After the lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic, football is slowly returning. The last two months have seen the restarting of many leagues at club level, and now after a short break, international football is back with the UEFA Nations League.
The Euro 2020 tournament has been postponed to next year, but that does not mean we have to wait till then for competitive action on the international stage.
The Euros and the World Cup have given us many memorable moments. Here are some of the best moments in the last two decades, which we often forget but deserve to be remembered.
#5 Frank Lampard's disallowed goal in the 2010 World Cup
Technology in football is a hotly debated topic. While human errors caused due to some referees’ calls have caused controversy, FIFA has been reluctant to bring in technology to help the referees out. And with good reason.
One of the factors that makes football exciting is the free flowing nature of play. Bringing in technology can cause a break in play that can affect the tempo of the game.
But in the World Cup 2010, Frank Lampard's disallowed goal was the straw that broke the camel's back. England were facing off against Germany in the round of last 16, and, after going down 2-0 in the opening half an hour, were mounting a comeback.
Lampard found himself on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a fierce shot that hit the bottom of Manuel Neuer's crossbar before bouncing and landing safely in the grateful arms of the German No.1.
What the officials didn't realize was that the ball had crossed the line before Neuer's save, making it a clear goal. But despite the England players' protest, no goal was given. England went on to lose 4-1 and exited the tournament, but the disallowed goal haunted them and FIFA.
All this led to the birth of goal line technology, which simply lets the referee know through a watch when the ball crosses the goal line. It has been one of the most successful technologies introduced by FIFA till date, with later technologies like VAR causing more controversy than helping the game.
#4 Van Persie's Flying Dutchman goal
Spain dominated the international football scene after lifting the Euro 2008 trophy. They won their maiden World title in 2010 and then successfully defended the Euro title in 2012. So, everyone was expecting the domination to continue in the 2014 World Cup, but the Netherlands had other ideas.
The Dutch had a score to settle. The Spanish had beaten them in the last World Cup final and that had left many of the Dutch heartbroken. So when Spain and the Netherlands met in the group stage, no one was expecting the thrashing the Spanish were going to receive.
Spain led the encounter early on and were in control until Daley Blind found Robin van Persie via a long ball with one minute to go before half time. The Dutch striker was clear on goal and everyone thought he would control the ball before shooting.
But in classic van Persie style, the striker took a leap to head the ball into Iker Casillas’s net. The Spanish captain and the world could only watch in amazement as the Dutch players celebrated the equalizer.
That goal started the end of the Spanish dominance on an international stage as they went on to lose 5-1 and later crashed out of the tournament. Spain never recovered from the shock defeat, failing to progress past the round of 16 in later tournaments.
It would appear the Flying Dutchman still haunts them.