Football fans are in for a treat if the next decade comes anywhere close to producing the type of extraordinary matches we’ve witnessed over the last 10 years. With the decade coming to a close, BetaSoccer takes a look at the top 10 matches from the 2010s:
10. USA 4, Canada 3 (2012)
The wild women’s semifinal at the 2012 Olympics may go down in history as one of the best matches ever played.
Canada and the United States put on a show for the crowd at Old Trafford, as the two sides battled for a place in the gold-medal game.
With Canada leading 3-2 with under 20 minutes remaining, a controversial series of events saw the Americans tie the match with a penalty. The Canadians were incensed, but it only got worse for them. U.S. star Alex Morgan’s dramatic extra-time goal in the 122nd minute helped the eventual gold medalists advance with a 4-3 victory that won’t soon be forgotten.
9. Tottenham 3, Ajax 2 (2019)
Mauricio Pochettino’s halftime speech during the second leg of this Champions League semifinal must’ve been epic; Tottenham went into the interval down 3-0 on aggregate against an inspired Ajax squad that was in the midst of a seemingly unstoppable Cinderella run.
After going down 2-0 in the opening 45 minutes in Amsterdam, Lucas Moura came to Tottenham’s rescue with a second-half hat-trick, securing the north London side’s passage to the Champions League final. As the Brazilian wheeled away in celebration, Ajax players crumbled to the pitch in disbelief.
8. LA Galaxy 4, LAFC 3 (2018)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his arrival in Major League Soccer with a performance for the ages in 2018.
The Swedish forward, predictably, took center stage during the first-ever edition of El Trafico with a ludicrous goal from about 40 yards out to bring the LA Galaxy level with crosstown rivals LAFC. He wasn’t done there.
Ibrahimovic followed that up by winning the match with a header in stoppage time, capping an incredible comeback that saw the Galaxy overturn a 3-0 deficit in the second half.
7. Chelsea 2, Barcelona 2 (2012)
All signs were pointing to Chelsea’s Champions League journey ending at the hands of a Barcelona side overflowing with talent in 2012.
Despite winning the first leg 1-0, Chelsea’s hopes of reaching the final were beginning to fade when Barcelona jumped out to a 2-0 first-half lead at the Camp Nou.
Ultimately, Chelsea managed to hold off Barca’s potent attack before Fernando Torres scored the game-winner in a match that ended up being Pep Guardiola’s final Champions League game as manager of the Catalan giants.
6. Manchester City 4, Tottenham 3 (2019)
Admirers of attacking football got their fix when Manchester City hosted Tottenham in the quarterfinal of the Champions League last season.
The contest got off to a blistering start, as the two sides were level at two apiece after just 11 minutes of action. But after Sergio Aguero gave the hosts a 4-3 lead on aggregate, City looked as though they were on their way to the penultimate round of the tournament.
In the end, it wasn’t meant to be for Pep Guardiola’s men, as Fernando Llorente capped off the thriller with a tally that gave Spurs the edge on away goals. In a game that offered constant drama, VAR ruled out a last-gasp Raheem Sterling goal that would’ve won the tie for City. Fitting, really, that video review played a prominent role in a defining match of 2019.
5. Liverpool 4, Barcelona 0 (2019)
Liverpool’s miracle comeback at Anfield will go down as one of the greatest moments in Champions League history.
All signs were pointing to Jurgen Klopp’s men bowing out of last season’s competition after getting battered by Barcelona in the first leg of their semifinal clash at the Camp Nou. However, in a match that defied all logic, Liverpool overcame the odds to erase the 3-0 deficit before Divock Origi got on the end of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s clever corner, knocking out a shell-shocked Barca team.
Although Liverpool went on to hoist their sixth European trophy after beating Tottenham in the final, it was the mesmerizing night at Anfield we’ll remember most from their title-winning run.
4. Real Madrid 4, Atletico Madrid 1 (2014)
Atletico Madrid were seconds away from winning their first Champions League title while simultaneously extending their bitter rivals’ wait for the 10th European crown they so desperately wanted.
And then disaster struck for Atleti in the 2014 final.
After Real Madrid’s efforts to find an equalizer were denied, Los Blancos finally broke through in the third minute of stoppage time courtesy of a Sergio Ramos header.
The goal seemed to light a fire under Carlo Ancelotti’s men, as they went on to dominate Atletico, scoring another three goals in extra time en route to winning La Decima. The 4-1 scoreline flattered their performance, but Ramos’ goal paved the way for the historic triumph.
3. Barcelona 6, PSG 1 (2017)
Nobody gave Barcelona a chance after the Catalan giants were drubbed 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tilt against Paris Saint Germain in 2017. How could they possibly come back?
Luis Suarez opened the scoring just three minutes into the second leg before an own goal and a Lionel Messi penalty restored hope at the Camp Nou. But after an Edinson Cavani goal, the task once again seemed impossible; Barca had less than 30 minutes to score three times.
That’s when Neymar – not Messi, for once – took over. The Brazilian scored a stunning free-kick in the 88th minute, jolting Barcelona back to life. He made it 5-5 on aggregate with a stoppage-time penalty, and then teed up Sergi Roberto for the 95th-minute winner, completing a comeback that will be talked about in the Catalan capital for generations to come.
2. Germany 7, Brazil 1 (2014)
Lifting football’s most coveted trophy on home soil was Brazil’s only objective during the 2014 World Cup. In the eyes of Selecao fans, it was their destiny.
But Germany had other plans in a surreal semifinal in Belo Horizonte, as Joachim Low’s side absolutely dismantled the five-time champion to produce one of the most shocking results in World Cup history. Seven goals. You couldn’t make it up.
As the German goals continued to flow, so did the tears from Brazilian fans, who were equal parts stunned, crushed, and angry. It ended up being the most emotional of nights in Brazil, just not quite the way the nation expected.
1. Manchester City 3, QPR 2 (2012)
Hollywood’s finest couldn’t have scripted a more gut-wrenching and dramatic end to the 2011-12 Premier League campaign.
The stage was set for Manchester City to clinch their first top-flight crown since 1968 when they hosted a Queens Park Rangers side battling relegation on the final day of the season. However, Roberto Mancini’s men found themselves in danger of letting the Premier League title slip away to rivals Manchester United when QPR appeared to be on the verge of a massive upset.
But a relentless attack eventually wiped out fears of a collapse for the ages, as Sergio Aguero followed up Edin Dzeko’s equalizer with one of the most dramatic moments in football history – in the 94th-minute, he scored the game-winner to send the Etihad Stadium into a state of delirium.
Martin Tyler’s iconic commentary of the goal – “Aguerooooo” – still gives you goosebumps.