The 100 greatest football moments of all time

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40. Greece win Euro 2004

Portugal 0-1 Greece, Estadio da Luz
European Championship final, 4 July 2004

The moment Given that they had only twice qualified for an international tournament before and finished bottom of the official rankings in both tournaments, Greece were the ultimate surprise finalists in Euro 2004.

There was little surprising about Otto Rehhagel’s approach though. Built on diligent defence and exploitation of set-pieces, his tactics were always unfailingly adapted to neutralising the opposition attack. But that’s hardly surprising when your six-game run involves matches against the defending champions, the best team (Czech Republic), a talented Spanish side and two meetings with the hosts.

Since those hosts were equipped with that knowledge as well as the experience of an opening-day defeat to Greece, Portugal were widely expected to right the apparent wrongs of the previous rounds. The cream would surely rise.

Except, only Angelos Charisteas did. Echoing Greece’s two previous knock-out round victories, the striker rose to meet a corner and head in the only goal of the game.

Portugal kept attacking. But simply had no response to Rehhagel’s rigor.

They said

“It was an unusual achievement for Greek football and especially for European football. We took advantage of our chances… The Greeks have made football history. It’s a sensation.” As he’s done throughout the tournament, Rehhagel calls it

“This is a unique moment, which many of us may never experience again… it’s the best moment of my career.” Charisteas

“It’s the greatest gift that God ever gave us.” Captain Theo Zagorakis, although it’s unknown if he’s referring to Rehhagel

“The differences between the big teams and the so-called smaller teams have become smaller.” Rehhagel

What it meant given Greece’s history and quality, the most unlikely winners of a major championship and an absolute tactical masterclass by Rehhagel.

But, as magnificent as the scale of his triumph was, the victory did signal just how much the nature of international football had shifted – and arguably declined. Previously beholden to the quality of the very best players in the world, smaller countries never had such an opportune time to bridge the gaps with astute tactics due the excessive demands of the club game on the big sides. Rehhagel certainly proved that. Greece remain the template – and example – for any mid-tier nation approaching a tournament.

Similar moments that didn’t make it PSV Eindhoven win the 1988 European Cup; Colombia win the 2001 Copa America; FC Porto win the 2004 Champions League

 

39. Koeman finally delivers Barcelona

Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria, Wembley
European Cup final, 20 May 1992

The moment In the last year of the old European Cup, Barca had still never won the competition despite two defeated finals. And, after a few anxious moments in a hugely entertaining game against an adventurous Sampdoria, it seemed like that wait could go on. Certainly, it seemed like it would go on another seven minutes to the pain of penalties – the manner in which Barca lost their last final in 1986.

Then, in the 113th minute, Barca were awarded an indirect free-kick about 25 yards from the Sampdoria goal.

Hristo Stoichkov touched it to Jose Maria Bakero. Bakero touched it to Ronaldo Koeman. And Koeman lashed it home superbly.
Finally, Barca were to touch the European Cup.

They said

“When we scored that goal, all I remember thinking was please, please Barca don’t lose your mind. I knew if my players hung on to theirs we would win.” Manager Johan Cruyff

“It was the most important goal of my life. There are Barcelona fans all over the world who still remind me about it.” Koeman

“It was a special victory because it was such a long time coming.” Cruyff

“Barca is no longer simply ‘more than a club’ – it has become the best club in Europe.” Mayor Pasqual Maragall at the club’s official presentation

What it meant That, after 37 years of waiting and watching their closest rivals rack up six trophies, one of Europe’s most storied clubs had finally won the continent’s greatest prize. Moreover, Johan Cruyff’s fantastic Dream Team was properly fulfilled.

 

38. Bayern build from the back

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vwjqteaj4U

Bayern Munich 1-1 Atletico Madrid, Heysel
European Cup final, 15 May 1974

The moment After a staid European Cup final and a generally unconvincing campaign, Bayern looked to have finally been beaten in the 114th minute of the showpiece. Luis Aragones had just curled in a brilliant free-kick to surely win the game and give Atletico Madrid their first European Cup rather than Bayern. Except, as the entire season had illustrated, Bayern were nothing if not resilient. Pouring forward in the final moments, the ball eventually fell to Georg Schwarzenbeck. It was hardly ideal given that the centre-half was normally the most withdrawn and defensive player in the team, with a paltry goal record.

In the most pressing moment, though, Scwharzenbeck produced. From about 25 yards, he fired in a low, powerful shot that skidded off the turf and into the bottom corner. Bayern were still in the European Cup.

They said

“I got the ball and I saw Schwarzenbeck going forward as the Atletico Madrid players were dropping back into their own half. So I passed the ball to him and shouted shoot’!” Beckenbauer

What it meant That Bayern would go on to win the European Cup final’s only ever replay 4-0 as well as embarking on the competition’s third and last three-in-a-row.

The unlikely manner of the eventual victory – a defender scoring a long-range screamer in the last minute – would also foreshadow the fortuitous nature in which Bayern would secure those trophies, as well as the resilience which made it possible. In 1975 against Leeds, Bayern only won thanks to a dubious penalty and even more controversial offside call. In 1976, Saint Etienne repeatedly hit the woodwork. In 1974, though, Schwarzenbeck made sure to hit the right side of it.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Tommy Smith’s goal for Liverpool in the 1977 European Cup final; Lilian Thuram’s double for France in the 1998 World Cup semi-final

 

37. Liverpool overturn St Etienne

Liverpool 3-1 Saint Etienne (3-2 agg), Anfield
European Cup quarter-final second leg; 16 March 1977

The moment The Kop was rocking. But then Liverpool had been badly rocked.

Having been thoroughly outclassed in the 1-0 first-leg defeat to the previous season’s finalists, Saint Etienne, few gave Liverpool a chance of progression. And that prediction looked like being proved accurate as, although Kevin Keegan levelled the tie just two minutes into the return, Dominique Bathenay hit a stunning away goal on 50 minutes. Two strikes were now needed. And, given the scale of the task, a miracle.

With Anfield absolutely roaring, though, the trumpets were sounded.

First, Bob Paisley left his seat in the director’s box and made his way to the dug-out to re-assess the situation with Joe Fagan. He ordered David Fairclough – who had already developed a penchant for scoring important goals as a sub – to warm up.

Then, Ray Kennedy hit back on the hour.

But Liverpool still toiled for another 24 minutes with no reward. The game ebbed and flowed. Saint Etienne were always threatening. It didn’t look like it was going to happen. The European Cup would still elude Anfield.

Until, with six minutes left, Fairclough eluded the Saint Etienne defence. Bursting onto a long ball forward and powering past Christian Lopez, the striker slipped the ball home for the most crucial goal of his career.

Anfield erupted. And kept on shaking.

They said

“The atmosphere got better and better as the game wore on. It was the only game in which I found it difficult to focus solely on the football. When the ball was up the other end of the pitch I couldn’t help but look up in amazement at the crowd. The whole stadium seemed to be me moving… You couldn’t better that night.” Phil Neal

“Once Bathenay scored St Etienne’s goal, I – like many – thought that perhaps the French had a little too much for us because they were a special side.” Fairclough

“I never had any doubt about it – I knew I could score… It was a terrific feeling. The amazing thing is, it seemed so quiet as I homed in on the target but when the ball hit the back of the net the noise was just unbelievable.” Fairclough

“In the 10 years I have been here I have never known anything like it. I have played in front of 130,000 for England, but the noise and enthusiasm didn’t compare with this.” Paisley

“St Etienne were probably the best team in Europe at that time and after beating them we all felt we could go on and win the European Cup.” Ray Clemence

What it meant That Liverpool would go on to finally win their first European Cup and start a run of four in eight seasons. Moreover, the winning machine that they became under Paisley was properly set in motion that night in the most wondrous fashion. As Clemence alludes, beating one of the best teams in Europe gave Liverpool an enormous belief that would effectively last and perpetuate itself for almost 15 years.

Off the pitch, the sound and the ferocity of the night would also give Anfield an international reputation for electric atmospheres. As the fans belted out ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ and ‘Que Sera, Sera’, the French commentators present remarked how they couldn’t believe their ears. That legacy would prove even more lasting than the illustrious period of success.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Saint Etienne 3-0 Dynamo Kyiv, 1975-76; Barcelona 3-0 Gothenburg, 19865-86; Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea, 2004-05; Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool, 2008-09

 

36. Sacchi’s sweetest moment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAebZawKgn8

Milan 4-0 Steaua Bucharest, Camp Nou
European Cup final, 24 May 1989

The moment Ruud Gullit hadn’t been properly fit in weeks. Milan hadn’t won their domestic title. And, most importantly, they hadn’t won the European Cup in 20 years. Indeed, until the semi-finals of the 1988-89 campaign, they had generally been unconvincing.
But you would have guessed none of that as they took to the Camp Nou pitch.

In a performance that was one of the most perfect fulfilments of Arrigo Sacchi’s dynamic new attacking philosophy, Milan absolutely destroyed 1986 champions Steaua Bucharest from first moment to last. Gullit and the magnificent Marco van Basten hit two each in an utterly overwhelming display.

They said

“From the first minute, we played our best football. It was a demonstration of the great confidence we had gained.” Mauro Tassotti

“I was exhausted by the end. In all my life I’d never had so many shots to deal with.” Steaua goalkeeper Silviu Lung

“If there is such a thing as a perfect performance, this was it.” Mauro Tassotti

“The morning after we beat Steaua Bucharest I woke up with a feeling I have never experienced since. I had this unusual, sweet taste in my mouth. I realised it was the apotheosis of my life’s work.” Sacchi

What it meant Over the past few decades, there have actually been very few distinct and defining tactical philosophies. Most managers tend to borrow from a number of them to form their own improvised system. To a degree, of course, this is exactly what Sacchi did. But such were the extremities of his approach that he is one of the few tacticians to significantly alter the history of football. Certainly, the success of his philosophy completely altered attitudes in Serie A and ushered in the much more aggressive, abrasive football of the ’90s.

And there were few occasions when the system proved so successful as in the 1989 European Cup final.

However, the fact it only secured a single Serie A title and two European Cups over four years is no coincidence.

Essentially, the approach was so demanding that it proved exceptionally difficult to consistently execute to the maximum. Sacchi, however, ensured that tended to happen on the most important nights.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United, 2009; Spain 1-0 Germany, 2010 World Cup semi-final; Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United, 2011

 

35. Ajax show Bayern who the real bosses are

Ajax 4-0 Bayern Munich, Olympic Stadium
European Cup quarter-final first leg, 7 Match 1973

The moment Two templates of the same style, two of the greatest sides in the history of European football… but, on this occasion, only one emphatic winner.

Given that the Bayern-dominated West German team were starting to monopolise international football and Ajax were in the midst of monopolising continental club football, this could have been billed as a battle for the past, present and future.

Except Ajax quickly proved that all of that would be played on their terms. In one of the team’s finest displays, the defending European champions eviscerated the Germans. As an illustration of the Dutch dominance, a Bayern team that had scored 20 goals in the previous two rounds kept most of their players camped around the box.

That approach meant it took Arie Haan 53 minutes to open the scoring. But, thereafter, the levy broke. As Gerry Muhren later said, “it was more than a goal, it was a dam breaking. They were afraid. We could see it in their eyes.”

Very soon, everyone else could see it on the pitch. Muhren scored a magnificent volley that, infamously, Dutch cameras faled to catch before Haan got his second and Johan Cruyff wrapped things up.

They said

“A few months earlier we had beaten them 5-0 in a friendly in Munich and they didn’t exactly enjoy it. At 5-0, we decided to stop. It was enough.” Gerry Muhren

“We killed them physically.” Ruud Krol

“Bayern follow their game plan exceptionally well. After all, you can’t expect them to play attacking football in Amsterdam.” West German manager Helmut Schoen, analysing the game on TV

“Never since have I lost like that. It is the worst defeat of my career. I had to mark Johan Cruyff, so can you imagine how down I was after the game?” Bayern midfielder Franz Roth

“I was constantly having flashbacks of a game I knew I could never forget. The lessons Ajax taught would be heeded all over the world.” Former French defender Robert Budzynski in L’Equipe

“That game will remain one of the best ever by Ajax. We were at the top of our glory and we were transcended by the support of a whole nation, the whole European football community. Our style was admired by everybody. And even if that Bayern team had guts and talent we knew that we would keep up with them without a problem. Everybody wanted us to go through. That is why that victory was so important.” Johan Cruyff

What it meant Most immediately, that Ajax would become the first team since Real Madrid to win the European Cup three times in a row and secure their transcendent legacy. Moreover, the victory also proved that Ajax had no equal. The only reason that they didn’t prolong their domination was because, partly bored by success, the nucleus of the team disbanded with Cruyff – in particular – leaving for Barcelona.

And, as if to emphasise that point, it was the humiliated Bayern that stepped into the vacuum. They would go on to repeat Ajax’s feat of three in a row in a much less resounding fashion. Many of their players, however, claimed that the embarrassment of that defeat hardened them for the seasons and successes ahead.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Ajax 5-2 Bayern Munich, 1995; Juventus 1-0 Manchester United, 1996

 

34. Figo alters the Galactic order

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF4zQkfW2BE

Luis Figo signs for Real Madrid
Spanish league, 25 July 2000

The moment It was the point at which the relentless pre-season Spanish media circus definitively stopped moving.

The most beloved and famous player in the Barcelona squad had defected to Real Madrid in an unprecedented world-record £42m transfer.
Sure, other players had moved between the clubs before. But never quite like this. Never so out of the blue. Never without some form of discord which pushed the player out – as with Michael Laudrup.

In particular, Barca fans never quite expected betrayal from this player. And Luis Figo looked almost sheepish when a camera caught up with him parked in his car shortly after the transfer was announced.

In truth, it was something of a gamble on the Portuguese’s part. Figo had struck a deal with Florentino Perez whereby, if the businessman became Real president in that summer’s elections, he would make the move once Madrid had enacted a buy-out clause in his contract. But, given that the presiding president Lorenzo Sanz had been involved with the club for so long and had just overseen the conquest of two Champions League seasons in three years, Perez seemed no more than an outsider.

The public announcement of the Figo “deal” in the build-up, however, proved a trump card. Sanz was forced out of office. And Figo was forced out of Barcelona.

Chaos ensued. Not least at Camp Nou when the two clubs met in December.

They said

“It’s cheap at the price.” Roy Keane on the world-record fee

“Everything here has stopped at the moment… but I will not let Barcelona down.” Barcelona president Joan Gaspart

“We hate you so much because we loved you so much.” Banner at Camp Nou for the season’s first Clasico

What it meant much more than a world record fee and a pig’s head.

For a start, the nature of the transfer escalated the rivalry between the clubs to levels that had been unseen for years, particularly given the manner in which Valencia and Deportivo had started to impinge on their assumed dominance. And, as well as deepening the political intrigue between the clubs, it would also have an effect on the politics within them. Many future presidential candidates from both clubs would copy Perez’s strategy, not least Joan Laporta at Barca three years later with the Ronaldinho-Beckham saga.

Indeed, that would be the most lasting effect of the transfer: the manner in which it deeply affected both club’s future philosophies.

At Madrid, infamously, it would signal the start of the Galactico era as well as the apparent peak of the Champions League’s obsession with money and bombastically buying big.

And, although the lopsided approach would eventually prove unsustainable in terms of consistent success, its initial victories did force Barcelona to completely reassess their strategy and more consciously return to their roots. That summer, Joan Gaspart notoriously squandered the Figo money on a series of flops, with the period representing a nadir for the club. Three years later, with Real bringing in Beckham, new Barca president Joan Laporta would address the supporters with the following speech:

“We are working hard with young players, and soon there will be more from our youth divisions. At the same time we study the football market and if we identify a player who can improve the team then we will invest in them. We have the resources to buy the best, but we don’t want to buy a player if we have an emerging equivalent in our B side.”

Similar moments that didn’t make it Silvio Berlusconi takes over AC Milan, 1985; Roman Abramovich takes over Chelsea, 2003; Robinho goes to Manchester City, 2008

 

33. Di Stefano goes to Real Madrid

Alfredo Di Stefano signs for Real Madrid
Spanish league, 15 September 1953

The moment In May of 1953, life wasn’t exactly regal for Real Madrid. They hadn’t won any trophy in six years. They hadn’t won the Spanish title in 20. And, worse, a brilliant Barca team were on the verge of their second league victory in two years.

Then came potential doomsday news. Barcelona had struck a deal with River Plate to bring football’s hottest property, Alfredo Di Stefano, to the Camp Nou.

For President Bernabeu, whose visions of creating the greatest power in European football had so far proven as empty as the trophy cabinet in the newly-built stadium named in his honour, this was a nightmare situation. And simply couldn’t be allowed to happen. Luckily for him, certain state officials apparently agreed.

And, even more luckily, there was a window of opportunity.

Since Di Stefano had actually gone outside Fifa’s jurisdiction to avail of the riches of the then disenfranchised Colombian league with Millonarios, Barca had to wait until his contract there was up in 1954 to complete the deal.

Meanwhile, Real did their best to destroy it. First of all, astutely spotting such an odd discrepancy, Real circumvented Barca’s arrangement by striking a deal with Millonarios.

Then, they got help from friends in high places. Bernabeu’s old friend, the newly-promited Spanish minister for sport General Moscardo, passed a remarkable temporarily law banning further importation of foreign players.

In limbo then having already travelled to Barcelona in May 1953, Di Stefano ‘enjoyed’ regular visits from Real officials. A frequent topic of those visits was Kubala’s role in Barcelona, with the officials implying the town wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Di Stefano could have Madrid to himself though.

With the situation at an impasse, Barca president Marti Carreto travelled to Madrid to negotiate with both the Spanish federation and Real. After hours of tortuous negotiation, he agreed to release Di Stefano so long as the Argentine went to Juventus. It was only after Carreto left, however, that Moscardo then suggested the idea of ‘sharing’ the player. Real would have him for the 1953-54 and 1955-56 seasons, Barca for the 1954-55 and 1956-57. Backed into a corner, Carreto eventually put his signature beside Bernabeu’s on 15 September 1953. It was to be one of his last acts as Barca president. Within a week, he was forced to resign because of the level of rancour in Catalonia. Equally apoplectic, the interim board tore up the deal in disgust. A compensation fee of 5.5m pesetas was awarded.

The eventual price paid would be much, much higher for Barca though.

They said

“This guy smells of football.” Bernabeu after his first meeting with Di Stefano

“When I arrived in Barcelona from South America that May, no one knew whether I was to play there or for Real Madrid. They both claimed to have bought me. At one stage, there was even talk of loaning me to Juventus. I got fed up with it all. I told Barcelona I was getting the next flight back to Buenos Aires. But then in September, Santiago Bernabeu, the Real president, pulled some strings somewhere, so I went to Madrid.” Di Stefano offers an exceptionally simplistic version of events

“It all starts with Alfredo. I’d say he was the beginning of everything. That’s how we became famous all over the world. Real Madrid: a winning team.” Real Madrid defender Pachin

What it meant Undoubtedly the most important transfer in football history. It altered the course of Spanish football. It altered the course of the European Cup. And it effectively created Real Madrid as the most successful and prestigious club in the game’s history.
Di Stefano’s influence – both when it came to the minutiae of the pitch and the major moves off it – transformed Real as an institution. Within a year of his arrival they won the title. Within two years, they had won the first European Cup and embarked on a run that still remains a record.

After Di Stefano, Real would break many more.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Eric Cantona signs for Manchester United, 1993; Ronaldinho signs for Barcelona, 2003

 

32. Kostadinov fires France out

France 1-2 Bulgaria, Parc des Princes
World Cup qualifier, 17 November 1993

The moment All France had to do was keep the ball in the corner. With the clock ticking into the 45th minute, they may have already seen Emil Kostadinov cancel out Eric Cantona’s opener but were surely on the verge of a first World Cup in eight years.

Bulgaria, after all, had been an effective team who had pushed them hard behind Sweden. But hardly one capable of alchemy. Not when the exquisite David Ginola – a 69th-minute sub for the exhausted Jean-Pierre Papin – had the ball near the corner flag.

Except, rather than retain possession, the winger played a wild cross over Cantona’s head.

Suddenly, with 23 seconds left, full-back Emil Kremenliev was surging up the pitch. Three quick passes later and Lubo Penev was looking for another option. He saw Emil Kostadinov careering towards the box. And lofted the ball forward.

In a spectacular movement that only saw its blistering pace matched by its precision, Kostadinov controlled the ball in his stride before walloping an unstoppable half-volley in off the bar.

France were devastated. Bulgaria jubilant.

They said

“The worst defeat of my life.” Eric Cantona

“God is Bulgarian!” A screaming TV commentator

“The French were so scared they played with their buttocks clenched. We knew that’s how they would be and our tactics were based on that. They played for a draw and never went looking for a win. They didn’t deserve to qualify and we hit them where it hurt most.” Stoichkov

“[Ginola] sent an Exocet missile through the heart of French football. He committed a crime against the team, I repeat: a crime against the team.” Departing manager Gerard Houllier offers a bitter parting shot but also starts a feud that persists to the present day

What it meant Most immediately, that Bulgaria would become one of the most exhilarating teams at the 1994 World Cup. Having never previously won a match at the tournament before, they would unexpectedly reach the semi-finals by claiming a bigger scalp in defending champions Germany along the way.

In the long-term, France would start the painful but ultimately joyous path to the 1998 World Cup. Although the famous Clairefontaine academy had already opened five years before the Bulgaria defeat, that result would make the French federation ensure that all of the avenues leading to the national team’s performances were streamlined by the time their tournament came around. Seven years after Kostadinov struck that goal, France had become one of the finest teams of all time by winning a double of World Cup and European Championship.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Bulgaria beat Germany, USA 94; Croatia beat Germany, France 98; Czech Republic beat Germany, Euro 2004

 

31. The Clasico’s first famous five

Real Madrid 5-0 Barcelona, Bernabeu
Spanish league, 25 October 1953

The moment Alfredo Di Stefano hadn’t even been a Real Madrid player for a month. But then this performance only underlined that his influence on the club was to be instant, emphatic and extreme. Within 10 minutes of his first ever Clasico, he poked home his first ever goal against Barcelona by finishing a swift passing move.

Within 40, he had been instrumental in every Real goal as they raced into a 4-0 lead through two from Roque Olsen and another from Luis Molowny.

And, by the 85th, Di Stefano appropriately wrapped up a resounding 5-0 win.

They said

“The most perfect of scorelines. One for every finger on the hand.” Spanish media

What it meant In the context of that campaign, that Real Madrid would depose Barcelona as Spanish champions. In the context of history, that Di Stefano would drive them to eventually completely overshadow Barca in terms of trophies.

And, in the context of the Clasico, that 5-0 would become a mythic score – more perfect and resounding than any other result. Since then, there have been four further victories by that score, with every one of them coming at – and also exacerbating – apparent fault-lines in Spanish football history.

Similar moments that didn’t make it Real Madrid 5-0 Barcelona, 1994-95

 

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96 comments
FrankLovett
FrankLovett

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FrankLovett
FrankLovett

Enhance to be a soccer striker! That makes you a good striker. Soccer training has helped in improving the game is that the exercises and practices carried out in such trainings.

mink
mink

Gerrie Muhren 1973 Real Madrid-Ajax 0-1 "keepie-uppie"

 

thefootballfan
thefootballfan

u missed bulgaria win over germany in the world cup.

thefootballfan
thefootballfan

what about did it cross the line this time for england

ApoorvGupta
ApoorvGupta

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.

JordanPratt1
JordanPratt1

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

Ewan MacKenna
Ewan MacKenna

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

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.

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.

NathanBarnes
NathanBarnes

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

Manicowl
Manicowl

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...?

adamrhbrown
adamrhbrown

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
Meerkat

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

PadraigOHooligan
PadraigOHooligan

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.

footballistico
footballistico

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.

Miguel Delaney
Miguel Delaney

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?

jimm1y
jimm1y

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

Big Fat Ronaldo
Big Fat Ronaldo

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

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.

adamabyss
adamabyss

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

MDelaneyST
MDelaneyST 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!

Meerkat
Meerkat

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

adamrhbrown
adamrhbrown

@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).

MDelaneyST
MDelaneyST 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!

adamrhbrown
adamrhbrown

@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.

adamabyss
adamabyss

@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
MDelaneyST 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).

Golden Ball
Golden Ball

 @MDelaneyST  @Meerkat good decision not to include Hillsborough, Heysel and Munich. Just wondering why King Kennys winner against Brugge in 78 wasnt included. It was significant. Cheers!

Golden Ball
Golden Ball

 @adamrhbrown  @Meerkat The replay against Forest could have been Included as well. And speaking about Liverpool...The 88 season game against Forest, the 5-0 demolition was huge.

BenjaminBildeBoelsmand
BenjaminBildeBoelsmand

@MDelaneyST@BenjaminBildeBoelsmand 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!

adamabyss
adamabyss

@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.