Top Wembley Moments
Reviewing the most iconic football moments under the famous arches ahead of the new Powerleague Wembley
There is no denying there is something special about Wembley. The stadium is etched in to footballing history, hosting countless national, european and international competitions.
With Powerleague Wembley opening what will be the finest 5-a-side facility in the UK, we want to remember the national stadium’s most iconic moments. There have been numerous last minute victories, late heartbreaks and spectacular finishes across the years, and we plan to breakdown the most memorable to celebrate the opening of our brand new club.
There should be no surprises on the inclusion of our first entry. Simply the finest moment in English footballing history: the World Cup lifted on home soil. The England squad had marched to the final on the 30th July whilst conceding only one goal, the sturdy backline only broken by a penalty from the talented Portuguese forward Eusebio. The nation was optimistic ahead of their encounter with the free-scoring West Germany side, yet it would be a rollercoaster of emotions for the 96,924 that squeezed in to the packed stadium.
Germany’s early lead was short lived as Geoff Hurst grabbed his first, of what would be the first ever world cup final hat trick, to equalize for England. England took the lead with only ten minutes remaining, courtesy of West Ham’s Martin Peters, however an injury time Germany goal sent the game to extra time.
The next half an hour would be amongst the most significant in English history, as the mercurial Hurst grabbed another before adding a controversial third in the dying embers. The goal to seal the hat trick is still talked about till this day, with the ball striking the underside of the bar before bouncing eerily back in to play. The Hungarian officials deemed it to be over the line as England clinched an emphatic 4-2 victory over the Germans.
England were world champions for the first time ever, made even the sweeter by the fact they won it on home soil, and with that captain Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy will forever be Wembley’s proudest moment.
The next moment to remember still includes the sheer pride, emotion and glory as the last. However, it is likely to be seen in a slightly different light.
The ‘Auld enemy’ clash between England and Scotland is as passionate as a sports stadium can get. We only need to look back a few weeks to highlight the raw emotion between the two sides as they played out a frantic 2-2 draw at Hampden. Rewind thirty years and Wembley took this atmosphere to another level.
On their way to a second successive World Cup, Scotland travelled to Wembley with a squad that’s optimism has yet to be matched since. They ran out comfortable 2-1 winners over Don Revie’s England side, with McQueen and Dalgleish scoring goals that sent Scotland fans delirious. On the full time whistle, the Tartan Army mobbed the park, they wanted a party on the Wembley turf. Images are still shared to this day of the Scotland fans proudly perching upon the Wembley goal.
Not so memorable for the home team, but this was undoubtedly one of the most iconic moments in the stadiums long history.
Barcelona F.C are inarguably a superpower of world football. Yet, it may come surprising that their first European Cup never came until 1992. The 1-0 win over Sampadoria at Wembley stadium is one of the club’s finest hours, and many more have followed in recent years.
The Spanish side, featuring stars such as Michael Laudrup and Pep Guardiola, played out a 90 minute stalemate with the stern Italians, the 70,000 inside the stadium unsure if they would see goal even in to extra time. It would take something special.
Ronald Koeman, currently manager of Everton, was an integral part of the side. The Dutchman executed the sweeper role for the European champions perfectly, yet it was the strike more alike to a forwards’ which would write him in to Barca’s history books.
No stranger to a dead-ball, Koeman set the ball 25 yards from goal before firing an unstoppable hit beyond Gianluca Pagliuca in the Sampadoria goal. The free kick sealed the win for the Catalan side, and Wembley witnessed the first of what is currently five European cup wins for the Blaugrana.
Next up is another clash between the Auld Enemy. The European Championships of 1996 pitched the two sides in the same group, and the game at Wembley was highly anticipated.
The sun was out in London, and that could perhaps be used as an excuse for the Scots as they struggled to acclimatize to both the weather and the occasion. England were comfortable 2-0 winners, Shearer grabbing the first before the talisman Paul Gascoigne sealing the game shortly after.
‘Gazza’s’ goal highlighted how important he was to the team, and is still one of the most iconic moments for the national team to date. Picking the ball 30 yards from goal, he seared forward towards goal. Unconventionally (as he always was) he lofted the ball over the oncoming defender before catching the descending ball on the volley low in to the goal, leaving Scotland’s Andy Goram helpless.
The goal helped England top the group, before making it to the semifinal where the Three Lions would only miss out on the final through penalty heartbreak.
Only a year later, Wembley witnessed yet another spectacular strike to enter the history books. FA Cup finals always had that magic touch, and on that day it was Chelsea’s afternoon. It only took 35 seconds to know that.
The Blues took on Middlesborough, looking for their first piece of silverware in 27 years. With the Teeside club taking kick off, it becomes harder to believe that they conceded in under a minute, but after losing possession in the opposition half, Chelsea countered quickly with Italian midfielder Roberto Di Matteo picking the ball up in his own half, before unleashing a powerful right footed strike that crashed in off the bar.
At the time, it was the fastest ever FA cup final goal, and fastest ever at Wembley. Chelsea went on to clinch the cup with a 2-0 win, with five following since.
Chelsea have grown in to a dominant force of the English game within the last decade or so, and it was exactly 10 years ago when they flexed that muscle to pip Manchester United to the FA Cup.
This was the first FA cup final in the ‘new’ Wembley, after years of renovation. Two sides with incredibly strong squads could not be separated within 90 minutes, and it comes as no surprise who rose to the occasion.
Didier Drogba is universally known as a big game player, and we can see exactly why looking back on his 116th minute strike to send the Chelsea fans in to raptures of celebration. A neat lob over Edwin Van Der Sar clinched a cup double for the Blues, and set the benchmark for future cup finals at the upgraded national stadium.
Fast forward ten years from Drogba’s strike, Chelsea marched in to the FA Cup final at Wembley as deserved League Champions. Antonio Conte’s side were confident of ending a fantastic season with their second trophy, however the under-pressure Arsene Wenger had other ideas.
Wenger’s Arsenal had adjusted to a 3-4-3 tactic towards the end of the season, and finished the campaign strongly despite missing out on top 4 for the first time in 21 years. Conte’s side set the trend for the fluid formation throughout the season, yet seemed to struggle to match the Gunners in large parts of the final.
The game sprung in to life after only 4 minutes, with Arsenal’s often-reliable Alexis Sanchez breaking the deadlock. It took another 70 minutes before Chelsea responded with top scorer Diego Costa leveling the game for the pre match favourites.
However, the Gunners caught the title winners on the back foot shortly after with Olivier Giroud teasing the ball high across the penalty area before Aaron Ramsey headed home. The goal was as important as any other in the previous 21 years for boss Arsene Wenger as it sealed a third FA cup in four years for his side, after going a barren run of 10 years prior without a trophy. The win set a record of 13 FA cups for Arsenal and Wenger was rewarded with a new contract after months of heavily debated speculation.