the star of the tournament with five goals to get Holland that far – looks certain to claim his sixth to win it all. He expertly guides the ball past goalkeeper Ubaldo Fillol… but not the post. The ball meekly bounces back out. Holland are denied a last-second victory by a matter of inches.

They said

“It was this close.” Rob Rensenbrink

“Of course, we felt the referee was not with us: that’s for sure.” Ruud Krol

What it meant That Argentina, instead of Holland, would win a first ever World Cup. Mario Kempes would eventually put the hosts ahead before Daniel Bertoni sealed the victory four minutes from time.

But that the Argentines had come so close to losing seemed to represent just how much help an admittedly excellent side needed to win this tournament. Certainly, luck seemed to be the least of the factors. There had already been a huge amount of controversy over the unprecedented 6-0 win against Peru that actually put them in the final. And, with the junta desperate for victory, the Dutch had to put up with all manner of interruptions, antagonism and delays both before and during the final.

Ultimately, it represented the apparent unfairness of the World Cup at that point. And a particularly infamous tournament as a whole.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Carsten Jancker and Mehmet Scholl hit the woodwork in the 1999 Champions League final

 

65. Senegal stun France

France 0-1 Senegal, Seoul World Cup Stadium
World Cup Group A, 31 May 2002

The moment it’s the opening game of the 2002 World Cup and France are justifiably aiming to upset history and become the first international team to win three major trophies in a row. Instead, they suffer one of the biggest – and furthest-reaching – upsets in history.

Looking a little unimaginative without the injured Zinedine Zidane, the defending champions are repeatedly threatened by Senegal’s clever counter-attacking game. Eventually, on 30 minutes, the razor-sharp El-Hadji Diouf rips the French left side apart. He crosses for Papa Bouba Diop who eventually forces the ball past Fabien Barthez.

They said

“It is like a dream – not a miracle though.” Senegal coach Bruno Metsu

“It is a big, big performance for Senegal. They used good tactics and they played very well. But we cannot say after this result that the future of the French team in our group is finished.” Roger Lemerre

“We have run for miles for nothing. For the last 15 minutes, I’ve spent my time only going back and forth.We needed Zizou to keep the ball.” Frank Lebouef

What it meant A lot. On many levels. For a start, it was probably an even bigger upset than Cameroon’s win over Argentina 12 years previously. The French, after all, were in their absolute pomp. Indeed, the decade was supposed to be theirs. The exact opposite would prove the case. Because, while Senegal would emulate Cameroon by reaching the quarter-finals, the French would get nowhere near the final.

They would exit at the group stage goalless and pointless, but with plenty of accusations about the exact state of the squad. Indeed, to a certain extent, the French national team have never fully recovered from the defeat. They would be beset by the same on-pitch problems in 2004 and then endure the dramas of Raymond Domenech.

But then France’s travails would also reflect international football as a whole. And that game would point the way.

The French, after all, had entered the tournament with their egos overblown but with their bodies overworked by another gruelling year of Champions League football – with Zidane the best example of that. Hungrier, sharper and tighter, the more moderate talents of Senegal would work hard to bridge the gap between the teams by exposing France’s problems.

It set the template for the tournament and the next 10 years. In that time, international football has produced more shocks than at any other point in history. And it started with Senegal.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Rosenborg knock out Milan out of the Champions League, 1996-97

 

64. Schumacher flattens Battiston

West Germany 3-3 France, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
World Cup semi-final, 8 July 1982

The moment in an authentically epic game that ebbed and flow, goalkeeper Harald Schumacher took it to an emotional peak. Except this was outrage and physical pain rather joy or anguish.

With 56 minutes gone and the score at 1-1, Michel Platini looks to have made an opening as releases Patrick Battiston with a brilliant, piercing ball. The full-back still has the retreating Manny Kaltz and the onrushing Schumacher to bet but, racing ahead, it looks like he’ll be brave enough to get there first. He does. But he doesn’t get to finish it. Or indeed know what actually happened next.

Rather than try and claim the ball normally, the goalkeeper jumps and turns so that his hipbone smashes into Battiston’s face. With the unconscious Frenchman requiring immediate treatment, the game is stopped for several minutes. All the while, though, Schumacher simply and impassionately readies himself for the goal-kick. Neither a booking nor even a free are given.

They said

“There’s no compassion among professionals. Tell him I’ll pay for the crowns.” Schumacher on learning that Battiston had lost two teeth

“He had no pulse. He looked so pale.” Platini

“Given the same circumstances, I’d do the same thing again. Believe it or not, I was really only trying to get to the ball.” Schumacher, 15 years later

“If I had the opportunity to watch it back? I think I’d have given Schumacher a red card.” Referee Charles Korver

“What happened in those two hours encapsulated all the sentiments of life itself. No film or play could ever recapture so many contradictions and emotions. It was complete. So strong. It was fabulous.” Michel Platini

“I feel no hate.” Battiston in 2008

What it meant on the night itself, that France would seemingly forever go on to prove no more than moral victors. Because, in a different manner to Schumacher, the German team as whole would steel themselves to come back from 3-1 down and then win on penalties. To add insult to literal injury, Schumacher saved twice.

In the aftermath, French manager Michel Hidalgo claimed “the match reignited the Franco-German antagonism that had faded”. And, duly, a post-World Cup poll to find the least popular person among the French put Schumacher ahead of Adolf Hitler. Battiston, meanwhile, suffered vertebra damage as well as the loss of two teeth.

But most of all, Schumacher’s unfeeling – but, crucially, unwavering – attitude seemed to encapsulate what the West Germans had become at that point: they were the ultimate win-at-all-costs team, as illustrated by their earlier controversial win over Austria to eliminate Algeria. Certainly, it set a stereotype for the Germans that has lasted to today.

There was some sense of justice as Italy would overwhelm the Germans in the final to widespread approval. And, in that, never has an international team proven so unpopular. But then few have been more successful.

Similar moments that didn’t make it West Germany and Austria play out a 1-0 to eliminate Algeria, 1982

 

63. Zidane loses his head

Italy 1-1 France, Olympiastadion
World Cup final, 9 July 2006

The moment In 1998, Zinedine Zidane had properly launched a legendary career by scoring two goals in the World Cup final with his head. In 2006, he would end it in the same fixture with the same body part but in a very different way.

In the 110th minute, Zidane and Materazzi were jogging closely together with the latter appearing to tug the Frenchman’s jerseys. Words were exchanged before Zidane stopped, turned and – incredibly – headbutted the Italian in the chest. As Materazzi lay crumpled in a heap, fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo alerted the oblivious referee Horacio Elizondo. After consulting his assistants, the official sent Zidane off. And, in an even more evocative image, the playmaker had to walk by the World Cup trophy itself as he took his last steps as a professional.

They said

“If you want my shirt, I will give it to you afterwards.” Zidane to Materazzi after the defender had grabbed him

“I prefer the whore that is your sister.” Materazzi’s response

“Zidane is a man of heart and conviction.” Jaques Chirac

“To see him finish his career in this way is sad.” Raymond Domenech

“Let’s not forget that provocation is a terrible thing. I have never been one to provoke. I have never done it. It’s terrible, and it is best not to react.” Zidane in 2009

What it meant Most immediately, that Zidane wouldn’t be on the pitch to take a penalty in the shoot-out. And, given how he had scored one in the seventh minute, a successful spot-kick later on could well have altered the course to Italy’s eventual victory. Indeed, the manner in which the art and audacity of that early shot contrasted with his later aggression ensured that the game essentially offered a microcosm of Zidane’s entire on-pitch personality: exquisite talent fired by an inner drive which occasionally over-spilled. This, after all, was the 14th red card of Zidane’s career and made him only the second player to be sent off in two separate World Cups.

Ultimately, it illustrated how many of the very greatest careers are defined by all manner of extremes.

 

62. Ronaldo: will he or won’t he?

Brazil 0-3 France, Stade de France
World Cup final, 12 July 1998

The moment A ripple went around the Stade de France and spread to TV studios and audiences all over the world. Ronaldo, undisputedly the finest player on the planet, was apparently out of its greatest match. Then, 40 minutes before kick-off, he was back in. Something was up. And something very odd.

That was how the moment played out in public.

The private moment was even more shocking and much more traumatic.

Particularly for Roberto Carlos and Edmundo. In a room with the former, Ronaldo had just had lunch at the team’s base before he began to shake uncontrollably and foam at the mouth. Carlos, overwhelmed by panic, starting screaming for help and banging on all the doors nearby.

Cesar Sampaio administered first aid, unravelling Ronaldo’s tongue to prevent him swallowing it. Immediately, the striker fell asleep.

In the meantime, there was debate over whether to even tell him what happened. Except, because he had to be taken for tests in order to see if he could play, there was no choice. Only if they were fine would he be able to play.

As such, Mario Zagallo faced a choice every bit as potentially divisive as the debates taking place in every TV studio in the world.

Eventually, Ronaldo played. But in the most basic description of the verb.

They said

“When I saw what it was, I despaired. Because it was a really strong and shocking scene.” Edmundo

“We went back to our rooms, we rested. But, you know what I mean, everyone was worried. My room was linked, so I saw everything. Every five minutes someone came and stared, and Ronaldo was thee, sleeping like a baby.” Edmundo

“I chose Ronaldo. Now was it his being chosen that caused Brazil to lose? Absolutely not. I think it was the collective trauma, created by the atmosphere of what had happened.” Mario Zagallo

“Imagine if I stopped him playing and Brazil lost? At that moment I’d have to go and live on the North Pole.” Team doctor Lidio Toledo

What it meant On the night, that relative underdogs France would breeze to victory. Brazil, previously brilliant, were understandably subdued. And Ronaldo much more so. There was even an air of apprehension when Fabian Barthez clattered into the striker, sending him crashing to the ground.

The match was also the first of a series of incidents that eventually became a four-year hiatus in Ronaldo’s career. Indeed, it’s strongly arguable that he never again reached the same heights despite the subsequent successes in his career.

Of course, when you break the moment down, it was essentially a case of the best footballer in the world falling ill before the biggest game of his career. As such, there were a multitude of conspiracy theories and even an investigation in Brazil’s national congress to explain exactly what happened.

Only another World Cup victory could vanquish the pain. And, fittingly, Ronaldo provided it.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Hurst over Greaves, 1966; The Italian stafetta, 1970

 

61. The Tardelli scream

Italy 3-1 West Germany, Santiago Bernabeu
World Cup final, 11 July 1982

The moment 44 years since their last World Cup and 69 minutes into their second final since then, Italy stand on the precipice. They’re 1-0 up through Paolo Rossi’s goal but, as ever, a dangerous West German side are threatening. Suddenly, Italy break. The ball eventually finds its way to Tardelli at the edge of the box. He unleashes. And then let’s go.

They said

“I was born with the scream, it didn’t just emerge at that moment. You live your life and have some good experiences and some bad ones. Then it all comes out at that moment.” Tardelli

What it meant 44 years of anguish poured into one moment and the ultimate image of unadulterated, unrestrained joy.

 

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thefootballfan 6 pts

u missed bulgaria win over germany in the world cup.

thefootballfan 6 pts

what about did it cross the line this time for england

ApoorvGupta 5 pts

I expected to see a list of the best players in the world for the previous year, as you made one last year. I hope you find the time to make it this year too. I love going through the lists and tell all my friends about this site too.

It was truly brilliant. But our shortlist ran to the hundreds. Many great moments missed out. What, for example, would you take out to put it in?

AbongiloAfeku 5 pts

i need football manager to manage me

NathanBarnes 5 pts

How about Arsenal's unbeaten run? Just saying..

Manicowl 5 pts

I'm surprised the match between Red Star Belgrade and Dynamo Zagreb that we're told started the war in the Balkans isn't in there, or would that be classed in the same vein as Heysel, Hillsborough etc...?

VitorBell 5 pts

pls visit: http://nlru.blogspot.com/

adamrhbrown 5 pts

And so, we come to this list. Well...hmmm. Difficult to say really. What makes a great moment is very much more difficult to analyse than the other categories established so far. For what it's worth, I feel that the word needs a stricter definition than what applies here. I mentioned in my email to you that I think a 'moment' should be no more than 5 mins tops, and even that might be overstating it.

Using The Times' Wish You Were There moments as a guide, I have drafted up a list of what I believe to be the 50 Most Iconic English Football TV Events, a word that I feel works better when you want to measure whole matches (or even campaigns) against isolated incidents - as well as acknowledging the influence of broadcasting. On that basis I can't disagree with much of your selection here, though I cannot fathom why such high rankings are bestowed upon each episode of Mourinho and Barca's tit-for-tat just yet.

Also, let me just clarify how surreal as an English fan it is to see Stan Collymore above "They think it's all over" and beg you to reconsider, simply because we cannot afford him to actually see that!

I also strongly disagree with ranking Bergkamp so high. Obviously the goal is of the highest quality, but how can the even more extraordinary - as well as more iconic and more influential - contributions of Cantona, Tardelli and Zidane rank so far down the list in comparison? (I'm not trying to glorify violence, by the way. Just those two examples.)

Re that goal though, I recently came across a New York Times blog post from the 2006 World Cup, reflecting on previous Argentina/Holland games. Although mostly about the 1978 final, Bergkamp's goal obviously gets a mention. Scrolling down to the comments, it amused me greatly to find the first one by an American sports fan, suitably unimpressed! (Though, to be fair, considerably more of his countrymen jumped in to disassociate themselves from such a remark.)

Last thing for now - Maradona's goals vs England should be one entry. The contrast is the real story - an apt metaphor for both the man and the wider culture of his homeland. Plus it just about squeezes into my five minute limit. (Alright, make it 10, then Liverpool's bizarre comeback can still be included as well.)

Meerkat 5 pts

Fascinating as always. The major omissions for me would be Heysel, Munich, Superga (although these were more 'important' than 'great') and Jimmy Glass '99.I do wish there were more actual "moments" than summaries of important matches, particularly in the top 50. I'd also like to see more moments that transcend football on the pitch alone; for example, Kepto and Gun: in the era of fanzines, phone-ins, supporters' clubs and Fever Pitch, it was clear fans had a voice and influence on the game (of varying levels)...this story (that it was fictitious is irrelevant) and the reaction to it showed how football is universal and can bring anyone together.I don't see why there are 2 moments of the Mourinho vs Barca saga; can these not be distilled into one? Pick the most important and lasting, include a summary of the other? Nice read though

Meerkat 5 pts

I'm also not sure how to format comments so paragraph spaces aren't deleted on publication?

MDelaneyST 31 pts moderator

Meerkat Cheers as ever. The reason we didn't include Heysel, Hillsborough, Munich or Superga is because we didn't want to trivialise or be flippant about tragedies (by including them in such a list in the first place), and we also wanted this to mostly be a 'celebration' of the game, so made a conscious decision to leave such terrible incidents.Re the likes of Fever Pitch, they're simply too hard to quantify. And, again, that's not really the style we were going for. With respect, you're also the first person to suggest that!As for Glass, well the reason it's not included is because it scored low in a few categories (not nature obviously). It didn't really have an influence on the game and, mostly, Carlisle were relegated within a few years!

As for two moments from the Mourinho-Barca saga, well the fact is they were important even apart from the saga: one set the tactical template of the game, the other was one of the landmark, all-time performances.But cheers again! All feedback is welcome!

This comment has been deleted
adamrhbrown 5 pts

Meerkat You can't have genuine tragedies on a list of great moments! I would however nominate the rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone before the 1989 FA Cup final (or - as mentioned in the relevant entry - the one performed by AC Milan and Real Madrid fans in that semi final).

BenjaminBildeBoelsmand 5 pts

Fantastic list as always. Two major ommissions in my book: Stuart Pearce's goal on penalty in '96 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0OCRrvMBpA) and especially the goal by Jimmy Glass (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KejwqhLDeOs). That it took place in 3rd division makes it event more important to me. This is professional football at its finest, where it is more about belongings and emotions, than about high-end transfers.

MDelaneyST 31 pts moderator

BenjaminBildeBoelsmand Pearce isn't a bad shout but, consider this: in the 'global game', Baggio's goal against Chile was possibly bigger if we're going to go along those lines. It was his first World Cup game since the miss against Brazil (which, most of all, settled an actual World Cup) and, moreover, he was a much bigger name than Pearce.As for Glass, well the reason it's not included is because it scored low in a few categories (not nature obviously). It didn't really have an influence on the game and, mostly, Carlisle were relegated within a few years!I know what you're saying about the game being at its purest, but it can hardly be described as the game at its "finest"!

Quality, after all, had to be one of our considerations!

BenjaminBildeBoelsmand 5 pts

MDelaneySTBenjaminBildeBoelsmand I probably agree with you on Baggio, even though the screams of Pearce have me in tears every time (and as a dane it's not the national emotions). And with Glass I must respectfully disagree with the decision. To me, it's what football is about.

Once again thanks for the fantastic work you do!

PadraigOHooligan 5 pts

A great list. I of course disagree with the placing of many things. For one I would have had Van Basten's goal and the Cruyff turn higher as actual moments, but that's the point of this, a great read. I can't think of any major omissions as of yet but I will return and whinge about something that pops into my head later, you can be sure.

It puts me in mind of the Orbis World Cup 90 Collection binder which was my first introduction to a lot of the moments on the list.

MDelaneyST 31 pts moderator

PadraigOHooligan Ah, that's what the list is for: to encourage talk! Cheers man.

adamrhbrown 5 pts

PadraigOHooligan Yes, I too was surprised to see that anyone would rank Bergkamp ahead of his two countrymen, great goal that it is, especially as Cruyff's turn has come to signify something even beyond the player's abilities. If it's been judged so favourably just because it happened in the last minute I'd say Michael Thomas, Jimmy Glass, and Man Utd vs Bayern all easily beat it for pure drama - and they actually settled the outcomes of whole seasons, not one inconsequential quarter final match.

footballistico 6 pts

Great site. No place to include Thuram's two goals against Croatia (world cup 1998 semi-final ) ? It's a good example of an event transcending a player.

adamabyss 5 pts

footballistico good suggestion. I believe they were the only two goals he ever scored for France. Don't you mean a player transcending an event?

MDelaneyST 31 pts moderator

adamabyssfootballistico Again, our "short" list was so long that many great moments like Thuram's just missed out.

Big Fat Ronaldo 6 pts

MDelaneyST Left this out. another great list, always an enjoyable read

jimm1y 7 pts

great list, iv only 1 problem. you never used jimmy magee's commentary for the maradona goal!

Big Fat Ronaldo 6 pts

There must be a place for this. Kanu (ex-Inter Milan, Ajax and Arsenal) extraordinary last minute equaliser versus Brazil in the 1996 Olympic semi-final.

In a crowded last minute six yard box, with his team 2-3 down, he flicks the ball up with his back to goal and chips it over the Dida, in one movement

Nigeria was 3-1 down at half time at one stage, Brazil had a clear goal disallowed that would have made it 4-1, Nigeria missed a penalty while it was 3-1, and Kanu eventually scored a sensational Golden Goal to end it in extra time, completely dumbfooling the Brazilian defence before smashing home from 18yards

All this happened before without me mentioning the sheer beauty, and incredible exhibition of skilled and attacking football from both sides.....for the Brazilian team had - Ronaldo da Lima ( one month before THE INCREDIBLE 96/97 season at Barcelona), Rivaldo, Bebeto, Roberto Carlos, the maestro Juninho in his pomp, Flavio Conceiao (Real Madrid), Ze Elias, the great centre back Aldair and Dida in goal.

This set the stage for Nigeria's equally pulsating and dramatic final against the Argentina team, which had - Hernan Crespo, Mattias Almeyda, Diego Simeone, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Ayala, Nestor Sensini, Ariel Ortega, Claudio Lopez,Jose Chamot

Nigeria went behind 5times in both semi final and final and still won the tournament

The Nigeria Brazil game also made it into World Soccer Magazine's 50 greatest matches of all time

And before this, had any team outside Europe or South America won an an International Football tournament??? I doubt

It also inspired the Nigerian national team to record momentous victories over Spain and Bulgaria at France 1998 World Cup, and the Cameroun team to retain the Olympic Football title in 2000 for Africa

It deserves an inclusion

Big Fat Ronaldo 6 pts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WPU-8LIi9Q#t=8m13s

the link to the goal - Olympic Semi Final 1996

adamabyss 5 pts

You had better revise this to include Henry's return goal at Arsenal tonight. Absolutely incredible, unprecedented emotional scenes.

MDelaneyST 31 pts moderator

adamabyss Well, let's not go nuts! It wouldn't score highly in too many of our criteria like "importance", "impact on history" (although we wouldn't know that for a while).

adamabyss 5 pts

MDelaneyST haha yeah, it was amazing though, I'm not even an Arsenal fan! Thanks.

adamabyss 5 pts

MDelaneyST It was his 227th goal for them though - a goal that no one ever thought would be scored. And just a few weeks after they unveiled a statue of him. Isn't it even supposed to be bad luck to have a statue of yourself erected while you are still alive (or maybe that's street names, haha)? Evidently it wasn't unlucky for him! He's had a pretty historical impact on the world game though, he was the best player in the world for a couple of years and this is the latest (last?) chapter. Night.

MattHoarty 5 pts

er. no.67 cites Busby as using Ramsey's quote from the 66 World Cup Final. Was he that unoriginal...?

MDelaneyST 31 pts moderator

MattHoarty He was "inspired" by Ramsey apparently.

Meerkat 5 pts

I would expect THAT goal in the 1970 World Cup Final to be number 1. A team goal of the highest quality on the highest possible stage by what is regarded the greatest ever international team at the best tournament of all time...add the impact of it being the first truly global World Cup in the sense that it was televised, which resulted in the benchmark for everything that followed. In the words of Nick Hornby: "In a way Brazil ruined it for all of us. They had revealed a kind of Platonic ideal that nobody, not even the Brazilians, would ever be able to find again...as if 1970 was a half-remembered dream they had once had of themselves...[the rest of us] couldn't even get close, and we gave up."

claretandblueblogger 5 pts

No.71 was one of the greatest battles I've seen when it comes to international football. Loads of skill and commitment on display from both sides, who played the whole game in the right spirit, won by two moments of sublime skill. Being an England fan, I can only dream of being involved in this kind of contest, unless it's friendly against Ghana...

josephsbcn 7 pts

claretandblueblogger It was an incredible game, that's for sure.

Anonymous_69 5 pts

As a recent Barcelona fan (started watching in 2007, please don't call me a bandwagon-er), I am expecting these two incidents will make the list: Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, for the ref decisions and the amazing goals. And Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United, when Puyol let Abidal lift the trophy! Wow, that moment made me very emotional.

Another moment that might not make it, but I thought was absolutely amazing, was the 2-2 draw between Arsenal and Barcelona in London. That first half, particularly the first 20 minutes, were the greatest moments of football I have seen in the Champions League. And yet the couldn't score. And then they score in the second half. But their dominance had made them arrogant, and Arsenal took full advantage of the lack of concentration. Phenomenal game by Barca, phenomenal character from Arsenal.

PrimeTime2912 5 pts

Can't believe Iniesta's goal against Holland isn't in the top 50. It was a great goal and it won the freaking World Cup for Spain for the first time in a grueling Final in extra time. How much bigger can you get?

josephsbcn 7 pts

PrimeTime2912 This isn't the top 50- it's number 100 to 51. Let's wait and see, eh:?

clearanceclarence 5 pts

Excellent read, really enjoyed that. (I particularly like "...the eventual 2-0 scoreline should be sued for libel"). One quibble, though – no.89: "Which one? With four games left of the 1998-99 German season, Eintracht Frankfurt looked as good as down only win three games and cut a four-point gap to four." Eh?

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JordanPratt1
JordanPratt1

@ConnaB Okay then I'll get started then :P

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Ewan MacKenna
Ewan MacKenna

Pat Devlin asks aspiring journalist during after-match interview if he had stuck his fingers in a socket for instance?

Ewan MacKenna
Ewan MacKenna

And no League of Ireland?

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

We were thinking that would become an issue. We had to stay true to our formula.system though, and that scored low on influence, quality etc... Think about it another way... would it feel so high-profile if it was from a fourth tier from outside England? Plus, Carlisle got relegated two years later.

Darragh Farrelly
Darragh Farrelly

No sign of Jimmy Glass' winner for Carlisle...shocking.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Fixed! Wrong numbers transferred across!

Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

Presumably a typo (or two!) No. 2 Maradona, does not add up to 23!

Shakir Choudhury
Shakir Choudhury

Jimmy Glass' extra time winner to save Carlisle United from conference football......

Daniel Collins
Daniel Collins

Two big one's missing for me: -David May stealing the limelight on the podium after the '99 CL final. -Liam Coyle leaving Carles Puyol on his arse when Derry City played Barcelona at the Brandywell in 2003.