ABS-CBN Sports Top 10: Memorable Football Moments of 2014 (Part 1)
Santino Honasan on Dec 24, 2014 12:52 PM
Under new head coach Thomas Dooley, the Philippine Azkals had a busy 2014 with deep runs in different tournaments including the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup
2014 was big year for football, highlighted by the 2014 FIFA World Cup which took place in the sport’s spiritual home of Brazil. Aside from that, this past year has its share of memorable football moments from our very own Azkals, as well as from different individuals, teams, and leagues all over the world.
Join us as we take a look at the top-10 memorable football moments of 2014, starting with moments number ten to number six!
10. The Azkals Get a Coaching Makeover
Following a relatively quiet 2013, the Philippine National Football Team decided to part ways with Michael Weiss after a three-year tenure as head coach. In February, they brought in former Team USA Captain Thomas Dooley for a one-year contract.
Under Dooley’s watch, the Azkals embarked on a busy 2014, competing in a slew of friendly matches, but more importantly making deep runs in various tournaments such as the AFC Challenge Cup, the PFF Peace Cup, and most recently the AFF Suzuki Cup.
While Dooley’s arrival was not without some controversy, the Philippine Football Federation as well as the Azkals management have expressed their pleasure in the job that the former Team USA skipper has done with the Philippine National Team and are in agreement in giving him a contract renewal as Azkals Head Coach.
With a busy 2015 ahead, only time will tell if Coach Dooley can lead the Azkals to even greater heights.
9. Protests Welcome 2014 FIFA World Cup
Football fans all over the world could not wait to get the 2014 FIFA World Cup underway, as it was being held in one of the world’s biggest soccer countries, Brazil.
Unfortunately though, not everyone from the host nation was excited about hosting international football’s biggest event.
Weeks leading up to the World Cup’s opening match, and all throughout the tournament, protests were staged on the streets of Brazil to show disapproval with the government’s public expenditures on the tournament, including the construction of seven new football arenas and the renovation of five existing ones.
Brazil was reported to have spent an estimated $14 billion in order to host the world cup, something that the protesters believe should have gone to other area such as education, medical care, and addressing the country’s poverty situation.
While the protests eventually died down, the issue was still something that garnered worldwide attention.
8. Luis Suarez Bares His Fangs
In the midst of their 2014 World Cup campaign, Uruguay made waves throughout the football world, but for all the wrong reasons.
With his team on the brink of elimination against Italy, striker Luis Suarez decided to take a bite out of the competition…literally. In the 79th minute of their Group D matchup, Suarez chomped at Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, and claimed that it was just a bump.
Italy went on to eliminate Uruguay, while Suarez received a four month suspension from all football related activities and nine international matches, including the remainder of the 2014 World Cup.
The said sanction was the longest in World Cup history.
7. Landon Donovan Goes Out on Top
After getting left out of the USA National Team for the 2014 World Cup, it was clear to many that Landon Donovan’s career was on its tail end. In August, the 32 year old winger for the LA Galaxy announced that he would be calling it quits after the 2014 Major League Soccer Season.
Already with five MLS titles under his belt, Donovan helped lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to their ninth finals appearance and December 7 in front of a hometown crowd in California, the Galaxy clinched the 2014 MLS Cup with a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution.
The 32-year old Donovan retires with a record six Major League Soccer titles and still stands as the USA National Team’s leading goal scorer with 57 goals in 157 caps. He remains widely regarded as the best football player to come out of the United States.
6. Thierry Henry Says Goodbye after 20 Stellar Years
2014 saw another football great lace up his spikes for the last time as former French Team Captain and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry announced his retirement from the game in mid-December.
Henry spent his most successful years playing for Arsenal and became the club’s leading goal scorer with 228 conversions in 376 appearances. Widely regarded as the best ever to wear an Arsenal uniform, Henry’s place in the club’s history was immortalized in 2011 when a bronze statue was erected in his honor outside the Emirates Stadium.
He spent his final playing years with the New York Red Bulls, helping the club to an MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2013.
He is expected to join Sky Sports in 2015 as an analyst.