These men’s and women’s matches are aces in tennis lore.
Finals encapsulate everything that makes watching live sport so compelling.
Often dramatic, they act as a crescendo to the season and the defining moments of a year – or in some cases years – of hard work for the athletes and coaches involved.
They also offer athletes a shot at immortality, the chance to be remembered as a hero forever to an army of fans who’ll regale friends and family of the time they witnessed history unfold in front of their eyes.
As with every sport, where there’s a winner there’s also a loser and, as many athletes will tell you, there’s nothing worse than losing a final.
It’s this balance of pain vs glory that makes finals so compelling to watch – even if your team is not involved – and explains why hundreds of thousands pay to attend and millions more watch at home.
At a time where sport has had to take a prolonged break, we’ve picked out ten of the most memorable finals in history for fans to relive and enjoy.
The greatest moment in English football. The 1966 World Cup final and those who played in it will forever go down in history.
England have only ever lifted the World Cup once, and the rarity of the achievement has ensured that the players who played on that sunny day at the old Wembley Stadium will always be remembered as heroes.
It’s worth noting that many reading this will not have been born to witness this match, which was an absolute barnstormer.
After West Germany’s Helmut Heller made it 1-0 in the first half, Geoff Hurst popped up with a header to make it 1-1 before the break. Martin Peters then made it 2-1 to England, before Wolfgang Weber’s 89th-minute equaliser took the match to extra time.
The rest, as they say, is history, with England taking the lead and then finishing the job with two goals from Hurst, with the final goal leading BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme to utter the immortal chill-inducing, “And here comes Hurst. He’s got… some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over. It is now! It’s four!”
Watch the highlights below, or if you’ve got two hours spare, check out the full match HERE
This was the year in which Serena Williams overtook her older sister Venus to become the greatest female tennis player in the world.
After defeating Venues in the French Open final the previous month, fans could feel the tide turning in the sibling rivalry and Serena on the verge of becoming the dominant force in tennis.
Venus was the defending champion but Serena showed no mercy, dispatching her sister in straight sets whilst being watched by their parents from the Centre Court stands.
Immediately following the match, Serena moved up to No.1 on the world rankings for the first time and she would go on to win the next two major tournaments in the US and Australia, becoming only the sixth ever female player to hold all four major trophies at one time.
Check out the highlights below:
Fans back home became so invested in England’s road to glory at the 2003 Rugby World Cup that the UK government granted pubs special licenses to open in the morning, so the masses could congregate to watch the matches taking place 11 hours ahead in Australia.
After England dispatched France in the semi-final – which led to wild scenes on Britain’s high streets, to the bemusement of Saturday afternoon shoppers – Australia defeated arch-rivals New Zealand, setting up a showdown at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
The final was a tightly contested affair, going into extra time before England’s Johnny Wilkinson scored an era-defining last-minute drop goal to earn his team the victory, sending millions of fans back home berserk.
Watch the highlights below, or if you’ve got the time, check out the full match HERE
Wimbledon’s second entry on this list is not only one of the most epic tennis matches of all time, it’s also probably the most epic final of any individual sport of all time.
In July 2008, Spaniard Rafa Nadal was on the hunt for his first Wimbledon title, and to reach his goal, he’d had to defeat arguably the greatest player to ever hold a racquet, Roger Federer.
After 35-minute rain delay, Nadal roared into the lead, taking the first two sets of the match, 6-4 6-4.
Showing his true class, Federer then rallied, and after another rain break took the next two sets 5-7 5-7.
The final set, threatened throughout with the suspension of play on a pre-roofed Centre Court, will go down as of the most epic in the history of the game, which eventually saw Nadal defeat the Swiss legend.
Watch the extended highlights below or the full six-hour epic HERE
For two weeks in Summer 2012, London hosted a spectacle of sport which brought the country together as they turned up in their millions to watch the world’s greatest athletes achieve their wildest dreams.
Perhaps the defining day of the Summer Olympic Games was Saturday 4 August, which saw 12 British athletes win gold medals, earning the deserved title of Super Saturday.
The heart of the action took place at the Olympic Stadium in East London where, over 44 extraordinary minutes, Greg Rutherford, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis Hill all won gold medals.
Check out Jessica Ennis Hills’s highlights from the Heptahalon final below:
As the US national team continue their strive for pay parity, here’s a chance to remind the world of their accomplishments in a sport which is growing exponentially in their home country – a development for which they deserve the lion’s share of the credit.
After finishing as runners-up in the previous tournament, the US team went into 2015’s World Cup as one of the favourites to win the competition.
With the tournament held in Canada, thousands of Americans – including President Obama – got right behind the team with the chant “I believe that we will win” becoming a firm part of the average American’s lexicon.
After defeating Germany in the semi-finals, USA came flying out of the traps in the final against Japan, netting four times in 16 minutes with Carli Lloyd nabbing herself a hat-trick.
The win meant the US team became the first Women’s team to win three World Cups, with them adding a fourth in 2019.
Check out the highlights below:
NFL’s popularity has absolutely exploded on UK shores over the past decade, helped in no small part by the league’s dedication to bringing teams over for the annual international series.
The Super Bowl is an annual late-night affair for UK fans which, if the game isn’t an exciting watch, can test the stamina of even the most ardent supporter.
Luckily for all, 2015’s Super Bowl XLIX was not one of those occasions.
The Tom Brady-led Pats, who enjoy a huge UK following, defeated the Seattle Seahawks with one of the most thrilling fourth-quarter comebacks in the history of the game.
Super Bowl XLIX was also highly memorable for its halftime show, which featured pop sensation Katy Perry and introduced the world to left shark.
Check out the full highlights of the game below, or watch the full match HERE
When LeBron James left the Miami Heat in 2014 for his hometown club Cleveland Cavaliers – shocking the world of basketball – he made one promise, he was going to deliver the team’s long-suffering fans an NBA Championship.
Two years later, he made good on that promise.
After a standout season in which the Cavaliers finished with the best record in the East, the team headed into the playoffs, brushing aside all challengers and setting up a final with the defending champions, the Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors took a 3-1 game lead in the series before, buoyed by two incredible performances by James, the Cavs managed to take games 5 and 6, setting up a final showdown in Game 7.
LeBron posted a triple-double in the decider, spearheading his team’s comeback and earning Cleveland their first-ever NBA Championship.
Check out the highlights below:
If Liverpool fans think they’ve had it bad, the Chicago Cubs had to wait 108 years to win the highest honour in baseball again.
The long-suffering franchise hadn’t won the World Series since 1908, but after defeating the much-fancied Los Angeles Dodgers in six games in the previous round, fans dared to dream as a World Series matchup against the Cleveland Indians loomed.
The Cubs started poorly, losing 6-0 to the Indians in Game 1, before pulling the series back in Game 2. The Indians then took games 3 and 4, before the Cubs took games 5 and 6 to set up a hugely gripping Game 7.
In a four and a half hour epic at the Indians home stadium, which included a gut-wrenching rain delay after the ninth inning, the Cubs took the lead in the tenth, before managing to run the Indians out, sparking wild scenes on the field and back home in Chicago.
Check out the highlights below, or watch the full five-hour epic HERE
One of the greatest things about finals is that no matter who the favourite is, or what form a team is in, anyone can raise their game on the day and upset the odds.
That’s exactly what happened at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Netball final between Australia and England.
With the games held in their home country, Australia were expected to defeat Tracey Neville’s England side and go on to retain their gold medal from Glasgow 2014.
England, on the other hand, had a different idea.
With the match level at 51-51, Helen Housby scored a penalty in the final second, sparking scenes of absolute euphoria for the England players and despair for their Australian counterparts.
The match captured the imagination of the public, and netball has since enjoyed a huge boost in participation rates among men and women.
Check out the nail-biting end to the match below:
Often described as the greatest match in the history of one-day cricket, England took home the 2019 World Cup in the most dramatic way on home soil.
The entire country went absolutely barmy over cricket in summer 2019, as host cities welcomed fans from all over the globe to watch their heroes competing in the sport’s most prestigious one-day tournament.
After beating Australia in the semi-final, England set up a final match against New Zealand at Lord’s, with many cautiously predicting that England would win fairly comfortably.
After the two teams ended the match on 241 runs each, a Super Over was required, with both teams needing to reach 16 runs to take home the tile.
After Stokes and Butler scored 15 for England, Guptill and James Neesham went to bat for New Zealand, and in the most dramatic of fashions could also only achieve 15 runs, meaning England won the match and subsequently the whole tournament with their superior boundary count.
Check out the highlights below: