Despite Covid-19’s variants still plaguing the world, many sports moments happened in 2022. History was made during this year, which fans will always remember.
Now, there are many stories of greatness in sports from last year. So for this OKBET post, we listed our top ten favorite sporting moments of 2022.
1. Messi’s First World Cup
The World Cup Finals were everything that every football fan would wish for. It was an incredible story unfolding in front of the audience’s very eyes—from drama to early goals to upsets.
But the moment that all have been waiting to see was to have either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi win their first-ever World Cup trophy. Unfortunately, Ronaldo was eliminated by an underdog, yet another favorite moment we will discuss later in this blog.
December 18. The match between Argentina and France was underway. Messi and the 24-year-old phenom Kylian Mbappé went on a showdown of whose the better striker.
Argentina won via penalty shootout 4-2, thus finally giving La Pulga his much-awaited title.
Why is it historical: Messi has been dreaming of holding the WC trophy since he entered the league. He first tasted the tournament in 2006, becoming the youngest Argentinian player to play and score in a FIFA World Cup. He waited 16 years (36 years for Argentina) for this moment. When they defeated France, Messi completed his collection: 10 La Liga, seven Copa del Rey, four UEFA Champions Leagues, a Copa América, and a FIFA World Cup trophy.
2. Morocco Bested Portugal
An underdog tale is such a fantastic story, especially in sports. And when Morocco defeated Portugal (Sorry, Ronaldo!), it was a sporting moment worthy of a film.
The African team, throughout the series, was known for their defense, forcing powerhouses to reach penalty shootouts. They then destroy their opponents with their accuracy in a penalty kick.
But in their match against Portugal, Morocco showed that they do not need the penalty shootout to advance to the semi-finals. They beat the powerhouse 1-0.
Unfortunately, they could not advance to the finals as France destroyed them in the semi-finals 2-0. Nevertheless, the grit and heart that the Moroccans showed, wildly beating powerful opponents, truly deserve to be on this list.
Why is it historical: Morocco is the only African team to reach a World Cup semi-finals. More importantly, the national team inspired everyone that no obstacle is greater when they face adversaries as a team.
3. Nick Kyrgios’ first Grand Slam appearance
A consistent Nick Kyrgios was a must-watch in 2022 as he finally made his way to his very-first men’s division grand slam final.
Kyrgios is a tennis genius, winning an ITF Junior World Tennis Tour in 2010 at age 15. He already appeared in a junior grand slam during the 2011 Australian Open.
Unfortunately, his 2022 Wimbledon Championships finals appearance resulted in a loss. However, he proved that he has the capabilities—if healthy—to be a grand slam winner.
Why is it historical: Kyrgios defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2014 Wimbledon and upset former world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev at the 2015 Australian Open and the 2022 US Open.
4. Nadal’s Ability to Turn Things Around
Nadal is considered one of the tennis greats, along with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. They are considered the best in what they do—and for good reasons.
For instance, Nadal’s performance in the Australian Open back in January 2022 was one of our favorite sports moments. He was behind Russian Daniil Medvedev two sets to none, and all seemed bleak. Miraculously, however, he turned the game around, eventually ending the match in the fifth set.
Why is it historical: There are only ten greatest comebacks in men’s tennis, according to Bleacher Report. Moreover, his win over Medvedev is considered historic because he did it to tie with Djokovic and Federer for the most Grand Slam titles with 21.
5. First medal of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team
Hockey is India’s national sport, and the country’s men’s hockey team often makes the headlines. However, in 2022, the women’s team made history by claiming their bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham—an easy choice to be considered one of the top moments in sports.
Why is it historical: For sixteen years, India’s women’s hockey team has wanted to win a medal for their country. Because of a penalty shootout, they brought home a bronze medal for India. It is memorable not only to the country but also to the women who aspired to be recognized in the sport.
6. Best Women’s Rugby
The Women’s Rugby World Cup was supposed to be in 2021. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was postponed.
Nevertheless, the women’s tournament was worth the wait when it resumed in 2022, especially the finals. The match happened last November 12 between New Zealand and England, with the former claiming its fifth title.
Why is it historical: New Zealand was able to make a two-peat. Its first was in 2017 when they faced England 41-32. Fast forward to 2022, the result was still the same, 34-31.
7. England Winning Women’s Euros for the Second Time
England’s women’s football team electrified the audience at Wembley Stadium by showing that they were the champions. In a tournament filled with drama, the Lioness pulled ahead, with Chloe Kelly scoring in a goalmouth scramble.
Why is it historical: The tournament was a center of attraction for football fans. During the first match, it recorded 68,871 attendees—the first from the Women’s Euros. The match between England and Spain was followed by a 7.6 million audience, while the semi-final match against Sweden and England was watched by 9.3 million. The finals were even better; there were 87,192 spectators at the 90,000-seater stadium.
8. Jonas Vingegaard Upsets Tadej Pogačar
Pogačar was expected to emerge the winner in last year’s Tour de France. However, Vingegaard was not willing to have him win another title.
The 26-year-old professional cyclist made an upset by becoming the 2022 Tour de France champion.
Why is it historical: Vingegaard was able to grab his first-ever Grand Tour win. He will be defending his crown in the 2023 Tour de France.
9. Dallas Mavericks’ Comeback vs New York Knicks
The match between the Dallas Mavericks and the New York Knicks put their fans at the edge of their seats, with each Maverick player channeling their inner Tracy McGrady.
The Mavs were down by nine points with 33.2 seconds on the clock. However, Luka Doncic, who recorded 60 pts that game, with the help of his teammates, was able to force it into overtime, where they won 126-121.
Why is it historic: Doncic was not nicknamed “Luka Magic” for nothing. In their match against the Knicks, he made an astonishing 60 points, 21 rebounds, and ten assists, the first in NBA history to have a 60 and 20 performance.
10. Max Verstappen Surpasses Lewis Hamilton
Verstappen, 25, asserted himself as the current best Formula 1 driver by lapping Hamilton in Imola. The young F1 protege, who has gone back-to-back champion, showed how much he has improved. Compared to the 2021 season, where he and Hamilton were toe-to-toe, the 2022 matchup was not even close.
Why is it historical: Hamilton is showing a decline, and Verstappen is on the top list to succeed him.\
Because of how exciting 2022 has been for sports, expect that in 2023, there will be even more historical moments. Donovan Mitchell Jr. of the Cleveland Cavaliers already began the year with a bang as he recorded a 71-point performance against the Chicago Bulls last January 3. He also dropped the franchise record in that game and put his name on the list of highest-scoring performances in the history of the NBA.
For sure, as 2023 progresses, there will be more unforgettable moments in sports that we, fans, will be looking forward to.