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Most memorable football moments in 2018

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Liverpool Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS

It has been a pretty eventful year in football, with more incidents than you can shake a stick at.

We have come up with what we think are the most memorable football moments of the year, including maybe the most incident-packed Champions League final ever and four (well actually five) from the World Cup.

Mohamed Salah’s 32-goal Premier League golden boot-winning season was amazing but lacked one great ‘moment’, so it misses out.

So have a read and let us know what order you would put them in using our ranking tool.

England win penalty shootout
Beer. Everywhere. Tears. Everywhere. A moment some England fans thought they would go to the grave without experiencing – a penalty shootout win at a World Cup.

It was a gloriously sunny summer in which, for a brief period at least, football seemed to be coming home. England reaching the World Cup semi-finals was a shock to many, but the most surprising bit was the Three Lions actually winning a real-life penalty shootout.

Gareth Southgate’s side looked set for more woe when Jordan Henderson’s kick was saved, but keeper Jordan Pickford and Eric Dier were the heroes as England beat Colombia.

If history is anything to go by – with their only previous shootout success coming in Euro 96 against Spain – their next penalty win will be at Euro 2040 (Euro 40?).

Jesus goal helps City get 100 points
Manchester City players celebrated with the fans like it was Agueroooooo all over again. Pep Guardiola leapt on the touchline like Sir Alex Ferguson celebrating Steve Bruce’s goal in 1993.

Yet they had wrapped up the league a month earlier.
Gabriel Jesus’s chip in the last minute against Southampton on the final day made City the first team to reach 100 Premier League points.

It was their 106th league goal of the season, another record. A positive goal difference of 79 was also a record. City won 32 of their 38 games, another record – this one for most victories in any English top-flight season.

Neuer goes walkabout as Germany eliminated
Goalkeepers, you have one job. Stand in the goal and try to stop the ball. But as Son Heung-min was dumping Germany out of the World Cup, Manuel Neuer was 80 yards away.

The world champions needed to win but two minutes into injury time were trailing to Kim Young-gwon’s goal, which had been awarded by the video assistant referee.

With nothing to lose, and Germany needing to score twice, Neuer – who manager Joachim Low once said was good enough to play in midfield – took that advice literally.

He came forward in open play for about a minute before losing the ball to Ju Se-jong, who aimed a long punt down to Son. Neuer knew the game was up and just stood watching instead of chasing back to his goal.

Anyone know if there’s a German word for the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune?

Lopetegui exit rocks Spain
Julen Lopetegui was unveiled as Real Madrid boss the day after being sacked by Spain. Less than five months later he was unemployed again.
Clubs appointing a manager during the World Cup can often go under the radar. Julen Lopetegui may well wish that was the case with him.

Spain went one better than the Republic of Ireland’s effort of sending their captain home on the eve of the 2002 World Cup when they sent their manager home the day before the opening game.

La Roja came into the tournament as one of the favourites, having gone 20 games unbeaten under Lopetegui – but just two days before the tournament started, Real Madrid announced that he would be taking over as their boss after the tournament.

Spain were so furious they let him start that job early by sacking him, with sporting director Fernando Hierro taking over for their ill-fated World Cup campaign – they were knocked out of in the round of 16 by hosts Russia.

Luckily it worked out well for Lopetegui at Real…

Champions League final which had everything
Enough talking points to fill a decade of Champions League finals – squeezed into 90 remarkable minutes.

Salah’s season had been leading up to this moment, but Sergio Ramos had other ideas when he pulled the Egyptian’s arm and injured his shoulder midway through the first half.

Salah left the field in tears as Ramos became public enemy number one in Liverpool (well the red half) and Egypt.

The final will also be remembered for one of the biggest errors and one of the greatest moments of skill that European club football’s showpiece game has ever seen.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius’ career at the club effectively ended when he threw the ball directly at Karim Benzema to hand Real the opening goal. The biggest gift since France gave the United States the Statue of Liberty?

Gareth Bale’s relationship with Real has been rocky at times but he etched himself into folklore with his fourth touch of the game.

After coming off the bench, he sent an absolutely sensational bicycle kick flying past Karius from Marcelo’s deflected shot.

The fact that Karius spilling Bale’s 30-yard strike into his own net to make it 3-1 was neither the German’s biggest error nor the Welshman’s best goal of the game tells its own story.

Ronaldo’s incredible bicycle kick
As good as Bale’s bicycle kick was, it didn’t get him a £99m move to Juventus. But Cristiano Ronaldo’s did.

Ronaldo flew into the Turin sky to send a stunning overhead kick flying past Gianluigi Buffon. It was arguably the greatest goal the Champions League has ever seen – and received a standing ovation from the Juve fans.

Four months later he was theirs and the Portugal forward admitted the round of applause was a factor in him deciding to join the Italian champions.

Cue every opposition fan in England applauding Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne or Harry Kane of Tottenham every time they score.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 06, 2018 Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England. – Manchester United have sacked manager Jose Mourinho after a dreadful series of results, the Premier League club announced on December 18, 2018. The 55-year-old Portuguese’s last match in charge was the 3-1 defeat by league leaders Liverpool on Sunday which left them 19 points behind their opponents. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Mourinho sacked and replaced by Solskjaer
Tuesday, 18 December was a strange day.

The whole world (bar a handful of people at most) woke up having no idea Jose Mourinho was about to be sacked as Manchester United boss. And we all went to bed knowing that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was going to be the next caretaker/interim/loanee manager.

In a rarity for modern football, Mourinho’s dismissal had not been broken in the media before the official announcement, which came after a limp 3-1 defeat by Liverpool on the Sunday.

Molde boss Solskjaer then became Manchester United’s first loan signing from Scandinavia since Helsingborg striker Henrik Larsson. The former United striker is set to go back to his club at the end of the season… unless the Old Trafford bosses decide to appointment him permanently.

His appointment was not officially confirmed by United until the next day, although the Norwegian prime minister inadvertently broke the news on Tuesday night.

Like we said, it was a strange day.

Mbappe shines as France win World Cup
First teenager since Pele to score twice in a World Cup game. First teenager since Pele to score in a World Cup final. Won the major international trophy, which has eluded Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kylian Mbappe shone as France won the World Cup, scoring a sparkling double against Argentina and a strike from outside the box against Croatia.

He was clearly nowhere near an unknown, having already cost Paris St-Germain £165.7m, but it was the summer that Mbappe really showcased himself on the world stage as the man most likely to replace Messi and Ronaldo as the best.
The now 20-year-old has carried that form into this season, with 13 league goals in 11 games. Only Lionel Messi has scored more in Europe’s top five leagues.

Wenger leaves Arsenal
It was the moment everybody had seen coming for five years but never actually expected to come.
Roughly a quarter of the population of the United Kingdom had never lived in a world without Arsene Wenger as Arsenal boss.

More than five million people had been born in the UK since they last won a Premier League title.

But he announced on 20 April that he would be leaving the Gunners at the end of the season, a year before the end of his deal with the club.

He had a seven-game farewell tour – including a last defeat at Old Trafford and a final European exit – but it all ended with a 1-0 victory at Huddersfield on the final day of the campaign.

Roma comeback against Barcelona
The crowd at the Stadio Olimpico erupted at the final whistle as the Roma substitutes and coaching staff piled on to the pitch to celebrate with the players. There were tears in the stands as fans could not believe what they had seen – a sensational comeback to dump Barcelona out of the Champions League.

A year after Barca became the second team in Champions League history to overturn a first-leg deficit of three goals or more (against Paris St-Germain), Roma became the third.

Trailing 4-1 from the first leg against the unbeaten La Liga leaders, nobody gave Roma any chance. But goals from Edin Dzeko and Daniele de Rossi gave the Italians hope – before Kostas Manolas’ goal with eight minutes remaining.

They went on to lose to Liverpool in the semi-finals, but it will remain one of the great comebacks.

That throw-in
We were only planning to have 10 memorable moments, but there was one more iconic incident we simply could not leave out. One man. One legend. One throw-in. Iran were 1-0 down against Spain in injury time and had a throw-in – one final chance at claiming a famous draw.

Milad Mohammadi kissed the ball, touched it off his forehead, looked to the sky and then did a forward roll before cancelling his plan to throw the ball at the final second. While the world watched on baffled, he composed himself and took an orthodox short throw-in.
Culled from BBCSports


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