The World Cup is the biggest soccer event on earth and rivals the Olympics for supremacy when it comes to the world’s greatest sports tournament. Every four years, the very best players and teams in the world come together for a chance to get their hands on the famous golden trophy.
As fans study the fixture list and the latest 2022 World Cup betting offers, many will also reflect on some of the great international and domestic fixtures of recent years. Every decade produces its share of drama and soccer stars, and the 2010s was no exception. Here are some of the best games to be played in that decade:
1. USA 4-3 Canada, 2012
The 2012 London Olympics produced plenty of famous sports moments, but few could rival what happened in the semi-final of the women’s soccer tournament between the USA and Canada, a game that will go down as one of the best ever.
The match took place at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, and was worthy of that famous arena. The USA have long been a dominant force in women’s soccer, but this time, they were pushed to the limit by a brave Canadian side.
With 20 minutes remaining, Canada held a 3-2 lead, but the USA earned a controversial penalty, which incensed the Canadian team. The penalty was scored to tie the game, and things took an even worse turn for Canada when Alex Morgan scored a winner in the 122nd minute.
2. Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid, 2014
The Champions League final was the occasion for one of the most remarkable comebacks of the decade, as two old rivals went head to head for the title of European champions.
Atletico led 1-0 as the end of normal time approached, and it seemed as though they were going to win their first Champions League trophy, at the same time denying Real their tenth.
But three minutes into stoppage time, a header from Sergio Ramos levelled the game. To have come so close but fallen short seemed to break Atletico, and in extra time, Carlo Ancelotti’s team took the advantage, scoring three more goals to clinch La Decima.
3. Germany 7-1 Brazil, 2014
It wasn’t supposed to end like this. When Brazil were announced as the hosts of the 2014 World Cup, it gave the nation a chance to put right one of the biggest disappointments in their football history: the 1950 final game defeat to Uruguay at the Maracanã Stadium, which cost them the World Cup.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s 2014 side was not the best Brazilian team ever to play in a World Cup, but they battled through to the semi-finals, where they were to meet Germany.
No European team had ever won a World Cup on South American soil, but that was about to change.
Joachim Löw’s Germany dismantled the host nation, scoring seemingly at will, registering a 7-1 victory – a score that is almost unheard of in major tournament modern football – and breaking Brazilian hearts.
4. Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers, 2012
The English Premier League has become globally famous for being an entertaining league in which surprises occur regularly, but it has rarely produced a finish like that of the 2011-12 season.
Manchester City, boosted by the apparently limitless coffers of their owners, were pushing to replace Manchester United at the top of the English football tree.
But they had not yet won a Premier League title. In their final game of the season, City simply had to beat relegation candidates QPR to win the trophy. But Jamie Mackie’s goal on 66 minutes gave QPR a 2-1 lead.
Manchester United fans were glued to their radios as they eagerly waited for news from the Etihad. Two minutes into injury time, Edin Džeko equalised for City, but they needed another goal to win the game and the title.
And then, in the 94th minute of the game, Sergio Agüero popped up to smash home the winner, deliver a title to Manchester City and inscribe his name in City folklore.
5. Barcelona 6-1 PSG, 2017
After being thrashed 4-0 in Paris, few gave Barcelona a chance of turning things around in the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie against PSG.
Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi scored for the Spanish giants, and a PSG own goal gave Barca hope, but Edinson Cavani got a goal back for PSG, and with only two minutes left on the clock, the tie looked over.
Enter Neymar. The Brazilian forward scored a brilliant free-kick before scoring a penalty in stoppage time and, at 95 minutes, set up Sergi Roberto to score the winner in an incredible game.
The game, known as the ‘Remontada’ is one of the most exciting soccer matches of the 21st century.