Look back over the previous two decades, and the sporting world has had many impressive moments. We’ve seen some impressive triumphs, some outright shocks, and some amazing stories come to fruition.
However, if you were to look back over the sporting achievements worldwide for the last twenty years, it could be too hard to pick out one moment!
Still, if you were to have to choose one particular moment that you felt was a landmark moment in your life, which would you choose?
For many people today, it would be Brazil’s World Cup final win in 2002. The achievement was not so much a huge shock, but it was the redemption that came after 1998 that so many people enjoyed.
Why? What makes the 2002 World Cup win so special?
Alright, so it was not the first win for the nation – indeed, it would be a record-breaking fifth. They had won it numerous times in the past, perhaps the most famous being the aforementioned 1958 victory. However, this World Cup felt like it was over a decade in the making.
It depends on how you look at things. Sure, Brazil were one of the hot favorites for the whole thing. They carried one of the most exciting attacks in the world and had a pair of revolutionary full-backs which were rewriting the rules of their position. For most, though, it came down to one thing: Ronaldo.
The Phenomenon himself was, for fans of football in the 1990s, the best ever. His blend of power and precision, flair and fantasy, made him one of the best players in the world to watch.
Even at a young age, he was scoring hatfuls of goals against Italian Serie A defenses; something that was no mean feat in the 90s. To have watched him perform in France in 1998 was to have seen perhaps the greatest performances of all-time in a yellow Brazil shirt.
However, his much-publicized issues prior to the Final in Paris meant that the 1998 story ended on the sourest of notes.
The youngster was clearly unable to perform to his peak in a final that saw the French overwhelm the Brazilians quite intensely. It was a shocking end to what should have been the greatest story of all-time.
Many players who have shone at a World Cup have done so once – even legendary players have found it hard to sustain that quality over many years.
For Brazil, though, the journey to 1998 had seen the national side rejuvenated. The 2002 team, then, was a more rounded unit that had a core of players who had gone through a gut-wrenching loss four years prior.
To see Ronaldo not only turn it on but arguably exceed his quality in 1998 was a tremendous moment for sporting fans of any age.
While it might not have the same impact as their 1958 Final win which started the beginning of a genuine dynasty, it was the official return of Brazil to the very peak of football glory – and with the talismanic Ronaldo at the helm, it felt like justice was finally done after the sadness of ’98.
So, the next time you are trying to predict a tournament winner, try and think back to the great stories that are still left unfulfilled. What, then, do you think will be the next great sporting redemption story?