Table of Contents
Football has transformed a lot in the last three decades with the commercialization of the game, allowing new technology and several new areas to dominate world football, unlike the dominance of South America and Europe, which was prevalent in the sport throughout the 20th century.
South Korea and Morocco became the first-ever Asian and African nations, respectively to reach the semi-final stage of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and 2022 editions, respectively. If you want to download latest version of 1xbet apk, you can do it on the website https://1x-bet.cricket/.
In club football, fairytale stories are less heard of as big clubs with big money usually reach the last stages to fight for the ultimate trophy but teams like Leicester City still keep the essence of the sport alive by defying 5000:1 odds to lift the Premier League title once in a lifetime.
History’s Net Catchers
Football was adopted very early by South Americans and European nations, which resulted in 15 of the first 16 editions of the FIFA World Cup being hosted by the nations from CONMEBOL and UEFA.
All the winners and runners-up of the quadrennial tournament still hail from UEFA and CONMEBOL, but hosting rights being given to nations like South Africa, Qatar, Canada, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia allows the fans of all nations to watch and support their side in the flesh.
On July 30, 1930, hosts Uruguay were trailing Argentina 1-2 at half-time In the 1930 FIFA World Cup final before the trio of Pedro Cea, Santos Iriarte, and Hector Castro scored a goal each to help their nation lift the inaugural edition of the World Cup.
In 1966, hosts England lifted the World Cup for the first time as Sir Geoffrey Charles Hurst scored a hat-trick in the final of the tournament against West Germany with Helmut Haller scoring the first goal of the match in the 12th minute and Wolfgang Weber’s late equalizer which took the match into extra time allowing Hurst to complete his hat-trick.
In the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, the infamous Zinedine Zidane red card changed the trajectory of the fixture, allowing Italy to run away with the title.
The 2014 World Cup final was another affair that went into extra time as substitute Mario Gotze powered Germany to a 1-0 win against Lionel Messi’s Argentina, who lifted the trophy eight years later in Qatar.
Billions of people are regular watchers of the beautiful game, and the modern football scene employs a considerable number of the population, with new roles coming up as every season progresses with new introductions of technology.
The fans are what make the sport what it is, the most followed sport around the world with more than 200 countries a part of the six-confederation structure set up by FIFA. The fans have been witness to several great matches over the history of football. Let’s have a look at two of the best matches in modern football history.
The 1999 UEFA Champions League Final
In the 1998-99 season, Manchester United was on the verge of history after winning the Premier League courtesy of a 2-1 comeback win against Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the league season while defeating Newcastle United in the FA Cup final added a second trophy in the season’s cabinet with the treble awaiting.
In the way of the treble stood Bayern Munich, who had topped Group D earlier in the season ahead of Manchester United as Barcelona was knocked out from the Group of Death. The Red Devils defeated Serie A giants Inter Milan and Juventus en route to the final, while Bayern trounced fellow German club Kaiserslautern and Ukrainian powerhouse Dynamo Kyiv.
Mario Basler gave the German giants the lead in the sixth minute via a deflected free-kick, and the Munich-based club held the lead for 85 minutes, keeping the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, David Beckham, and Ryan Giggs quiet for the majority of the evening.
The German side hit the woodwork twice in the second half while substitutes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham were denied by Oliver Kahn multiple times.
Sheringham finally equalized after recycling a corner routine in the first minute of added time, while in the 93rd minute, Beckham’s corner was headed on by Sheringham and put in the back of the net by Solskjaer as the two substitutes helped United defeat Bayern 2-1 in the final.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup Final
With the onset of the next FIFA World Cup, the 48-team format will be applicable in the quadrennial tournament, making the 2022 FIFA World Cup the last of its kind. We saw several giant killings as 2014 World Cup winners Germany were knocked out by Japan while Morocco defeated 2016 Euros winners Portugal in the quarter-final.
Eventually, defending champions France and Argentina reached the final where the Argentines gave a tough fight to the France national team as Angel di Maria was influential in the first half, winning a penalty which was converted by Messi and scoring the second goal as well.
Les Blues fought till the end and a couple of moments of brilliance from Kylian Mbappe, who converted a penalty and finished another attack within a space of 87 seconds to take the match to extra time.
Messi scored a goal in the 108th minute, which should have been the winner, but a handball gifted the French side another penalty and Mbappe became the second player to take the match ball home in a World Cup final after Hurst.
In the penalty shootout, La Albiceleste edged 4-2 courtesy of a smart Emiliano Martinez save and another miss from the Les Blues players as Messi etched his name in the history books.
Star Studded Pitches
From Pele to Diego Maradona, several star forwards have graced the sport in the last century, but two footballers of the stature of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi playing alongside each other in the same league for multiple years was unseen and will be remembered for years to come in the near future.
Ronaldo came through at Sporting CP as Manchester United brought him to England as a teenager, and moments of brilliance saw the Portuguese boy grow into a man who would go on to achieve footballing history with Real Madrid as the star forward won three consecutive UCL titles with the club before trying on new challenges at Juventus and a second spell with the Red Devils.
The 38-year-old now plies his trade at Al-Nassr and reportedly plans to return to Lisbon before calling an end to his professional career. The star forward has scored 127 goals for Portugal, the most for any footballer on the international stage.
Ronaldo has won five Balon d’Or titles along with four European Golden Shoes, three UEFA Best Player in Europe titles, and five UEFA Champions League titles. Ronaldo also holds the record for most appearances, most goals, and most assists in Europe’s elite club competition.
On the other hand, Messi stayed at a single club for the majority of his career as Barcelona groomed the youngster who went on to score 474 La Liga goals, the most for any player in the league’s history.
The Argentine magician won the Balon d’Or eight times and a record number of six European Golden Shoes. After winning all titles possible, Messi finally lifted the FIFA World Cup title in 2022, along with winning his second Golden Ball award at the quadrennial tournament, a feat achieved by no other footballer.
Messi signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 and left for Inter Miami for the 2023-24 Major League Soccer season. Recently, the 36-year-old forward scored his 100th goal for Argentina and would be instrumental in La Albiceleste’s 2024 Copa America campaign.
Future’s Goal Posts
The ongoing leagues around the world are a treat to watch out for every weekend, barring the international breaks. The likes of Girona leading the La Liga standings after 12 matchdays is astounding, while Manchester United, Sevilla, and AC Milan are on the brink of elimination from Europe.
On June 14, 2024, hosts Germany will kick off the 2024 UEFA European Championships at the Munich Football Arena and the final will be played in Berlin on July 14, 2024. Gareth Southgate’s England, powerhouse France, Roberto Martinez’s Portugal, Spain, and Belgium will be the favorites to lift the trophy in Berlin on July 14.