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Top 10 greatest football matches of all time

Published at :March 26, 2023 at 12:10 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Manchester United )

Shashwat Dhoundiyal


Relive some of the best games to ever take place in the history of the beautiful game

The beautiful game has seen many greats in its history. Players who has defined and modified the game so great that they became international icons and amassed a popularity that was never seen before. Football not only gave sporting giants like Pele, Maradona, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but also gave some of the finest sporting moments. From international to clubs tournament, the one thing common is the level of entertainment and football provided by teams and their players.

Some games are so beautiful that they become a case study and some provide with the utmost amount of thrill to the fans for many years and go down their memory lanes.

Here we take a look at the top 10 greatest football matches of all time:

Argentina 3(4)-3(2) France

FIFA World Cup 2022 Final

Argentina International friendly Bangladesh June 2023
Lionel Messi's Argentina won the FIFA World Cup 2022

One of the best and probably the most thrilling World Cup final ever. The world was with Argentina in this match because everyone wanted the footballing maestro Messi to win the one which he had always wanted. But there was only one obstacle and that was Kylian Mbappe, the young prodigy and the heir to the throne of Messi according to many. The match started with the dominance of Argentina. They were clearly overpowering France both score wise and strategically.

They were two up against the European side. But in the last fifteen of the match, the tide turned and France were on equal score with the Albiceleste thanks to Mbappe’ s brace. In extra time, Argentina again took the lead because of a Messi goal. But soon at the end of the Extra time, Mbappe converted a penalty which sent the match to Penalties. In penalties, Argentina triumphed, because of Martinez’s goalkeeping and Messi finally lifted the Golden Trophy.

France 1(3)-1(5) Italy

FIFA World Cup 2006 Final

This match is a one to remember for all the Zidane fans. This World Cup in Germany was to be the last for the French Legend Zidane. He had earlier won the World Cup in 1998 on Home soil but came out of retirement to supports his national side one last time in the World Cup. Zidane led his team to another World Cup and Fans were expecting a world class farewell for the French international.

The match saw both sides score a goal each including a famous Panenka penalty by Zidane. But infamously, one thing which defined and has branded the game is the Headbutt by Zidane against the Italian Marco Materazzi in the 110’ resulting is a red card for him. The headbutt became one of the highlights of Zizou. France lost that final on penalties and fans didn’t get to see the expected farewell.

Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich

Champions League 98-99 Final

This was the record-breaking season for Manchester United. Under Alex Ferguson, they club completed their treble. In the Champions League final, they were met with the German giants Bayern Munich. The opening goal was scored by Bayern in just 6 minutes.

They were ahead in the game for the rest of the time and it seemed that their victory was inevitable but then Stoppage time and Manchester United finally managed to score in the 90’+1. They not only equalled the score but also managed to score another goal, thanks to Ole Gunnar Solskjær who scored a goal in the 90’+4 to make their clubs European Champions.

Germany 3-4 Italy

FIFA World Cup 1970 Semi-Final

The match was so thrilling that it was termed as the ‘Game of the Century’. The World Cup was in Mexico and at the Aztec stadium, two European giants were facing each other. Both Italy and Germany were looking in mood to mark their place in the final. As the match began Italy got their early advantage because of  Boninsegna’s goal in the 8th minute.

The match seemed like a victory for Italy as they were nearing towards the last whistle with their one goal lead. But soon in the closing minutes, Germany managed to equalise the score and the game went to extra time. It was in extra time that the game became much more interesting with Italy and Germany both scoring two more goals to increase the tally to three goals each. In the 111’, Italy managed to take the lead again to increase their tally to four and thus end the game in a 4-3 scoreline. They however lost the final to Pele led Brazil.

Liverpool 4-0 FC Barcelona

Champions League 2018-19 Semi Final 2ND Leg

Probably one of the worst moments for any Barcelona fan. The Champions League of 2018-19 saw Messi in his prime. He clearly overshadowed the tournament with his monstrous performance, singlehandedly leading the club to the Champions League Semi-final where they faced the English Side Liverpool. The reds were the runners up of previous Champions League season. But seeing the form of Messi, everyone placed their bid on La Pulga and Barcelona. As expected, Barcelona thrashed Liverpool in the 1st leg of the semi-final at Camp Nou by 3-0. The goals included a Classic Messi freekick which is considered one of the best of his career.

Everyone was now sure that Messi and Barca will move past Liverpool into the Final and Lift that coveted trophy which Messi had promised to bring home. But much to everyone’s expectation, Liverpool did a comeback in the 2nd leg at Anfield. They scored four goals and conceded none, changing the final tally to 4-3 and finalising their spot in the Champions League final. They would win the tournament, defeating their English rival Tottenham Hotspurs.

FC Barcelona 6-1 Paris St. Germain

Champions League 2016-17 Round of 16

Famously known as ‘La Remontada/ The Comeback’, it is considered the largest comeback in the Champions League. It was the 2nd leg of the Round of 16 of Champions League 2016/17. In the 1st leg, FC Barcelona suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat at the hands of the French giants Paris St. Germain at their home ground Parc de Princes. The match saw Angel Di Maria master class, who scored a brace. FC Barcelona were going to play the 2nd leg with no away goals and a four goals negative deficit.

The task seemed tough but impossible, as every Barca player was highly motivated since the start of the match. Barca gave a tough fight to the Parisians and thanks to the efforts of Messi and Neymar they managed to win it. Messi scored a penalty and Neymar scored a brace. Barcelona defeated PSG by 6-5 on aggregate. Three of Barcelona came in the last minutes of the game, with two of them in the stoppage time. They scored their last and the winning goal in 90+5’ which just erupted the Camp Nou.

Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers

Premier League 11-12

Everybody remembers the famous ‘Agueroooooo’ scream by the commentator. This match is remarkable for every City fan. The Premier League season of 2011-12 was a thrilling one for the Manchester Population. Both of the teams were battling for the Premier League trophy. Manchester United and City were both pushing each other and testing the limits. It all came down to the final day. On the Final Day, Manchester City was to face Queens Park Rangers. A win would ensure their title on Goal difference.

Near the end of the match, Manchester City were trailing by one goal with a score line of 2-1 against them. But everything changed in the stoppage time. Dzeko scored a goal to level the difference and it all came down to one more goal for the title. And as fate would have it, none other than Aguero scored a brilliant goal in the 90+4’ to take the lead and the title too. Crowds stormed to the pitch to celebrate with their team after the full time whistle. Manchester City were at level with Manchester United in terms of points but finished at the top spot on goal difference. It was their first title since 1967-68 season.

Liverpool 3(3)-3(2) AC Milan

Champions League Final 2004-05

Probably one of the best champions league finals. Liverpool were crowned the European Champions but their Victory was not easy at all. In the final, AC Milan entered as a club in great form. They proved it by scoring three goals in the first half of the final against the English side. Liverpool fans were aghast looking at the condition of the their team. But everything turned upside down in the second half.

Liverpool bounced back and equalled the score by scoring three goals. They scored these three goals in a matter of six minutes. Both teams gave each other a tough time and the match went to a penalty shootout after Extra time. Liverpool triumphed the shootouts and become the European Champions for the fifth time.

Brazil 1-7 Germany

FIFA World Cup 2014 Semi-final

Top 10 greatest football matches of all time
Brazil lost 7-1 against Germany in FIFA World Cup 2014 semi-final

FIFA World Cup 2014 was held in Brazil and thus were the favourites to win the tournament. Their dream was supported by their teams and their star Neymar’s performance. They went smoothly to the semi-finals. But things went downhill, when Neymar got injured in the Quarter Finals against Colombia and was ruled out of the tournament.

The Brazil national side after Ney’s injury lacked the main driving force of the team. And their problems were proved right when they faced Germany in the semis. Germany thrashed them in the Semis by scoring 7 goals against them. Brazil performed so poorly that they only managed to score one goal against the European side. There were tears in the eyes of the Brazilian fans as their hopes were shattered.

FC Barcelona 6-2 Real Madrid

LaLiga 08-09

The biggest sports rivalry in the world of football. El Clasico is always thrilling t watch as the temperature is always high. The game is less for points but more for Honour as fans of ether cannot bear a loss. So like any other Classico, this was also a high tension affair. Pep was appointed as the New Manager and it was his first Classico and thus pressure was extremely high.

Both sides were studded with star players. On one side there were Ramos, Raul, Robben, Casillas, Marcelo and Higuain and on the other side there were Messi, Xavi, Eto, Iniesta and Henry among others. It was the perfect match. As the match started both team tried to assert their dominance.

First goal was scored by Real Madrid in the 14’ but was soon equalled by a goal by Henry. After that, the game was clearly dominated by the Catalan side. They just made a fool out of Real Madrid. Thanks to Messi and Henry’s Brace, Barcelona scored six goals in the game while Madrid only managed to score twice in the match. Pep’s strategy to play Messi as a false 9 rattled Real. As the commentator mentioned, Barcelona were so dominant that even Pique was on the score sheet. It was an utter humiliation for Los Blancos. Pep proved his metal, and the bonus was that they achieved this feat at Santiago Bernabeu, home ground of Real Madrid.

Honorary Mentions

  1. Uruguay 2-1 Brazil, 1950 FIFA World Cup Final
  2. FC Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid, La Liga 10-11
  3. Argentina 2(4)-2(3) Netherlands, 2022 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final
  4. Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City, Champions League 21 Semi-final 2nd leg
  5. Brazil 4-1 Italy, 1970 FIFA World Cup Final
  6. West Germany 3(5)-3(4) France, 1982 FIFA World Cup Semi-final
  7. Netherlands 5-1 Spain, 2014 FIFA World Cup Group Stage
  8. Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United, Premier League 22-23
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