Football’s Most Incredible Moments: Top 10

Football’s Most Incredible Moments: Top 10

6. Roberto Baggio’s penalty heartbreak.

Roberto Baggio had almost single handedly dragged Italy to the Final of the 1994 World Cup hosted by the United States of America.

An auspicious start by both Italy and Baggio saw them sneak into the last 16 of the competition as the best third place team in the group stages. Manager Arrigo Sacchi had come under intense scrutiny for both his handling of the team and his star performer Roberto Baggio, who was expected to light up the finals as one of the world’s greatest forwards at the time.

His creativity seemingly stifled by his adversaries in the group stage, it was the last 16 onwards where Baggio burst into life, scoring five times in the next three knockout clashes, leading Italy to a first World Cup Final in twelve years.

Nigeria, Spain, and surprise package of the tournament Bulgaria, would all succumb to the artistry and brilliance of Italy’s mesmerizing number 10, who many had already crowned the player of the tournament.

His goal’s were crafted from sheer ingenuity and they seemed to arrive at the most pivotal moments, and up next came a final against a Brazil side that had their own superstar striker Romario, aided by his partner in crime Bebeto.

A disappointing goalless draw in the blazing sun of California was played out with both teams nullifying the vast array of attacking talent on display. Therefore Penalties would decide the fate of the coveted trophy for the first time in its existence, and with Italy having already missed twice in the shootout it fell to Baggio to keep his countries slim hopes alive.

The resulting spot kick was sent high into the stands, sending Brazil as a nation into raptures as once again they would be World Champions, whilst a disconsolate Baggio stood rooted to the spot scarcely being able to comprehend what had just transpired. It was one of the cruelest moments in the history of the game, as the man who had been Italy’s hero throughout the tournament had lost his midas touch when it mattered the very most.

By his own admission it haunted Baggio for the rest of his career, and he will sadly be remembered for one miss rather than the majestic performances that had carried Italy to the final in the first place.

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