Wednesday, 6 February 2013

My Top 5 International Matches in the Past Twelve Months

1. Argentina vs Brazil (4-3) Friendly 9 June 2012

The most entertaining and pure game of football I have watched in the past twelve months without a doubt.  Brazil played with typical flair and samba, while Messi scored an absolutely ridiculous hat-trick. Not being a competitive match allowed both sets of players to play with freedom - resulting in spectacular football in front of a huge crowd at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

2. Spain vs Italy (4-0) European Championship Final 1 July 2012

This game confirmed the status of Spain being the best national team ever. Having been met with a stubborn Italian side in the group stage, Spain simply demolished Italy in the final and blew away critics of their "boring" style of play by playing mesmerising football. Pirlo, Italy's best player, was left helpless as the world watched Spain's pass masters put on a show in spectacular fashion.

3. Germany vs Sweden (4-4) World Cup Qualifier 16 October 2012

A game that will be remembered by the result more so than the actual football. Germany went 3-0 up at half-time and also scored a fourth shortly after the break after cutting open a poor Swedish defence. When the winner of the match seemed settled, up stepped Zlatan Ibrahimovic to inspire Sweden to a miraculous comeback, culminating in a 93rd minute equaliser leaving Angela Merkel stunned as well as the whole stadium.

4. Argentina vs Uruguay (3-0) World Cup Qualifier 12 October 2012

Argentina in 2012 have been fabulous to watch as Alejandro Sabella figured out how best to use Messi in the national team. Perhaps their best game was a WC qualifier against enemies Uruguay who featured the attcking trio of Suarez, Cavani and Forlan. Simply put, Argentina completely dominated this game, putting on a masterclass of fluid attacking play while easily defending against Uruguay's star forwards. Messi was brilliant in this game, providing viewers with a satisfied feeling when the match was over.

5. Zambia vs Cote d'Ivoire (0-0) Africa Cup of Nations Final 12 February 2012

The worst game on this list in terms of quality, but the best story without doubt. Zambia were heavy underdogs against the golden generation of Africa's best national team and no-one expected them to beat the Elephants. After a tense scoreless draw after 120 minutes, the match was to be decided on penalties. After a marathon shootout, Gervinho's miss allowed Stophira Sunzu to score the winning goal which sparked memorable scenes of celebration including Zambia coach Herve Renard carrying the injured Joseph Musonda to celebrate with his team mates.

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