Top soccer moments of the decade

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Photo by himanisdas via  flickr

Photo by himanisdas via flickr

Germany’s 7-1 destruction of Brazil in the 2014 World Cup 

Oscar masked eternal shock and agony of a nation, while providing a pointless high that would attempt to numb the pain. 

The seleção entered the night believing they could — literally — hold on to the spirit of Neymar to win the match, who was set to miss the rest of the tournament after fracturing his vertebrae at the hands of Juan Camilo Zúñiga. Goalkeeper Júlio César and centerback David Luiz held their teammate’s jersey up high, while proudly singing the anthem of their homeland. Nothing could prepare them, however, for the blitzkrieg to come; vertebrates would become 11 souls, ruthlessly snatched at the Maracanã. 

Since the beginning of the tournament, head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari created an atmosphere of entitlement, believing it was their destiny as Brazilians to win the tournament in their homeland after the tragic loss at the hands of Uruguay in 1950, commonly referred to as the Maracanazo. As a result, the squad became complacent in training and instead chose to enjoy the moment, interacting with locals and accepting this delusional, arrogant and nonsensical aurora. They chose to believe they had sufficient talent alone to win, and that jogo bonito would prevail; not for any one specific reason, however. It would prevail because it had to. 

Simply put, the Brazilians were in denial. They knew they weren’t good enough, but held onto this lifelong belief. 

A horrendous offensive attack only got worse with the exclusion of Neymar. Fred leading the attack put him in a position where he would never be able to succeed due to the amount of extraordinary brazilian talent that thrived in that position, from Pelé and Falcão to Ronaldo and Romário. Bernard and Hulk played as wingers while Oscar set his sights on being the main distributor of the ball. You could combine all three,and none would live up to the level of a Kaká, let alone Zico. Finally, a conflicting,“washed” back line made up of Marcelo, Dante, David Luiz and Maicon would lead many to reminisce in the days of Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Dunga and Luizinho. 

Thomas Müller and Miroslav Klose, two from Toni Kroos, and Sami Khedira. Five devastating goals in 15 minutes to absolutely desecrate, humiliate and humble an entire nation. Luiz and Marcelo’s wildly irresponsible play led to huge gaps the Germans easily exploited, leaving César helpless and hopeless. André Schürrle added two more, with his second coming in the form of a magnificent bar down strike, finishing the job. Oscar’s consolation goal in the 90th minute would incite a momentary, painful cheer. It would finish Germany seven, Brazil one. 

Translated to English, Júlio César is Julius Caesar, the infamous Roman leader assassinated by the conservative faction of the senate after naming himself perpetual dictator. César took not only his place, but the place of the whole team. This neurotic squad needed to realize that no longer would motivation, jogo bonito, respect and a little bit of luck win them any major tournament, now or in the future. The Germans acted as the conservative faction, obliterating César again, and again, and again. Just like the senate killed Caesar to save the Republic, the Germans killed César to save Brazilian football. 

The national team has still not been able to fully recover from their debacle, but progress has begun to slowly but surely grind out results. Although their 2018 World Cup performance was not great by any means, they did host and win Copa América in 2019 to end the decade on a high.  

Oscar’s goal in the final stages of the match marked a 7-1 scoreline at the time. But in the grand scheme of things, it marked a revolutionary change that will only benefit the Brazilian National Team in the years to come. 

Women’s National Team Winning Back-to-Back World Cups 

While the men’s national team was lackluster throughout the decade, only being able to reach the Round of 16 in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and not qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The women’s national team got bragging rights, becoming back-to-back champions in the Women’s World Cup. 

Despite the women’s team falling to Japan 2-2 (3-1 in penalties) in the 2011 World Cup, the Stars and Stripes found their way back and claimed the World Cup trophy in the 2015 World Cup in Canada, where they faced Japan once more and won 5-2; the ultimate revenge. 


Photo in the    public domain

Photo in the public domain

Following their 2015 victory, the women’s national team was set to defend their title of champions and did just that by winning the trophy again in France for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The USWNT not only went down in women’s soccer history to score the most goals in a Women’s World Cup fixture, in their 13-0 victory against Thailand, but also became the second nation for a women’s national team to claim the champion title back-to-back; The first was Germany in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Not only that, but the USWNT is the only team to have the most World Cup trophies of four titles. One nation and one team, the women’s national team should be given complete praise for their achievements. 

Liverpool’s 2018/19 UEFA Champions League Campaign 

Liverpool were hungry to claim a trophy throughout the decade. They failed to secure the Premier League title in the 2013-14 season when they literally slipped and ruined their chances when former midfielder Steven Gerrard fell on the ground, giving former Chelsea forward Demba Ba the ball and scoring at the end of the first half. Don’t think we’ll forget about that one, Gerrard. 

Fast-forward to the 2017/18 Champions League where The Reds had an amazing campaign, reaching the final where they played champion-holders Real Madrid at the time. While the team performed well, their goalkeeper, Loris Karius, costed Liverpool the match by conceding three goals that should never have happened. 

Despite their bad luck throughout the decade, The Reds found themselves with another outstanding Champions League run in the 2018-19 season and worked their way to the final once more, where they met first-time finalists Tottenham Hotspur. This match ended 2-0 for Liverpool and claimed their sixth European title. Let’s talk about six, baby.  

Honorable mention: Tottenham Hotspur’s 2018/19 Champions League Campaign 

While Liverpool’s run in the Champion’s League Last season was remarkable, it wouldn’t be right to not mention Tottenham’s campaign throughout the tournament. Despite not buying anyone in the transfer window the season before, the Lilywhites managed to get through the Group Stage and the knockout rounds. Some of their notable fixtures include their quarter-final matches against Manchester City where they won on away points and their 3-2 semi-final victory against Ajax, where forward Lucas Moura was subbed on in the second half and scored a hat trick to send the Lilywhites to their first ever Champions League final. While the players deserve much praise, most of it should go to former manager Mauricio Pochettino, who managed the team despite their hardships in the Premier League and giving the players and fans hope through their Champions League run. He’s magic, you know, Mauricio Pochettino. 


Sebastian Garay-Ortega is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at sebastian.garay-ortega@uconn.edu. He tweets @sebastian__305.

David Sandoval is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at david.sandoval@uconn.edu. He tweets @sandovalduconn.

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