As the year draws to a close it’s time for reflection on the top five sporting moments of 2022. To say 2022 has been eventful would be an understatement. There has been plenty for everyone to enjoy, love and even celebrate but there have also been some really tough times.
Sport has a way of bringing people together like nothing else and 2022 was no different. As 2022 draws to a close I take a look back at the top five sporting moments of the year.
Rafael Nadal winning the Australian Open and recording breaking 21st Grand Slam
Nadal headed to Melbourne in January knowing that a win would see him set a men’s record of 21 grand slam wins.
The build up was dominated by Novak Djokovic and the situation surrounding his vaccination status, but once the tennis started that was soon forgotten about.
Nadal took on Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final in what was an all time classic. Nadal was starring down the barrel as he lost the first two sets but that never say die attitude that has served him throughout his career was on show again.
Nadal produced one of the greatest masterstrokes of his endless career. From two sets down, he somehow recovered to defeat Medvedev 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 after five hours and 24 minutes and, in the process, win a record 21st grand slam title.
Despite all that Nadal has already achieved, all of the impossible comebacks he has engineered, this may just be the greatest triumph of all.
Lionel Messi winning the World Cup in Qatar
After a wait of 36 years Argentina finally became World Champions again.
The first winter World Cup was highly anticipated as well as highly criticised. The action did not disappoint at all and it was arguably the best World Cup of all time.
In what is almost certainly Lionel Messi’s last appearance at a World Cup it didn’t get off to the best of starts as they lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia but from then on arguably the greatest player of all time delivered in every match for his country.
He became the first player to score in the last 16, the quarter final, semi final and final. Argentina defeated France 4-2 on penalties in what is already regarded as the greatest World Cup final in history, but almost threw it away having been two goals up with ten minutes remaining.
However, they held their nerve in the shootout and the diminutive Argentine matched Diego Maradona and finally got his hands on the famous gold trophy being named player of the tournament in the process.
England Women winning Euro 2022
Football finally came home on July 31st and it was thanks to Sarina Wiegman and the fearless Lionesses.
England headed into the tournament on home soil knowing that they had a good chance of lifting the trophy alongside Spain and Germany.
A swashbuckling road to the final included a Euro-record 22 goals scored and just two conceded, an 8-0 demolition of Norway and a 4-0 dismantling of the world’s second-highest ranked team Sweden saw England set up a final with old rivals Germany.
Head coach Wiegman had never lost a game at a European Championships, nor a game in charge of England, and Germany had never lost a European final so something had to give at Wembley.
The final did not disappoint and it was Chloe Kelly who poked home the winner in extra time from a scrappy corner to send a record Wembley crowd into sheer ecstasy. Football was finally home.
England Winning the mens ICC T20 Cricket World Cup
England headed to Australia for the T20 World Cup having previously only lifted the trophy once back in the Caribbean in 2010.
The build up was difficult as the squad had a lot of injuries to deal with including to key players Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Reece Topley.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Matthew Mott’s side on their route to the trophy. They edged past Afghanistan in their opener before losing a rain affected match to Ireland and then having a crucial clash against hosts Australia rained off, but Jos Butler and the rest of the team pulled their socks up and the performances peaked at just the right time.
A convincing win against New Zealand was followed by a win against Sri Lanka before they dismantled India in the semi final to set up a final against Pakistan in which they held their nerve in a low scoring match.
It was fitting that England superstar Ben Stokes was the man to hit the winning runs but everyone contributed to the cause as England became the first side to hold the ODI and the T20 World Cup simultaneously.
They have now proven themselves as a formidable force in white-ball cricket and will be looking to continue their run.
England narrowly missing out on the Women’s Rubgy World Cup
Sam Middleton’s team headed to New Zealand for the World Cup knowing that they were in with a huge chance of coming back as World Champions.
England along with hosts New Zealand were the two best sides and favourites for the trophy. The Red Roses played some great rugby on their way to the final where they would take on hosts New Zealand in what was set to be a thrilling encounter.
In front of a sold out Eden Park in Auckland England fell agonisingly short as New Zealand ended their 30 match unbeaten run in the process.
The Black Ferns triumphed despite trailing for large parts of the game and found it hard to break down an England side that had to play over an hour a player down after Lydia Thompson was sent off.
The Red Roses lost by three points in a 34-31 defeat but can be immensely proud of their efforts and the way they conducted themselves. A new generation will have been inspired and all roads lead to a home World Cup in 2025 where England will hope to become World Champions.
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