Football

90min’s favourite football moments of 2022


There was a lot of football played in 2022.

Too much football? Probably.

But there were still plenty of great moments that, despite football-watching fatigue, the editorial team at 90min were able to enjoy.

So without further ado, here are said moments:

Jack Gallagher

Derry City V Shelbourne. FAI Cup Final. Dublin, Ireland.

Derry City won the FAI Cup / Tim Clayton – Corbis/GettyImages

It’s fair to say that the League of Ireland isn’t the best, biggest or richest league in the world, but it’s the one that myself and my da have been going to watch my hometown club, Derry City, play in for over two decades.

While I still haven’t seen the Candystripes win the League of Ireland (despite finishing second on four occasions in those two decades, missing out on goal difference during one particularly heartbreaking season), I have been lucky enough to see the boys lift the domestic cup – the FAI Cup – four times.

The most recent time was this year, when over 20,000 Derry natives made an eight-hour round trip to Dublin to watch Ruaidhri Higgins’ side thump Shelbourne 4-0 in the final at the Aviva Stadium.

Having followed the team through thick and very, very thin down the years, the 2022 FAI Cup triumph and the ensuing buzz around the club in the city has been really fantastic to see and will hopefully kickstart a wee golden era for the Candystripes.

Scott Saunders

Wales v Ukraine - FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Wales qualified for their first World Cup since 1958 / Athena Pictures/GettyImages

Nothing is better in football than when your country succeeds.

And success, for Wales, in 2022, was qualifying for the World Cup*.

On a rainy day in June in Cardiff, it happened. Wales narrowly beat Ukraine to confirm their place in Qatar after a deflected Gareth Bale free kick edged them ahead. Wayne Hennessey turned into superman and somehow kept a clean sheet, Cymru held on and Cardiff went mad. Mad with celebration, excitement, emotion, tears. Nobody expected this – my generation and those before me had become accustomed to failure and nobody would’ve thought this was possible a mere decade ago. But so much has changed and Welsh football’s in a better place.

I wasn’t able to make it to Cardiff but most that did will tell you that was one of the greatest days in the history of Welsh football – given the “it’s been 64 years since our last one” narrative – and it had an incredible impact on me. I even got to ride on the team’s coat-tails and get up close in the tournament itself. Never could I have dreamed of that.

The day of qualification had to be the moment I picked, mind you, because we were absolutely sh*te in Qatar.

*For Scott’s alternative pick, please see the following Slack message: “if you want one [World Cup moment] please replace mine with ‘Leandro Paredes smashing ball at Dutch bench’.”

Toby Cudworth

David Moyes

West Ham reached the Europa League semi-final / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

West Ham reaching the Europa League semi-final.

What more is there to say? Little old West Ham, forever the underachievers, living every club outside the big six’s dream on the European stage. 

– Group H, eased through with the calmness and serenity you’d expect from regulars in the competition, not a side whose last successful continental venture was back in the 1970s.

– Sevilla, serial winners of the Europa League, swatted aside at a thunderous London Stadium in what is one of mine, and surely the club’s, greatest ever games. The winning goal, fittingly, scored by an emotional Andriy Yarmolenko as 60,000+ showed their solidarity and support for Ukraine.

– Lyon, battered 3-0 on their own patch in the quarter-finals – a game that cemented Craig Dawson’s cult hero status at the club and saw David Moyes serenaded by the travelling faithful.

A journey made all the more special because after 25+ years of going to West Ham with my dad, I was the one able to take him to nights both of us will never ever forget.

Sean Walsh

Thomas Tuchel, Antonio Conte

The handshake / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

For me, as someone who covers Tottenham and Brentford, one weekend stands out in my mind.

On a scorching Saturday in west London, the Bees dismantled Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United 4-0, with all four goals coming in a frantic first half. Even by the Red Devils’ sinking standards in the last ten years, this was unbelievable, a real joy to watch and cover.

The following day, I began nine days of annual leave with a trip to Brighton with my mum. We watched Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham in a packed out pub, and for so long it was misery, surrounded by so many happy Blues. And then Harry Kane scored a completely undeserved 96th-minute equaliser. And Thomas Tuchel didn’t let go of Antonio Conte’s hand. And I had the last laugh on the seafront. What a hilarious couple of summer days.

There are a lot of great, iconic and downright funny moments from 2022, but I’ll let my colleagues pick the obvious ones.

Jude Summerfield

I’ve got a selfish memory. This year I visited San Siro for the first time ever and I must implore every person with the means to visit before it’s ripped down and replaced. It’s a one-of-a-kind piece of football stadia.

Either that or watching Montpelier Villa beat Seaford Town in the cup final on the terrace with a beer. Oh, and our six-a-side team in Brighton is seriously good. We may all be mid 20s now, but never rule out a late career change.

Ali Rampling

Leah Williamson, Millie Bright

England won Euro 2022 / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Euro 2022 produced some of my favourite football memories: Chloe Kelly’s winner against Germany, Three Lions blaring out and this outpouring of emotion as Wembley erupted on the final whistle, Jill Scott’s spectacular swearing.

But my favourite is Georgia Stanway’s stunning winner against Spain. The scene was set in Brighton: Sarina Wiegman had only returned a negative Covid-19 test hours before kickoff, the Lionesses were 1-0 down and six minutes away from being eliminated at the quarter final stage.

Ella Toone scored a dramatic late equaliser. Sheer relief. Then along came Stanway, the space just opening up in front of her, the Spanish backline retreating. She seemed to hesitate before shooting, but once it left her foot it was only ever going to arc into the back of the net. Sheer, unadulterated joy.

My emotions went through the absolute wringer that evening. I was convinced we were going to be eliminated in such underwhelming fashion, and that ‘same old England’ feeling was really creeping in the closer we got to the final whistle. But Stanway spectacularly ensured that there was really nothing to be so worried about.

Jamie Spencer

Alessia Russo

Russo scored a brilliant backheel / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Alessia Russo had already scored three times for England at Euro 2022, but that backheel in the semi-final against Sweden properly announced her to the nation as wider interest in the Lionesses increased throughout the rounds.

Aside from being a genius moment of improvisation that completely caught the Swedish defenders and goalkeeper by surprise, it also came at a crucial time to kill the game off – England’s third goal of a statement 4-0 win – en-route to a first senior international final in 13 years.

It was such an iconic moment, you can now buy it on a T-shirt.

Covering Manchester United throughout the preceding club season, I had seen Russo’s rise first hand. She missed most of the 2020/21 campaign because of injury and was initially reintroduced slowly at the start of 2021/22, but it was clear even months before Euro 2022 that she had the star quality to make a difference for England come summer. And she absolutely smashed it.

Russo didn’t actually start any games at the Euros, but came off the bench every time to bulldoze tiring defences and the reaction from the crowd to her introduction got louder with each appearance.

Graeme Bailey

Marcus Tavernier, Lee Peltier

Boro beat Man Utd in the FA Cup / Clive Mason/GettyImages

Lots to pick from and I don’t normally go personal with these sorts of things, but this year I am and it is back to February and Middlesbrough’s FA Cup win at Old Trafford.

This was the first away match I had ever taken my eight-year old son Lucas too. Before the game I met an old friend and he asked Lucas what he thought the score would be and he said we would win on penalties…amazingly we did.

He also got to see Cristiano Ronaldo, one of his personal heroes, play in person at a stadium that he had longed to see and, although some say Old Trafford is a bit run-down these days, he was blown away when he walked up the stairs. He also got to see another of his heroes, this time Matt Crooks score for Boro. The atmosphere in that away end that night was something he might not witness again his footballing life.

Not many football fans growing up will be able to say their first away match was a win at Manchester United, but my son can. So yes, a bit personal but one footballing memory/moment that I will literally never forget.

Chris Deeley

Did you know that there were multiple games this year involving professional English teams which involved goals being the wrong size? How about it happening twice inside three weeks? Yep, Hull vs Birmingham was delayed while the grounds crew took an honest to god circular saw to the posts to cut them down to size; just 18 days after Arsenal Women noticed during warmups away at Ajax that the goals were 10cm too small. 

Oh, you said ‘moment’ not ‘moments’? The Hull/Birmingham one, then. Half because the Arsenal one set it up, half because having to saw two inches off one of the goals is honest to god the most stupid thing I can think of at a professional football ground where you always use the same size goals

*(possibly just a bloke on Twitter).

Tom Gott

Hakim Ziyech

Ziyech fired Chelsea to victory over Tottenham / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

2022 has been a rollercoaster for us Chelsea fans, if the rollercoaster in question is broken and stuck hanging over the edge of a drop.

Amid lost cup finals, Karim Benzema-inspired heartbreaks, enforced sales and six weeks of Graham Potter being forced to answer the same question about his trendy new haircut over and over and over and over and over again, there wasn’t a whole lot to celebrate. He’s got a beard now, can we please just have some team news?

Take me back to January, when Chelsea were beating Tottenham three times in as many weeks.

Back-to-back victories in the Carabao Cup semi-final were great but 2022 peaked when Hakim Ziyech curled an outrageous strike into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ net to inspire a 2-0 victory on 23 January. From a Callum Hudson-Odoi assist, no less. My heart.

As somebody who has been following Ziyech since his Heerenveen days and is still trawling eBay to try and find a shirt from that era, I felt like a proud father. It was his second in what would be a run of three consecutive games with a goal and it really felt like the Moroccan wizard might finally be about to live up to the hype.

And then the rest of 2022 happened.





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