greatest comebacks in football history

10 greatest comebacks in football history

These games are forever etched in history books

Football is not just a sport. It’s an emotion. It’s a roller coaster. It’s a way of life in and of itself. The beautiful game has churned out many incredible stories since time immemorial. Over the course of 90 minutes, football can bring out the best and worst in you, and make you experience a gamut of feelings. That’s particularly true in games where there are incredible comebacks. Below 10 are often ranked as the greatest comebacks in football history:

 greatest comebacks in football history
Angola 4-4 Mali, 2010 African Cup of Nations (By Getty Images)

Angola 4-4 Mali (Africa Cup of Nations, 2010)

The African Cup of Nations doesn’t generate as much fanfare around the world as the Euro Cup or Copa America does, but the tournament is no short of entertainment. Just look at this game for example. Angola and Mali met in the opening match, wherein the former led 4-0 by 74 minutes. Three points seemed well in their bag until Mali decided to tear the script and net four times in the final 20 minutes, including a double from then-Barcelona player, Seydou Keita.

 greatest comebacks in football history
Tottenham Hotspur 2-5 Manchester United, Premier League 2001-02 season (By Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur 3-5 Manchester United (Premier League, 2001)

Back in 2001, Tottenham Hotspur were on course for a big win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester United as they led 3-0 at half-time. But Sir Alex Ferguson’s side produced a masterclass after the break to net five times and win the game 5-3 in what remains one of the greatest comebacks in the league’s history.

 greatest comebacks in football history
Germany vs Sweden, FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier (By Getty Images)

Germany 4-4 Sweden (FIFA World Cup qualifiers, 2012)

The great Germany teams of Joachim Loew saw many fantastic results during his 15 year-regim, but they won’t remember this one fondly. During a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match back in October 2012, Germany trounced Sweden 4-0 in the opening 45 minutes, powered by a brace from Miroslav Klose. Against all the odds, the Blagult equalized before the end of the game, thanks to goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mikael Lustig, Johan Elmander, and Rasmus Elm.

 greatest comebacks in football history
Portugal 5-3 North Korea, 1966 FIFA World Cup (By Getty Images)

Portugal 5-3 North Korea (FIFA World Cup, 1966)

FIFA World Cups have offered us many incredible moments, but this one ranks right up there among the very best. North Korea stunned Portugal with three goals within 24 minutes of the kick-off as the Asian side were on course for a huge upset. However, the Selecao, led by the peerless Eusebio, raced to a 5-3 win eventually. The Benfica legend netted four times, twice in each half, before Jose Augusto added a fifth late on.

 greatest comebacks in football history
Belgium 3-2 Japan, 2018 FIFA World Cup (By Getty Images)

Belgium 3-2 Japan (FIFA World Cup, 2018)

Talking of World Cup comebacks, here’s another iconic one. In one of the round of 16 games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Japan struck twice early into the second half to lead 2-0 over the talented Belgium, who were set to come up short yet again. But the Red Devils showed great resolve to make it 2-2 before Nacer Chadli finished off a terrific counter-attack in stoppage time to send Belgium through. Roberto Martinez’s side eventually finished with the bronze medal at the tournament.

 greatest comebacks in football history
West Germany 3-2 Hungary, 1954 FIFA World Cup final (By Getty Images)

West Germany 3-2 Hungary (FIFA World Cup, 1954)

In the 1954 World Cup final in Bern, West Germany were looking to win their first title. However, they were up against ‘The Magical Magyars’, who had crushed them 8-3 in the group stages. When the sides met again in the finals, Hungary took the lead again, and were leading 2-0 after only eight minutes into the kick-off. However, West Germany responded quickly and made it 2-2 by the 18th minute, before Helmut Rahn scored again late on to win it for the side.

 greatest comebacks in football history
Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal, Premier League 2010-11 season (By Getty Images)

Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal (Premier League, 2011)

Coming back to the Premier League, this match between Newcastle United and Arsenal served up an all-time classic. On 11 February 2011, Arsenal visited St. James’ Park and raced to a 4-0 lead following a barnstorming opening stanza. Newcastle seemed down and out but scripted one of the greatest comebacks in the second half by netting four goals of their own to level the scores at 4-4. Arsene Wenger smashing his water bottle against the ground in frustration truly said it all!

 greatest comebacks in football history
Manchester City 3-2 QPR, 2011-12 Premier League (By Getty Images)

Manchester City 3-2 QPR (Premier League, 2012)

Manchester City’s first-ever Premier League title couldn’t have been more dramatic. 2-1 down at home on final day with the match heading into stoppage time, it seemed like City’s title hopes were over, and Manchester United, who had won their game, were the winners yet again.

But Edin Dzeko offered them a ray of hope by equalizing in the 92nd minute, while Sergio Aguero turned the match on its head with a spectacular winner another two minutes later. The Etihad erupted in ecstasy as City were crowned champions. The smash-and-grab job right there.

 greatest comebacks in football history
Reading 5-7 Arsenal, League Cup 2012 (By Getty Images)

Reading 5-7 Arsenal (League Cup, 2012)

Back in 2012, Arsenal visited Reading for what seemed like a straightforward League Cup tie for them. However, the hosts sprung a real surprise by netting four times against the Premier League giants in just the first half. The Gunners then responded with four of their own after the break, forcing extra time wherein they netted thrice more to eventually win the tie 7-5. It remains the highest-scoring fixture in the competition to date.

greatest comebacks in football
Liverpool vs AC Milan, 2005 UEFA Champions League final (By Getty Images)

AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (Champions League, 2005)

When it’s about comebacks, who can forget the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’? And it happened in the Champions League final of all games! Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan started the game on fire and went 3-0 in front, as the title was seemingly on its way to Milan for the second time in three years.

However, what followed next was quite unbelievable. Liverpool fought back valiantly to score three times and take the game to extra time. With no goals in the 30 minutes, the final went into a penalty shootout, where Liverpool prevailed 3-2.

Also Read: