Vote and debate - What was the sporting highlight of 2018? Eurosport journalists have their say
It has been a year of sensational sporting achievement, but which one event takes top spot in the eyes of the Eurosport journalists? We asked them to make their case... and you can have your say too. Vote at the bottom of the article and post in the comments with your suggestions.
Jordan Pickford saving Carlos Bacca’s penalty.
The World Cup was not short of memorable moments for England fans but in terms of nail-biting tension, unadulterated joy and pure catharsis, nothing came close to the penalty shoot-out win over Colombia in the last-16. England were seconds away from winning 1-0 before Yerry Mina scored in injury time – a potentially devastating blow. They were out of sorts in the first period of extra time and had 22 years of penalty disappointment weighing on their shoulders when the shoot-out came around. But the most vivid expression of the new England culture created by Gareth Southgate came when Pickford extended his right hand and beat away Bacca’s penalty. This time it genuinely would be different. Until the semi-final anyway.
Ester Ledecka's Winter Olympic miracle.
Way before the World Cup and those hot summer days dreaming of an England World Cup win, in Pyeongchang, Ledecka borrowed a pair of skis and won gold in the Super-G before going on to win her second gold in the parallel giant slalom snowboarding. She became the first person to win gold at the Winter Olympics in two completely different disciplines - just, wow.
A Ballon D'Or finally being awarded to a female footballer...
... and the brilliant Ada Hegerberg deservedly being the first winner.
Roger Federer's Australian Open win.
Way back in January, the greatest men’s tennis star of all-time was crowned with his 20th Grand Slam title. The imperious Federer clinched his sixth Australian Open triumph with a five-set victory over Marin Cilic and, in so doing, became only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to win 20 or more major singles titles. Already the GOAT, this was a celebration of the golden player of men’s tennis in what will go down as its golden age.
Alastair Cook getting a century in his final innings as a Test match batsman for England against India in September.
I was at the Oval to witness it and the way the standing ovation went on and on showed just how much he is adored by his country. It was emotional and tremendously English. An example to many others of how to handle being high profile in the sport.
Chris Froome's astonishing Giro comeback.
Sitting in fourth place in the general classification, three minutes and 22 seconds down on race leader Adam Yates, Froome launches the most ridiculous 80km solo attack on the Colle delle Finestre to all-but-win the 2018 Giro d’Italia and complete the ‘Tiger Slam’. Sen-bloody-sational!
England’s run at the World Cup. Obviously.
It brought the nation together, which was no mean feat given the Brexit shenanigans that has divided it for two years. If only they could have clung on to that 1-0 lead against Croatia. Bring back the waistcoat, Gareth!
England progressing to the next round of the Nations League.
No seriously - I haven't watched any of the matches at all, but now there's a whiff of a trophy, I might start. But also, England not being rubbish in the World Cup.
Gareth Southgate. Just a thoroughly decent man excelling in cathartic circumstances. As has been observed a million times since the World Cup, a disconnect had grown between the England national team and its fans. Ironically enough, the last time the Three Lions had a decent rapport with its fans was probably at Euro 96, the tournament in which Southgate missed the crucial penalty in the semi-final against Germany.
Korea 2-0 Germany.
This isn’t a Schadenfreude pick. Honest. It’s just there are moments when the normal order is ripped up so completely, so unexpectedly, that you can hardly believe what you were watching. Germany have been on both sides now, having provided 2014’s ultimate wtf moment in the 7-1 mauling of Brazil. In Russia, they seemed to have got back on track with their last-gasp win over Sweden. And then... complete meltdown. Hummels’ miss, Kim’s VAR goal, Neuer playing in midfield and the ridiculous coup de grace.
The Philly Special.
Playing against the all-powerful New England Patriots in the Super Bowl Philidelphia Eagles coach Doug Pedersen rolled the dice to end all dice when he and quarterback Nick Foles decided to run the Philly Special on fourth-and-goal. This involved Foles going alongside his offensive line, the ball then being snapped instead to running back Corey Clement. He in turn pitched it to tight end Trey Burton, who found a wide open Foles in the end zone for a touchdown.
There are so many different elements that make this one of the most absurdly brilliant and ballsy plays in the history of all sports. Firstly they were in a Super Bowl, against a Patriots team who will go down in history as one of the best ever, led by one of the greatest coach-quarterback combinations in Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Foles was the back-up and only playing due to Carson Wentz ACL injury. Foles had never caught a pass in college or the NFL. Clement was an undrafted rookie. Burton had never attempted a pass in the NFL before. The Eagles had never won the Super Bowl before. It is just a ridiculous collection of incredible elements that make up one of the most daring plays ever witnessed.
The Champions League final
It's easy to forget in a year of huge sporting drama, but the Champions League final had pretty much everything. Loris Karius and Liverpool fans won't want to remember his errors, but they will go down in football history, such was the calamitous nature of his mistakes. Throw in an overhead-kick winner from Gareth Bale and you have a match that should go down as one of the most noteworthy European finals.
Now it's time to have your say. Vote for your favourite, or comment with your choice below.