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Defining Moments of the Decade: The final countdown


With the decade drawing to a close, theScore looked back and voted on 100 moments that defined the sports world in the 2010s. Below is the final installment of our month-long series, counting down moments 20-1.

100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 | 40-21 | 20-1

20. Germany 7, Brazil 1 ⚽

July 8, 2014

Marcos Brindicci / Reuters

This was Brazil's shot at redemption. Despite the nation's unparalleled World Cup success, it had never truly recovered from losing the 1950 final on home soil. The 2014 edition of the tournament, though, was supposed to exorcise those demons. In the eyes of many Brazilians, it was destiny. And then everything came crumbling down on a surreal, eerie evening in Belo Horizonte. An emotional Brazil side, playing without the injured Neymar, were blown away in the semifinals; Germany scored five goals in the opening 29 minutes en route to a remarkable 7-1 win. In the stands, disbelief morphed into tears, and, eventually, anger. Brazilian fans consoled one another, to no avail. - Gianluca Nesci

19. UMBC pulls off historic upset 🙀

March 16, 2018

No. 1 seeds were 132-0 against 16-seeds until 2018, when America East champion UMBC met overall top seed Virginia in Charlotte. The Retrievers had never won an NCAA Tournament game and weren't expected to on this day. But everything went right. UMBC began the second half on a 17-3 run and never looked back, embarrassing Virginia 74-54 and making history. The UMBC athletics' Twitter account ballooned from 5,400 followers to 41,000 as it fired off sassy but clever tweets during the stunning performance. - Mark Cooper

18. Kevin Durant's 'Next Chapter'

July 7, 2016

After blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Western Conference Finals to Golden State, Durant did the unthinkable and joined the enemy. The formation of the "Hamptons Five" brought KD together with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala to form one of the most dominant units in NBA history. Durant was blasted for the move he described as "the hardest road" as it fundamentally altered the balance of the league, but it's hard to argue with the results. What followed was three straight trips to the Finals, two titles, and a pair of Finals MVPs for Durant. - Mike Dickson

17. Villanova at the buzzer ⏰

April 4, 2016

The name of the play was Nova. In a tie game with 4.7 seconds left, Jay Wright called it. Ryan Arcidiacono brought the basketball up the court. Kris Jenkins, the inbounder, trailed him. As Arcidiacono reached the 3-point line, he shoveled the ball to Jenkins. "Bang," Wright mouthed from the sideline as Jenkins coldly hit the 3-pointer that gave Villanova a 77-74 win over North Carolina and a national championship. Moments before Jenkins' shot, UNC's Marcus Paige knocked down an acrobatic, equally impressive 3-pointer that was soon forgotten. - Cooper

16. The Fierce Five 🖐️

July 31, 2012


Originally referred to as the Fab Five before a Jalen Rose rant forced a name change, the Fierce Five of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber dominated the artistic gymnastics event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. While the team earned the U.S. its first gold medal on international soil in the women's competition, the fivesome also gained notoriety when Douglas became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in the individual competition, and Maroney's unimpressed podium look became a famed internet meme. After the Olympics, they visited the White House, were inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and came forward as survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of gymnasts. - Bryan Mcwilliam

15. Boston Marathon bombing

April 15, 2013

On a day normally reserved for celebration of the human spirit, tragedy struck. Two bombs, detonated 14 seconds apart, killed three people and injured hundreds. A manhunt for the two bombers followed, culminating in the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a Watertown, Massachusetts backyard. Rather than focus on the perpetrators, stories of the heroes that ran towards danger to help became a beacon. Through grief and heartache, a city battled together and "Boston Strong" became a rallying cry for not only New England, but also the world. - Devang Desai

14. Leicester City defy the odds 🦊

May 2, 2016


Nearly four years later, it still gives you goosebumps. Going into the 2015-16 Premier League season, Leicester City were 5,000-1 underdogs to win the title; at the time, you could get the same odds on Elvis Presley being found alive. They couldn't possibly do it. After all, they had only been promoted to England's top flight the year prior. But powered by a journeyman striker, an unassuming manager, and the football gods, the Foxes shocked the world. Claudio Ranieri sobbed, Andrea Bocelli (!) performed at the King Power Stadium, and Wes Morgan led a trophy celebration that will never be forgotten. Anything's possible. - Nesci

13. 'Kick Six' sinks Alabama 🏃💨

Nov. 30, 2013

This high-stakes Iron Bowl meeting had one of the wildest endings in 150 years of college football. Tied at 28 in the final seconds, Nick Saban sent his kicker out to try a 57-yard field goal. Standing in the end zone, Auburn's Chris Davis caught the kick when it fell short and took off. Davis' 109-yard return - the "Kick Six" - gave the Tigers a walk-off, 34-28 win, and eventually sent Auburn to the national championship game while handing Alabama its first loss. - Cooper

12. Michael Phelps stands alone 🏅

July 31, 2012


A new generation was ready to take over, but in the end, Michael Phelps still made history. Phelps, who announced the London games would be his last, passed Larisa Latynina to become the all-time record holder for most Olympic medals won. That same night, Phelps settled for silver after Chad le Clos prevailed in the 200m butterfly. The South African said Phelps was the reason he started to swim competitively, and he wasn't alone in citing "The Baltimore Bullet" as an inspiration. Phelps decided to return to the five rings party in Rio, finishing his Olympic career with 28 medals and a genuine claim to be the greatest athlete of all time. - Desai

11. Patriots' unbelievable comeback 😲

Feb. 5, 2017

Up 28-3 in the third quarter, it looked like nothing could stop the Falcons from winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Even when the Patriots finally scored a touchdown, they botched the extra point. In the fourth frame, everything changed. Aided by a Matt Ryan fumble, a Jake Matthews hold, and a miraculous Julian Edelman catch, New England rattled off 25 straight points to force overtime. The Patriots won the coin toss, then finished the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. - Alex Chippin

10. Donald Sterling banned for life

April 29, 2014

Long-maligned as the worst owner in sports for a myriad of deplorable reasons, Donald Sterling's tenure came to an unprecedented halt as NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed the disgraced billionaire a lifetime ban and ordered him to sell the team. While it was an open secret around the NBA that Sterling was racist before 2014, it became public domain when an audio recording surfaced of the owner telling his mistress, V. Stiviano, that he was upset she was fraternizing with black people - in particular Magic Johnson - at games. - Michael Bradburn

9. City's last-second title: 'Aguerooooo!' 💥

May 13, 2012

It seemed calamitous Manchester City would skulk even further under Manchester United's shadow when, with seconds left in the 2011-12 campaign, they were surrendering the title to the red half of town. They needed to overcome lowly Queens Park Rangers to beat United to the title, but were losing 2-1 at home. Edin Dzeko's 92nd-minute equalizer didn't subdue United fans' celebrations 137 miles away in Sunderland. It wasn't enough. But then, with 93:20 on the clock, Sergio Aguero scored. The Etihad Stadium erupted. United supporters crumbled. City won their first title in 44 years, and in a manner that couldn't be sweeter for their fans or, indeed, the neutral. - Daniel Rouse

8. Crosby's golden goal for Canada 🍁

Feb. 28, 2010

Todd Korol / Action Images

Canada was the unanimous favorite to claim gold on home soil, but the team didn't face an easy path to glory. After losing to the Americans in the preliminary round, Canada narrowly defeated Slovakia in the semis, setting up a winner-take-all rematch with their biggest rival. When the USA erased a 2-0 deficit, the gold medal game went to overtime. Sidney Crosby delivered the golden goal, sending his home country into an unforgettable frenzy from coast to coast. - Sean O'Leary

7. Bolt defends his crown, again ⚡

Aug. 14, 2016

After bursting onto the scene in Beijing in 2008, Usain Bolt stunned the world by setting world records in the 100m and 200m sprints. He showed no signs of slowing down at the 2012 London Olympics, setting a new Olympic record in the 100m sprint. Entering the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, all eyes were on the Jamaican phenom to see if he could be the first sprinter to three-peat in the 100m race. Trailing with only meters to go, Bolt surged ahead and crossed the finish line in first, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest athletes ever. - Brandon Maron

6. Kaepernick makes a statement ✊

Aug. 26, 2016

Michael Zagaris / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Colin Kaepernick's protest during the national anthem and the resulting movement spanned multiple years, transcending sports and reaching into the political realm. During a preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick sat on the bench during the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner," an act that went unnoticed until footage was shared by fans in attendance. Afterwards, speaking with a former Army Green Beret who suggested he kneel instead, the then-49ers quarterback took a knee in silent protest of racial injustice and police brutality against people of color in America. Kaepernick considered the cause so crucial, he staked his career on it. The courts got involved, as did the President of the United States. It divided sports fans and compelled some to question Kaepernick's patriotism, even stalling his football career, but the movement continues on, with the likes of Kenny Stills and Eric Reid still kneeling during the anthem. - Michael McClymont

5. Cubs finally end the drought ⚾

Nov. 2, 2016

This was the ultimate sports curse. The Cubs hadn't won a pennant since 1945, and they hadn't won a World Series since Teddy Roosevelt was president. For 108 years, the Cubs were baseball's punching bag, inventing new ways to lose on a seemingly annual basis. But finally, in 2016, everything clicked for this star-crossed franchise. In true Cubs fashion, it didn't come easy, as they had to overcome a 3-1 series deficit against the Indians and survive one of the greatest Game 7s ever played to crush the Billy Goat curse forever. Over five million people attended the parade. - Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb

4. Tiger wins The Masters 🐯

April 14, 2019

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

No one captivates an audience like Tiger Woods, and he did it better than ever before over four magical days this past April. In the mix at Augusta after three strong rounds, Tiger outplayed and outsmarted his opponents to claim his fifth green jacket and 15th major. From putting his tee shot to within three feet on the famous 16th to immediately hugging his kids in triumph after all he'd been through over the years, this win was truly a moment for the ages. - O'Leary

3. Cavs come back to stun Warriors 🏆

June 19, 2016

The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead. You couldn't go anywhere on the internet after the 2016 NBA Finals without that phrase poking fun at Golden State's historic collapse. It went so viral it even has its own Know Your Meme page. But don't let the jokes overshadow the Cavaliers' accomplishment. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were incredible in an unprecedented Finals comeback that gave their franchise its first ever title and a city its first major championship in 52 years. Cleveland, this is for you. - Jonathan Soveta

2. 'Intercepted at the goal line!' 😱

Feb. 1, 2015

When the Seahawks had a second-and-goal opportunity at the Patriots' 1-yard line with 26 seconds remaining, it seemed unavoidable that Marshawn Lynch would be handed the ball and Seattle would take the lead. However, the Seahawks' slant pass was ultimately intercepted by Malcolm Butler. The undrafted rookie recorded his first career interception in Super Bowl LXIX to give New England its first title since 2005. - Caio Miari

1. The Decision 👑

July 8, 2010

Larry Busacca / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Social media had yet to evolve into what it is now in the summer of 2010, when LeBron James and manager Maverick Carter devised "The Decision," a made-for-TV special to announce LeBron's free-agency choice. While his heart may have been in the right place - the broadcast donated millions in ad revenue to various charities - it was a PR disaster for James; with the words "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach," he publicly jilted his home region of northeast Ohio in favor of joining a Miami Heat Superteam. It was a moment that cast LeBron as a villain, and while that's something he's since mostly erased with three NBA championships (including one back in Cleveland), it still lingers in the minds of some. - John Chick

100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 | 40-21 | 20-1

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