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2012 in review – Part 1: Messi scoops Ballon d’Or, Zambia, Dortmund, Atleti & City triumph

January 3, 2013 By Angela Asante
As another chapter in this 21st century closes, the time has come to roll back the calendar year from January to December and look at the top 20 things that happened in 12 months during 2012.

Lionel Messi won the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or on January 9, 2012.In Part 1 of 4 pieces, we recall Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or triumph, Zambia’s historic Africa Cup of Nations success, Borussia Dortmund’s domestic double, Atletico Madrid’s great 2011/12 season and Manchester City’s nail-biting finish in the English Premier League.  

1. Lionel Messi wins third straight FIFA Ballon d’Or

January 9, 2012 – La Pulga, at only 24 years of age, went on to win his third Ballon d’Or award on the trot. The previous year, he beat 2010 FIFA World Cup winners and Barcelona team mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta to clinch the prize.


Throughout the year 2011, La Pulga proved to the world why he was on top of it although a portion of football analysts and fans wanted the coveted FIFA Ballon d’Or of the 2010 edition to land in the hands of Spain’s Xavi and Iniesta or even Holland’s Wesley Sneijder. 

Majestic performances from Lionel Messi fired Barcelona to glory in La Liga, the Champions League, the Supercopa de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. All these glorious moments happened in 2011, leaving Lionel Messi as the genuine contender for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or. He gathered 47.88% votes. Cristiano Ronaldo (21.6%) and Xavi (9.23%) finished second and third respectively.

2. Zambia crowned 2012 AFCON championsZambia became African champions on February 13, 2012 after defeating Ivory Coast.

February 13, 2012 – The Chipolopolo of Zambia were destined to make history in Gabon-Equatorial Guinea. The 1993 Zambia national football team air disaster which happened 547 yards offshore from Libreville was the source of the 2012 AFCON squad’s success recipe.

With Herve Renard on their side as coach and Christopher Katongo as captain, the Zambian team went all the way to the final where they met hot favourites Cote d’Ivoire.

An extended penalty shootout session in the ultimate battle tested everyone’s nerves. In the end, the Chipolopolo gunned down the Elephants to lift the crown in honour of the 25 souls.

3. Borussia Dortmund stun Bayern to a domestic double

Borussia Dortmund won both the German Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal at Bayern Munchen's expense in 2012.April 21, 2012 – FC Bayern München is the biggest and best team in the history of German football without a shadow of a doubt.

Hence, when they went into the winter break at the top of the Bundesliga table in the 2011-12 season, they were expected to be crowned German champions. However, poor form between January and March saw a confident Borussia Dortmund take the lead, one which they never let go of.

Some slips allowed Bayern to come back into the race but Dortmund beat out the Bavarians in a contest between the two, effectively sealing the title. Their historic title win (because they recorded the highest points tally in the history of the Bundesliga) was just a taste of what was about to come. 

May 12, 2012 – A week prior to the Champions League finale, FC Bayern played BVB in Berlin in the DFB Pokal finale. After an even forty minutes, Dortmund took charge and never looked back. They won 5-2 with a hat-trick from Robert Lewandowski. The Bavarians looked on in disbelief. A young Dortmund side, devoid of the financial clout of a major club like Bayern, took the domestic competitions by storm and won a historic double.

4. Falcao-led Atletico clinch Europa League and UEFA Super Cup gloryRadamel Falcao inspired Atletico Madrid to glory in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup in 2012.

May 9, 2012 – Atletico Madrid had a terrific 2011/12 season with apparently more ups than downs. They finished fifth in the Spanish Primera Division and took their chances in the UEFA Europa League by beating teams like Celtic and Lazio on their way to an all-Spanish final against Athletic Bilbao. 

This glamorous fixture in Bucharest proved to be a one-sided affair as Real Madrid’s city rivals registered an entertaining 3-0 victory. 

One man in particular emerged as the star of the team during the entire campaign: Colombia’s Radamel Falcao, also known as El Tigre. The striker, who finished third behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2012 Pichichi race, scored a total of 36 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions last season. 

August 31, 2012 – With the same hunger for goals and glory, El Tigre shined in the UEFA Super Cup final against UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea. A hat-trick by Falcao acclaimed Atletico Madrid as the overall champions of Europe in Monaco.

5. Manchester City clinch EPL title on Matchday 38

Manchester City won the 2011/12 English Premier League title on May 13, 2012.May 13, 2012 – A few weeks before the end of the 2011/12 English Premier League season, it looked like Manchester United would win the title hands down. Indeed, the Red Devils went 8 points above their noisy neighbours by April. 

However, the Citizens finished the campaign strongly while Man United progressively crumbled under pressure in the latter stage. The two-horse race went all the way to Matchday 38 with Manchester City needing three points against Queens Park Rangers to claim the title as Man United had beaten Sunderland in the day’s other fixture. Defeat was looming at the Etihad Stadium a few moments away from the final whistle. 

However, a 92nd minute equalizer by Edin Dzeko reinstalled hope within the home crowd. Shortly after, Argentine striker Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero set the place on fire with a 94th minute winner which broke the heart of Manchester United’s club and fans worldwide. The 3-2 victory against QPR meant relief for Roberto Mancini and glory for the so-called ‘noisy neighbours’.

Next2012 in review – Part 2: Madrid hit 100, Chelsea clinch UCL, Spain triumph & two surprises

Written by Samrin Hasib and Angela Asante.





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Group A
Jun 14 11:00amMoscow
Russia 5 - 0 Saudi Arabia
Jun 15 8:00amYekaterinburg
Egypt 0 - 1 Uruguay
Jun 19 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Russia vs Egypt
Jun 20 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
Jun 25 10:00amVolgograd
Saudi Arabia vs Egypt
Jun 25 10:00amSamara
Uruguay vs Russia
Group B
Jun 15 11:00amSaint Petersburg
Morocco 0 - 1 Iran
Jun 15 2:00pmSochi
Portugal 3 - 3 Spain
Jun 20 8:00amMoscow
Portugal vs Morocco
Jun 20 2:00pmKazan
Iran vs Spain
Jun 25 2:00pmSaransk
Iran vs Portugal
Jun 25 2:00pmKaliningrad
Spain vs Morocco
Group C
Jun 16 6:00amKazan
France 2 - 1 Australia
Jun 16 12:00pmSaransk
Peru 0 - 1 Denmark
Jun 21 8:00amSamara
Denmark vs Australia
Jun 21 11:00amYekaterinburg
France vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amSochi
Australia vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amMoscow
Denmark vs France
Group D
Jun 16 9:00amMoscow
Argentina 1 - 1 Iceland
Jun 16 3:00pmKaliningrad
Croatia 2 - 0 Nigeria
Jun 21 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Argentina vs Croatia
Jun 22 11:00amVolgograd
Nigeria vs Iceland
Jun 26 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Iceland vs Croatia
Jun 26 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Nigeria vs Argentina
Group E
Jun 17 8:00amSamara
Costa Rica 0 - 1 Serbia
Jun 17 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Brazil 1 - 1 Switzerland
Jun 22 8:00amSaint Petersburg
Brazil vs Costa Rica
Jun 22 2:00pmKaliningrad
Serbia vs Switzerland
Jun 27 2:00pmMoscow
Serbia vs Brazil
Jun 27 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Switzerland vs Costa Rica
Group F
Jun 17 11:00amMoscow
Germany 0 - 1 Mexico
Jun 18 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
Sweden vs Korea Republic
Jun 23 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Korea Republic vs Mexico
Jun 23 2:00pmSochi
Germany vs Sweden
Jun 27 10:00amKazan
Korea Republic vs Germany
Jun 27 10:00amYekaterinburg
Mexico vs Sweden
Group G
Jun 18 11:00amSochi
Belgium vs Panama
Jun 18 2:00pmVolgograd
Tunisia vs England
Jun 23 8:00amMoscow
Belgium vs Tunisia
Jun 24 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
England vs Panama
Jun 28 2:00pmKaliningrad
England vs Belgium
Jun 28 2:00pmSaransk
Panama vs Tunisia
Group H
Jun 19 8:00amSaransk
Colombia vs Japan
Jun 19 11:00amMoscow
Poland vs Senegal
Jun 24 11:00amYekaterinburg
Japan vs Senegal
Jun 24 2:00pmKazan
Poland vs Colombia
Jun 28 10:00amVolgograd
Japan vs Poland
Jun 28 10:00amSamara
Senegal vs Colombia
Knockout Stage

Round of 16
Jun 30 10:00amKazan
[1C] vs [2D]
Jun 30 2:00pmSochi
[1A] vs [2B]
Jul 1 10:00amMoscow
[1B] vs [2A]
Jul 1 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
[1D] vs [2C]
Round of 16
Jul 2 10:00amSamara
[1E] vs [2F]
Jul 2 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
[1G] vs [2H]
Jul 3 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[1F] vs [2E]
Jul 3 2:00pmMoscow
[1H] vs [2G]
Quarter Final
Jul 6 10:00amNizhny Novgorod
[W49] vs [W50]
Jul 6 2:00pmKazan
[W53] vs [W54]
Jul 7 10:00amSamara
[W55] vs [W56]
Jul 7 2:00pmSochi
[W51] vs [W52]
Jul 10 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
[W57] vs [W58]
Jul 11 2:00pmMoscow
[W59] vs [W60]
Third place match
Jul 14 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[L61] vs [L62]
Jul 15 11:00amMoscow
Final: FIFA World Cup 2018