2010-2019: A review of the decade including London 2012, Ben Stokes' heroics, the World Cup and more

Frank Lampard's disallowed goal sparked change in football
Frank Lampard's disallowed goal sparked change in football

It was the decade that gave us Super Saturday and a Super Over.

There were multiple heroes on one red letter day at the London 2012 Olympics - Saturday, August 4 - as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford, roared on by an expectant home crowd, ignited the home Games.

It set the tone for the remainder of the Olympics, and the Paralympic Games which followed, for home success and a sense of unity and inclusivity that feels difficult to grasp now in a polarised political landscape.

Mo Farah was part of 'Super Saturday' at London 2012
Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford during 'Super Saturday' at London 2012

The spirit of inclusion was in short supply for the England football team at the start of the decade. In 2010 the Three Lions were as out of tune with their supporters as the vuvuzelas which provided the soundtrack to the first African World Cup.

Frank Lampard's disallowed goal which paved the way for goal-line technology aside, the abiding memory of the tournament was Wayne Rooney shouting at England fans down a camera lens after an uninspiring goalless draw with Algeria.

Fast forward to 2018 and a young, humble team were embraced by the nation as they fell short of World Cup glory, but rekindled the spirit of Italia 90. The credit goes to Gareth Southgate and the team around the England manager - perhaps next summer Southgate will come full circle after his penalty misery at Euro 96.

England manager Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate

The women's game ended the decade on a high with England and Scotland both qualifying for the World Cup in France earlier this summer.

Phil Neville's Lionesses fell to eventual winners the United States in the semi-finals, but the decade to come promises to be one of exponential growth for women's football at grassroots, club and international level.

In the men's club game, Sir Alex Ferguson's long reign at Manchester United finally came to an end in 2013 and ushered in a period of dominance for their "noisy neighbours" City, bankrolled by billionaire Sheikh Mansour and inspired by Pep Guardiola.

Liverpool ended the decade as the strongest force in the English game having won the 2019 Champions League title and looking well on course for a first English league crown since 1990.

The surprise success of the decade were Leicester. No one saw their Premier League title triumph coming in 2016, although the Foxes under Brendan Rodgers head into 2020 as the closest challengers to Liverpool.

In Scotland, a rebuilt Rangers ended the decade back challenging Celtic after financial difficulties forced the old Rangers club to be liquidated.

Arguably the single most inspirational story of the decade has its origins in Scotland, too.

Andy Murray came up short in heartbreaking fashion in the 2012 Wimbledon final but wiped away the tears to win two Olympic gold medals in singles and mixed doubles. He then became the first Briton to win the men's singles title at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936 the following year.

He won it again in 2016, but this year began with further tears at the Australian Open, when it appeared a hip problem would force him to quit.

He heads into the 2020s with renewed hope, after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery.

Andy Murray won Wimbledon twice with Ivan Lendl as his coach
Andy Murray carried the torch for British tennis with two Wimbledon victories

And so to cricket, and that champagne Super Over.

Ben Stokes composed an unforgettable and unbeaten 84 not out to set up the additional, nail-biting six balls in the World Cup final against New Zealand in July. Even then the teams could not be separated, with England's higher boundary count in their 50 overs proving decisive.

Stokes was not done - he would go on to build one of the greatest Test innings of all time to level the third Ashes Test against Australia. It is a shame only that those heroics did not prevent the tourists ultimately retaining the urn.

Lewis Hamilton dominated the decade in Formula One, winning five of the last six championships including 2019. Two more titles and he will stand above Michael Schumacher as the most successful driver the series has ever known.

Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams both used London 2012 as the springboard to success in boxing's professional ranks. Joshua regained his world titles in December from Andy Ruiz, but Adams was forced to quit in November after fears over her eyesight.

Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating Andy Ruiz Jr
Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating Andy Ruiz Jr

Europe were the dominant force in the Ryder Cup, with the 'Miracle of Medinah' comeback victory in 2012 the most memorable of the four successes over the United States, who won just once in 2016.

Wales and Ireland won three Six Nations titles each, with Warren Gatland's men also securing two grand slams. England looked set to break southern hemisphere dominance in the World Cup earlier this year when they overcame the mighty All Blacks to reach the final, but fell at the final hurdle to South Africa.

So what do we have to look forward to in the decade ahead?

In football, England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland will all host games at Euro 2020, the 2021 Women's Euros take place in England and the UK and Ireland will discover in 2024 whether they have succeeded in securing hosting rights for the 2030 centenary World Cup.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham offer the UK the chance to host a multi-sport event again.

We can only hope that those events feature such super moments as we have witnessed in the last 10 years to fire the imagination of a new generation of sports fans.

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