By - Victor Kekereekun
The end of 2019 marked the end of a decade. There were plenty brilliant and memorable moments in the world of sports over the last Decade, with underdog champions, heavyweight showdown, dominance, instances of genius and late drama in title games.
It’d be impossible to recap the entire happenings in sports that you can think in the last decade in this piece. In no particular order, this is why we have carefully selected the top 10 we thought we’d look back at.
At the 2014 World Cup, Germany shocked the world by defeating host nation Brazil 7–1. Germany went on to win the tournament, while
Brazilian soccer was defined by the loss for the rest of the decade. An Olympic gold medal for Brazil two years later barely softened the blow.
Germany played well in the semi-final, but Brazil was disgraceful the entire game, and they found themselves down by five goals in the first 30 minutes. Brazil came into the tournament as both the favourites and the host nation, and their collapse cemented this match as one of soccer’s greatest upsets ever.
In one of the most unlikely triumphs in the history of football, Leicester City won the Premier League title for the first time ever. Leceister came into the season more concerned with avoiding relegation to the second-tier league than their 5000/1 odds of winning the league.
Leicester accomplished this incredible feat with emphasis on the ‘team-first’ mentality, counter-attacking style of play and collective team commitment.
Since its formation in 1992, only six other teams had won the English Premier League, all with enough money to blow smaller clubs like Leicester out of the water. This is why Leicester’s triumph against all odds will go down as perhaps the most surprising moment in English football.
For better or for worse, Mayweather-McGregor was the biggest fight of the decade in terms of interest, pay-per-view buys, and purse.
Albeit, Mayweather eventually won with a 10th-round TKO against mixed martial kickboxer – McGregor – yet both fighters leaving with the biggest paychecks of their lives leaves a memorable moment to reckon with.
Liverpool didn’t seem to have much of a chance heading into the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.
After losing the first leg at Camp Nou in a 3-0 scoreline, the Reds needed a 4-0 victory to sneak into the final of the European competition.
Still, manager Jurgen Klopp instructed his players to play with everything they had, to “fail in the most beautiful way” even if making a final appearance seemed unachievable. They would do better than that – thanks to a pair of goals each from Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi, Liverpool pulled off the stunning comeback and would go on to defeat Tottenham in the final to lift the Champions League trophy for the first time since 2005.
No doubt the biggest upset in heavyweight boxing in a generation, Andy Ruiz Jr. shocked the world when he bested Anthony Joshua in June 2019 . Even though Ruiz Jr. would fall in the rematch a few months later, yet it can’t really take away from his monumental victory.
Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams in straight sets to win the U.S. Open in September of 2018, becoming the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament.
The match was noteworthy in that it marked a generational shift in the tennis world, as the 20-year-old Osaka denied Williams, 36, her 24th Grand Slam championship. The final was also known for Williams’ explosive reaction for being penalized by a referee for receiving coaching.
On the final match day of the Premier League season in 2012, Manchester City needed only to defeat a relegation-bound QPR side to win the league. But in the 66th minute, disaster struck, with QPR scoring to take a 2-1 lead and send panic into the hearts of City supporters. At the start of stoppage time, City was given a lifeline thanks to a goal from Edin Dzeko, but still needed one more goal to win the league.
Then the moment surfaced. Sergio Aguero worked his magic, scoring a dazzling goal in the desperate final seconds to win the title.
It’s as dramatic an ending as you can find in the beautiful game of football. The victory was City’s first Premier League title in 44 years.
Tiger Woods overcame years of injuries, multiple surgeries – that led many to believe he would never truly compete again, much less win – and the controversy surrounding his personal life to win the 2019 Masters.
Until Woods’ triumph at Augusta, he had not won a major since 2008 and had not won the Masters since 2005. With his fifth Masters triumph, the 43-year-old Woods has 15 major victories and trails all-time leader Jack Nicklaus by three.
Unlike his prior 14 major wins, Woods’ victory at the Masters was the first time he had to rally to win a major. Previously, Woods was either tied or ahead going into the last round.
Nothing could recompense Ghana’s dramatic loss in South Africa in 2010 – the last African side at the World Cup, for the sporting injustice wreaked on them by Luis Suarez, Uruguay’s unofficial goalkeeper.
And of course, nothing will end the nightmare of Asamoah Gyan, whose penalty then struck the bar.
Luis Suarez stopped Dominic Adiyiah’s goalbound header that would have seen Ghana beat Uruguay in the quarter-finals and make history as the very first African side to make a semi-final appearance.
It was not FIFA’s fault that Gyan squandered a wonderful chance to put his country through. The referee did everything he could under the laws, dismissing the Uruguayan and awarding Ghana a last-minute penalty.
When Gyan missed, Suarez’s jubilant reaction confirmed the cynical nature of his deed. “The truth is,” said the Ajax striker, “it was worth it.”
In 2014, LeBron James made the decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, trying to win the team he began his career with their first title ever. They came close in 2015, losing in the finals to the Golden State Warriors 4-2, a series in which James put on an impressive performance. But that series would be topped one year later, when the same teams were back at it for a second final in a row.
This victory marked the first time that the Cavaliers had won a title, and the first title for the city of Cleveland in any major sport in 52 years.
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