Choosing the greatest success games ever is a complex task as it is like picking the most precious gemstones from the Crown Jewels of England. So what is it that makes a soccer match great? A lot of soccer fans will agree that the goals make a match exciting, but it is not sure if it is the only factor. Every soccer fan has seen plenty of high scoring matches that may not be regarded as “great,” and they have also seen a lot of low scoring games that are the best.
Say if you ask 50 fans to compile a list of greatest soccer games of all time, it is very unlikely that you will see the same names twice. As everyone has his/her own opinion about what qualifies for a great soccer game, there is no strict right or wrong as such.
Let’s start with knowing the greatest soccer games of all times (according to what we think were the best):
Argentina vs. England World Cup quarter-final 1986
It is always seen that the World Cup quarter-final matches are big games. The same was the case with the 1986 game between Argentina and England as it was a big match. It came 4 years after the two countries had fought a war. So there was already a soccer rivalry between the two nations, and the military conflict resulted in intensity. Everyone knew what was about to happen, but at the same time, no one expected what actually happened. The first half of the match went without any goal. Argentina and England both had chances, but none of them scored. Then the second half was an interesting turning point in the match. A few minutes in the second half, something happened that actually became the most memorable incident in World Cup history.
Steve Hodge, the English midfielder mishit, and the ball went to the penalty area. Peter Shilton, the goalkeeper came off his line, Diego Maradona went towards the ball. So was it a free kick for England? No. Clearly, the referee did not see the infringement and the goal was awarded. Soon the English players were seen surrounding the referee for complaints. But to no avail, Argentina got the lead.
After the match, Maradona said that the goal was taken “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.” So, it became known as the “Hand of God” goal. A few minutes after Argentina got the score, Maradona was seen scoring again. It was indeed the best World Cup goal ever taken.
With Argentina having two goals lead, England started to react. Bobby Robson, the manager, did two attacking substitutions, and the team then started to get back in the match. They scored in the 80th minute through Gary Lineker; it set up a worrisome few minutes. But Argentina progressed in the semi-finals.
Liverpool vs. Alaves UEFA Cup Final 2001
There was a goal fest in 2001 in Dortmund before the Istanbul Miracle took place. Liverpool was in the European Cup Final for the very first time since Heysel tragedy. Reds took the lead through a header by Markus Babbel. They doubled the lead, too, when Steven Gerrard left no opportunity to the goalkeeper after the pass by Micheal Owen.
So right before the 30 minutes point, Ivan Alonso got one goal for the Alaves. Gerard Houllier’s team thought that they had choked the opponent’s resilience when they got the lead back to 2 hits (3-1) on a penalty by Gary McAllister, the Scottish expert.
Alaves then rallied to level their score by Javi Moreno after the half time. Robbie Fowler, the Reds veteran, made them lead again in 76th minute before Jordi Cruyff took a goal in the final minute. In the extra time, Liverpool scored the winning goal from Defi Geli to have the historical FA Cup, UEFA Cup, and the Football League Cup.
Brazil vs. England In World Cup 1970
England entered the 1970 World Cup as the defending champions. The team has won their 1st World Cup four years earlier, and so they had expectations again. In the meantime, Brazil was tagged as the best team at that time. Indeed, the 1970 Brazil team is still believed to be the best soccer team ever.
For the first hour in the match, England’s powerful defense was put to the test by the Brazilian attackers. We saw a heroic performance by Bobby Moore, giving tackle after tackle to prevent the opponents from getting a goal. His one tackle on Jairzinho was spectacular. To date, it is regarded as one of the top tackles.
The match also produced one of the best saves. Brazil’s team came very close to taking the lead as Pele directed a strong header towards the goal. It seemed that it would cross the line, but the goalkeeper managed to stop the ball. Just when Pele started to celebrate, the goalkeeper pushed the ball up and over the crossbar.
England then spent the next half an hour pushing hard. They had some chances when Alan Mullery hit the crossbar, and Jeff Astle missed the open goal. The match ended 1-0 and Brazil went to win the rest of the matches too to secure the World Cup trophy for the third time.
Liverpool vs. AC Milan (Champions League Final 2005)
Liverpool’s 5th European trophy came after the recovery from a 3-0 half time deficit. 3 quick goals in just 5 minutes spell from Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, and Vladimir Smicer took the game to the extra time. Soon the Reds succeeded in a penalty shoot-out when Jerzy Dudek got two saves.
Hungary vs. Uruguay in World Cup 1954
The 1954 World Cup was a great addition to soccer’s most prestigious tournament. It was the first World Cup with live games televised, and the average number of goals per match was higher than ever before. It even featured one of the best finals ever between West Germany and Hungary.
There were a lot of memorable matches in this tournament. Austria beat Switzerland by 7-3, and the semi-final between Uruguay vs. Hungary was a classic. Hungary was the sure-shot favorite in the 1954 World Cup, and they had impressed all the fans on their route to semi-finals. Obviously they missed their main player, Puskar, in this match but that didn’t affect them much. Goals from Hidegkuti and Czibor gave them the 2 goal lead and looked comfortable.
It was time to see a twist then. Uruguay got back hard in the game in the second half and achieved the 2-2 score. For the very first time, Hungary looked vulnerable. They regained their hold during the extra time but scored twice through Kocsis. This was the first match in a World Cup that Uruguay had lost.
France vs. Brazil (World Cup quarter-final 1986)
France ousted Brazil on penalties after the end-to-end encounter. Michel Platini and Careca traded the goals in the first half; however, both sides rejected various chances. Mullet hit for Brazil, and Zico missed the penalty. Also, while Dominique Rocheteau missed open goal for France, Platini and Socrates both missed the shoot out. However, France went through when Julio Cesar crossed the post.
Italy vs. West Germany in World Cup 1970 Semi-Final
This classic match is heralded as “The Game of the Century” because it featured 2 football power teams- Italy and Wet Germany. Also, the game offered 5 goals in extra time and that too in a World Cup semi-final. Just as everyone assumed that they were heading straight towards victory for Italy, the German defender Schnellinger hit the score with a header.
Germany then took the lead when Gerd Muller hit the goal in the 94th minute. Burgnich went ahead to equalize the goal. Italy then closed the first half of extra time with another striking goal by Gigi Riva. Muller scored yet again to level the match at 3-3. Rivera then scored the winning goal just before securing a position in the finals against Brazil.
So, we hope we have made the list of top 7 greatest soccer games of all time an unbiased one. Leave in the comments below if you think some matches should be included in this list.