Greatest Moments in Soccer History

No matter where soccer is played, and despite the stage, you can be sure that there will always be some stellar moments to remember in multiple games every year. From insane scissor kicks and improbable comebacks to breathtaking saves and seemingly impossible odds surmounted, soccer is full of great moments.

In no real particular order, let’s rehash some of the greatest moments in soccer history.

Five Moments that Changed the Soccer World

One: Paolo Rossi’s Clincher

In the 1982 World Cup, Brazil was considered the dominant force and Italy was considered perhaps good enough to earn a lucky draw, which coincidentally would be enough to put them through to the third stage. Playing in the second stage of the tournament, in a weird three-team grouping, the stage was set for Brazil to dominate. But back from most of the year off due to suspension, Paolo Rossi had other plans.

Only five minutes into the game, Rossi blasted one home and completely changed the dynamic of the game. Brazil would answer, and answer again, and after tying the score at 2 all, it looked like things were even coming to the end. However, Brazil decided to go for the jugular, and this left their defense spread just thinly enough for Rossi to rocket through yet again to hit the game winner.

Two: The Berne Miracle

In the World Cup final in 1954, the game between West Germany and Hungary is one that will stand out for the rest of time. West Germany was looking completely defeated on the field, trailing Hungary 2-0, as everyone had trailed Hungary in recent memory. Adding insult to the injury, West Germany had already lost to the Hungarians 8-3 in an absolute route earlier in the tournament.

With six minutes left in the game, the Hungarians became too confident and West Germany slipped a goal through. Still playing ferociously and confidently, Hungary began pursuing more goals, only to allow their defense to lapse. Suddenly, West Germany slips another by, tying the score. Then, with little time left, the unthinkable happened – the juggernaut that was Hungary watched helplessly as West Germany kicked what would be the deciding goal: The miracle Berne had been waiting for.

Three: Brazil Cements Its Status

Today’s Brazilian team might be a force to be reckoned with, but some decades ago they were considered a cut-rate team. They would change this perception forever in the 1958 World Cup group stage. A team with the famous Pele on it, the Brazilians actually feared the Soviets, as the stage was set for a matchup of epic proportions: Brazil vs. USSR, with Brazil needing a win to advance.

Brazil decided that their speed would be their strength, and so Pele was turned loose in the game. Only a couple of minutes into the game, Pele smashed the bar and Brazil scored on a dime pass from Didi. The USSR team never knew what hit them. Brazil’s offense only put up 2 goals, but their speedy, bugaboo defense kept the Soviets out of the net for the entire game. After nearly 3 decades, this win would cement Brazil’s status as a born-again contender on the world stage.

Four: Maradona’s Magic

Few players in soccer history have impressed with footwork the way Diego Maradona did. Compared to the likes of Pele, Maradona was as sure as the sun in the open field. His impeccable ball handling would propel him through the history books in a classic World Cup matchup in 1986: Argentina vs. England.

With the score tied, most of the latter minutes were going very poorly for Argentina. They had let England back into the game, and they were playing horribly. Suddenly, Maradona grabbed the ball at his half and hit a double-pullback that left two of England’s players swatting at air. Making his way up the field, Maradona blew right past three more English players with swift, crafty, deceiving moves. With one player left to beat, Peter Shilton, Maradona drew back to shoot, faked the move, and left Shilton guarding the wrong side. Now it’s Diego and the goal to go. He only had to flick it into the net to earn the moniker of “God” and to give Argentina a 2-1 win.

Five: Carlos’ Craftiness

A game that wasn’t even close actually gave us one of the best World Cup moments in history. In 1970, as Brazil faced off against Italy in the final, Brazil was well ahead and stomping the Italians before Carlos Alberto pulled off what is perhaps the greatest move in soccer history. With an evasive move for the ages, he instantly sweeps past four Italians. Moving up the side and drawing defense, Carlos shoots a pass over to Pele, who’s at the box’s edge.

Pele, at this point in his career, had handles impressive enough to toy with the competition. And that’s what he did. He remained in total control of the ball, picking his moment for a pass that hit Alberto in perfect stride. With the grace and power of a lion, Carlos blasts the final goal past Italy while in full stride. The move seemed so incredibly orchestrated that it’s the goal and not the win that stands out in history.

There have been countless impressive moments throughout soccer’s long and storied history. The five mentioned above are just five great ones from the biggest world stage. Rest assured, however, that there are plenty more excellent moments out there.

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