Football is defined by moments; small passages of time which can range from the awe-inspiring to the outright ridiculous. It is one of the primary reasons as to why it’s adored around the world.
These moments in time can define matches, seasons or even careers, and the ones which are most dramatic are often reserved for the annals of history – preserved for years to come as benchmarks of comparison for future excellence.
So, let’s take a look at six moments forever etched in our footballing memories …
Rene Higuita – Scorpion Save
It is hard to comprehend the mind of a man whose first thought to dealing with a floated head-height cross is to batter it away with a scorpion kick, but that is indeed the case with former Colombia goalkeeper Rene Higuita.
Aptly nicknamed ‘El Loco’, the now-51-year-old had a reputation of being an unorthodox stopper due to his sweeper-keeper style; however, at Wembley Stadium in 1995, the very concept of risk took another meaning as the ‘home of football’ rose to its feet in a combination of shock and admiration following the reverse bicycle-kick save. It was later revealed Rene thought an offside had been whistled for by the referee, which is why he saved it so audaciously.
If that was not enough to write Los Cafeteros’ man into the sport’s folklore, however, his 41 goals throughout his career probably is.
Cheick Tiote – Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal
Although maybe not always remembered as the most technically gifted footballer in Newcastle United‘s ranks, Cheick Tiote’s went down as a Geordie favourite for eternity on February 5, 2011, as he rounded off one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history.
4-0 down to Arsenal at St James’ Park as the half-time whistle sounded, nobody left on Tyneside would have imaged what lay ahead, and the Ivory Coast international – who passed away almost a year ago to the day – wrapped up the incredible afternoon with a stunning strike from range which almost ripped the goal from its stanchions.
Troy Deeney – Play-Off Semi-Final
The Championship play-offs are often known as one of the most exhilarating times of the season, with four teams fighting it out for the final spot in the Premier League.
Over the years, there have been several moments of greatness; however, there are not many passages of play which showcase the highs and lows of football in such emphatic ways than in 2013.
With the aggregate scores poised at 2-2 and the contest well into stoppage time, Anthony Knockaert had the chance to send Leicester City to Wembley to compete in the play-off final.
However, 20 seconds following Manuel Almunia’s double-save, Troy Deeney had in fact put Watford one game away from England’s top-tier after rifling home a bullet volley on the counterattack. If you want an advert for football – that is it.
Andre Schurrle Scores Germany’s Seventh
Semi-final contests are often billed as even and tight affairs; ones which are edged by tactical mastery or a moment of magic.
However, as Germany’s Andre Schurrle leathered his attempt home off the underside of the crossbar from a tight angle in the 2014 World Cup to put Die Mannschaft into a 7-0 lead against hosts Brazil, it was a segment of time which rewrote history – one which will never be forgotten.
Nationalelf went on to lift the trophy and were crowned world champions; however, sentencing Selecao to their most embarrassing defeat in the country’s proud footballing history will always be the tale of the tournament.
Team Doctor/12th Man
It must be difficult in some ways being a team doctor, forced to watch on from the sidelines as maybe your dream career plays out in front of you.
However, within football, we tirelessly hear success is a team effort, but in a Brazilian last-16 play-off contest the phrase may have been taken a bit too far, as with the opposition bearing down on goal to clinch the victory, there emerged the doc, in goal, producing a sensational double save to deny a certain defeat.
The drama that ensued during the aftermath, with the opposition players chasing the backroom staff member out of the stadium as well as attempting to brogue kick his head off, has to go down as one of the most ridiculous scenes ever seen on a football pitch.
However, arguably one of the most memorable moments of recent footballing history is the nail-biting drama which played out at the Etihad Stadium in 2012, where, with the last kick of the game, Sergio Aguero clinched the Premier League title for Manchester City.
“It’s finished at Sunderland, Manchester United have done all they can…Manchester City are still alive here. Balotelli. Aguerooooooooo. I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again.” And indeed we have not, Martin.
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