Five Memorable Matches of All TimeThe individual brilliance of players and the star power they attract in a game often are integral aspects of gauging football matches. However, these are not all; the game's competitive balance, what is at stake, the quality of play, and to some extent, the drama that the game elicits count just as well. With these in mind, here are the five games rated as the most memorable in the game's history.
5. Brazil vs. Italy - the France Tournament (1997) | (3-3)While this was one of the six games played in an exhibition tournament, the duel between the Samba Boys and the Azzurri qualifies because there was seldom anything friendly about the match.
The tournament that featured Brazil, England, France, and Italy was a prestigious rehearsal staged one year before the 1998 edition of the FIFA World Cup. Though the game ended on a 3-all draw, Italy was the first to draw blood, catching a talent-filled Brazil off guard.
The Azzurri's goals came courtesy of a Del Piero brace and a deflection by Aldair. The Seleçao equalized via a Roberto Carlos shot and two goals from the combo of Ronaldo and Romario.
4. Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich - the UEFA Champions League Final (1999) | (2-1)Both teams went to the final after bagging their domestic leagues and cups and saw the Champions League final as a chance to win the continent's most coveted trophy and win the elusive treble.
The Red Devils started meekly because Roy Keane and Paul Scholes were out serving suspensions. Mario Basler scored for the German side that went on to torment Manchester United. However, later in the game, Sir Alex Ferguson brought in Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær, producing pure magic.
Two stoppage-time strikes stole the hopes of a continental title and a treble from Bayern Munich and its determined, legendary Lothar Matthäus.
3. Liverpool vs. Barcelona - The UEFA Champions League Semi-Final (2019) | (4-0)Liverpool came into the match trailing 3-0 after a mauling at the Nou Camp. They needed to overturn the aggregate scoreline to proceed. Jürgen Klopp's men made their intention known early when Divock Origi scored in the seventh minute.
At the beginning of the second half, Barcelona lost grip of the game when Georginio Wijnaldum doubled the lead and scored again less than two minutes later. Origi's second, 11 minutes from time, destroyed any little hope of a comeback for the Catalans. See the highlights from the game here.
2. Argentina vs. England - Quarterfinals of FIFA World Cup 1986 | (2-1)Most football analysts believe this is the only game that ringed in Diego Maradona's broad ego and personality. He scored two of football's most talked-about goals ever in the second half. The first, the Hand of God, a clear handball disguised as a header, is the game's most controversial goal.
The second, dubbed The Goal of the Century, saw El Pibe de Oro dribble past half the English team before tucking the ball behind Peter Shilton. Gary Lineker scored a consolation goal for England.
1. Liverpool vs. AC Milan - UEFA Champions League 2005 | (3-3)The world press dubbed this game The Istanbul Miracle, and for excellent reasons. Milan exhibited a fast pace initially, putting one past Jerzy Dudek through a Paolo Maldini strike. A brace from Hernan Crespo quickly made it seem like an insurmountable 3-0 even before the break.
A delicate blend of luck, a force of character, and resilience lined to turn Liverpool's fortunes around in the second half. Steven Gerrard headed one in to minimize the deficit. Moments later, Vladimir Smicer tucked one inside Dida's net. Less than six minutes after Gerrard's goal, Xabi Alonso scored another to level the field.
The match ended in a penalty shootout, which Liverpool won.