As the decade comes to a close, there were some fairytales which will be etched, forever, in the memory of the fans and Sporting history.
From Leicester City’s first-ever Premier League triumph to Real Madrid’s three Champions League triumphs on the bounce, here are the top 10 Sporting achievements of the decade.
India’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 triumph:
After their first and shocking Cricket World Cup triumph in 1983, India ended a 28-year wait for their second by winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 on home soil. The Men in Blue’s six-wicket triumph over southern-neighbours Sri Lanka also ended Australia’s dominance in the marquee event, having won three WC’s in a row (1999, 2003, 2007). On their way to glory, India lost just one game in the entire tournament – A narrow defeat by three wickets against South Africa in a Group B fixture – and even defeated the three-time defending champions Australia in the quarter-finals by 5 wickets. Later, the Men in Blue also triumphed at the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in England.
But, since their famous win at the Wankhede Stadium in 2011, India has failed to lift each of the last two World Cups, despite strong performances throughout the tournament.
In the 2015 edition, India remained unbeaten until the semi-finals, where they were beaten convincingly by hosts and eventual champions, Australia.
In the 2019 edition, India was once again beaten in the semi-finals, this time by eventual runner-ups New Zealand.
Manchester City’s 2011-12 Premier League triumph:
Manchester City was never a global footballing brand until but by the end of the 2011-12 Premier League campaign, the football fans and fraternity soon realised that this team will dominate the English football for many more decades to come. Having won their last top-flight title in the 1967-68 season, back then it was simply called as the English Football League, the Citizens ended a 44-year wait for local supremacy with a 3-2 comeback win over Queen’s Park Rangers, thanks to a 94th-minute winner by their current record-scorer Sergio Aguero. That season under Italian manager Roberto Mancini, City also ended the monopoly of local rivals Manchester United and Chelsea, who were pretty much the top two of the English Football, before the turn of the decade.
But, Manchester United bounced back to reclaim the title next season, before City won the 2013-14 season title under Chilean manager Mauricio Pellegrini, who is currently at West Ham United.
But then, Manchester United’s noisy neighbours had to wait for another three campaigns before re-claiming the title in 2017-18 season, before successfully defending their title a year later.
However, despite their dominance in the English game, City is still very much unknown in the continental paradigm, having failed to win the Champions League in their history.
Roger Federer supersedes Pete Sampras’ Wimbledon record of most career titles:
‘Life is true to form; records are meant to be broken,’ said American swimmer Mark Spitz after he won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics in Germany.
But, When Pete Sampras won his 7th Wimbledon title back in 2000, who would’ve thought that even that record won’t be safe until Roger Federer won his seventh in the year 2012 by beating Andy Roddick in the final, before finally superseding Sampras, five years later in 2017.
Federer made his Wimbledon debut in 1999, at the age of 18, also the same year when Boris Becker played his last ever Wimbledon and Grand-slam. That year, Sampras defeated fellow-American Andre Agassi in the final to lift his sixth Wimbledon title.
Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, four years after making his debut at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, by beating Australia’s Mark Philippoussis in the final. He won another four on the bounce before his monopoly was ended by Rafael Nadal, who’ll also feature in our list but later.
Federer then won his sixth and seventh titles in 2009 and 2012, respectively, before finally overtaking Sampras in 2017.
Currently, at the age of 38, Federer has a record 20 Grand Slam titles to his name.
Leicester City’s fairytale: From avoiding relegation to claiming the Premier League title:
From avoiding relegation to the English Championship (second division) by a whisker in the 2014-15 season to achieving something that only sounds sane in fairytales.
Leicester City defeated Newcastle United on the final matchday of the 2014-15 season, which saw them avoid relegation, a year after gaining promotion from the second division under manager Nigel Pearson.
But, who would’ve thought that the Foxes, against all odds, will end the following season as the Champions of England? frankly speaking, no one did. Leicester, under Italian manager Claudio Ranieri, pipped Londoners Arsenal and Tottenham to lift the club’s first-ever top-flight silverware.
Jamie Vardy, who was the top-scorer for Leicester and joint second top-scorer that season, was the main man for the Foxes that season, having helped them avoid relegation with a goal against Newcastle on the final matchday, a season earlier.
The Foxes finished the campaign as champions with just three defeats all season, two of those came against Arsenal, who finished second behind Leicester.
It finally came home: England lift first-ever 50-over Cricket World Cup trophy
Having finished as runner-ups in three previous editions, England finally tasted success in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
In 1979 final, West Indies defeated England by 92 runs at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London.
In 1987 final, Australia defeated England by 5 wickets at the Eden Gardens, Kolkatta.
In 1992 final, Pakistan defeated England by 22 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
After three disappointments, England finally had their reward, beating New Zealand in a finale packed with barely believable moments.
Both teams couldn’t be separated after 50 overs of play, followed by a super over. But, England won by virtue of hitting more boundaries.
Luka Modric ends Messi-Ronaldo duopoly
Luka Modric ended Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s duopoly by winning the FIFA Men’s POTY award in 2018. Brazil’s Kaka in 2007, the last player to win the Ballon d’Or other than Messi and Ronaldo while playing for AC Milan, who won the Champions League that year.
Modric has voted ahead of his former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano, in the second while, Lionel Messi finished fourth in the list.
Modric was adjudged winner after an incredible season with Real Madrid, who won a third straight Champions League title and leading Croatia all the way to the World Cup finals.
The King of Clay: Rafael Nadal:
Just like Roger Federer in grass-court, Rafael Nadal is a tough nut to crack, when it comes in clay-court. While Federer has 10 Wimbledon titles to his name, Nadal has 12 French Open titles in his illustrious career., having won his first Roland Garros silverware in 2005, at the age of 19.
The 33-year-old now has 12 (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019) of the same in his trophy cabinet.
Nadal, also, completed a career Grand Slam in 2010, by winning all four grand slams in a single year. He became only the third player to achieve the feat after Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969).
Chelsea pips Bayern Munich to first-ever Champions League title
Having nearly crashed out in pre-quarterfinals, Chelsea went on win the Champions League final in 2012 by defeating hosts Bayern Munich on penalties.
Chelsea was beaten 1-3 in the first-leg by Napoli, before winning 4-1 at Stamford Bridge after the appointment of the interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo.
The Blues then defeated Portuguese side Benfica (3-1 on aggregate) in the quarter-finals, before knocking-out the holders, FC Barcelona (3-2 on aggregate).
In the final at the Allianz Arena, Chelsea was trailing 0-1 before Didier Drogba equalised in the stoppage-time but force extra-time. Extra-time ended, as the way it started, meaning nothing to separate the two sides.
Then in the penalty shoot-out, Chelsea’s wait for its first-ever continental triumph ended, as they won 4-3 on penalties, despite Bayern drawing first blood.
Real Madrid wins three Champions League on the bounce
After winning its 10th Champions League crown in 2014, it’s first in 12 years, Real Madrid achieved what other clubs couldn’t even dream about.
Having fallen to a shocking defeat against Juventus in the 2015 Champions League semi-final, Real Madrid won not two, but three Champions League trophies in as many seasons (vs Atletico Madrid in 2016, vs Juventus in 2017, vs Liverpool in 2018).
Los Blancos are the first team in the modern era to achieve the feat, after clubs like Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Machester United and Barcelona tumbled before the final hurdle.
Virat Kohli finishes the decade on top of ODI charts
In many ways, this has been the decade of India skipper Virat Kohli, whos has been much more than a run machine. As the decade comes to a close, Virat leads the chart in One Day Internationals with most runs, centuries, catches, etc.
Virat Kohli in ODIs this decade:
- – Most runs (11125)
- – Most 100s: 42
- – Most 50s: 52
- – Most Man of the match: 35
- – Most Man of the series: 7
- – Most fours: 1038
- – Most catches as a fielder: 117
- – Most matches: 227