The Greatest Moments in Football History

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Football is widely considered the most popular sport in the world. There are around 4 billion people worldwide who love it, follow it, play it, write about it and so on and so forth. Because of this long-lasting tradition and passionate fanbase, there are many amazing memories that created the history of football as we know it.

To celebrate this tradition, in this article, we will provide a series of unforgettable moments—perfect for every football fan to remember—as they are absolute milestones for the sport, and they should be remembered for as long as possible.

The Miracle of Istanbul and Maradona's Hand of God

In 2005, Liverpool FC played against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul. AC Milan was the clear favourite, as it won the same competition six times previously. Liverpool was widely considered the underdog, and the game started disastrously for them. Milan scored three goals in the first half and looked to have had their hands already on the trophy. In an unforgettable second-half comeback, Liverpool scored three goals in six minutes and levelled the game by the 61st minute. After a scoreless extra time, it was Liverpool who prevailed 3-2 in a nailbiting penalty shootout. Not too shabby for a team that had low Premier League outright odds and finished fifth in their domestic league.

In 1986, Argentina and England were playing a 0-0 match, which soon became the stage for one of the most controversial goals in the history of football. Argentine (left-handed) legend Diego Maradona scored a goal that would soon become known as the "Hand of God." Maradona elevated for a header but instead punched the ball into the net with his left hand.

The referee did not spot the infringement and with video assistant referee (VAR) still many years from being invented, the goal was allowed to stand. This was an absolute game-changer for Argentina, but not the only memorable moment from the match. In the same game, Maradona scored one of the greatest World Cup goals ever. Unfortunately, the Hand of God is what most people remember about the match.

Zidane's World Cup Final Goal and the Goal That Never Happened

It was 2006 when the iconic World Cup game between France and Italy occurred. Just seven minutes in, Zidane converted a penalty and gave Les Bleus the early lead. The drama continued when twelve minutes later, Italy equalized with a fantastic header by Marco Materazzi.

Deep into extra time, the anticipation was building with penalties looming. In the 110th minute, Zidane seemingly lost his mind and delivered a shocking headbutt straight into the chest of Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Zidane was immediately shown a red card and sent off. Minutes later, France prevailed 5-3 in the shootout. Tragically, Zidane is remembered more today by the headbutt than by his exceptional football play.

In 1966, the World Cup Final took place between England and West Germany. The score was tied 2-2, and in extra time, England striker Geoff Hurst blasted a shot off the crossbar that bounced down onto the goal line. The referee awarded the goal, even though many protests arose from German players. England went on to win the game 4-2 and Hurst became the first man to ever score a hat trick in a World Cup Final.

Messi's Goal of the Century and Brazil's Victory of 1970

In 2007, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored what many football fans consider the goal of the century. The 19-year-old Messi picked the ball up near midfield and single-handedly broke down the Getafe defence. It was a dribbling clinic unlike anything seen before. Messi masterfully navigated through traffic and dribbled past the goalkeeper before slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Let's finish this list with another great moment in history, the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, where Brazil—led by the legendary Pele and an inspired Seleção squad—defeated Italy. By playing with a uniquely Brazillian style that was both beautiful and effective, Pele's team danced their way to a 4-1 victory and cemented Brazil's status as one of the greatest footballing nations of all time.