5 reasons why 2018 was an amazing year for world football
We’re just days away from the end of 2018 now, and from a football standpoint, it’s been a hell of a year. From the hectic tail end of 2017-18 to the red-hot beginning of 2018-19 – with the World Cup and yet another wild transfer window in between – it feels like this year has had everything when it comes to the ‘beautiful game’.
Whether 2019 will be as good a year as 2018 is a major question mark going forward. But most football fans would probably agree that this has been an amazing year for world football – and here are 5 reasons why.
#1: The knockout stages of the Champions League were tremendous
The UEFA Champions League is definitely football’s biggest club competition, and every year we get some massive ties thrown up between some of Europe’s most powerful clubs. And while sometimes those ties don’t live up to the hype – the teams just don’t go for it, and we get some damp squibs - that wasn’t the case in 2018.
The round of 16 was crazy enough – a total of 47 goals were scored across the 16 games - and yet the only truly one-sided ties came between Bayern Munich and Besiktas (8-1 to Bayern), Liverpool and Porto (5-0 to Liverpool) and Manchester City and Basel (5-2 to City). Elsewhere, we saw Real Madrid edge Paris St. Germain in a battle of giants, while a tactical switch allowed Juventus to squeeze past Tottenham.
The quarter-finals then upped the ante; Roma somehow overcame a 4-1 first leg loss to Barcelona to defeat the Spanish giants 3-0 in the return game – sneaking through on the away goals rule - in one of the season’s biggest upsets. The other big result came in the all-English tie – Liverpool stunned everyone by destroying Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate.
We got plenty of goals too – 24 across the 8 games.
In the end, it came down to Liverpool – who beat Roma 7-6 on aggregate in the semis – and holders Real Madrid, who overcame Bayern Munich. And it was Los Blancos who ended up winning their 13th Champions League – and their 3rd in a row – after a dramatic final that saw one of the greatest goals in Champions League history by Gareth Bale – and another two for Madrid caused by major errors from Liverpool keeper Loris Karius.
Basically, the knockout stages of the Champions League delivered like few other tournaments in 2018 – and made for an incredible spectacle.