Anyone who managed to keep their excitement levels under control throughout 2011 can not have been following events closely on planet football. The beautiful game provided enough highlights over the past 12 months to keep even the most ardent football fan happy.
So, as we approach the end of another fantastic year for football, we invite to you to cast your mind back to the year's most special moments.
From the excitement of the FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cups in Mexico and Colombia to the spectacular FIFA Women's World Cup™ in Germany, and from the pulsating FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna to Barcelona's crowning glory at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan - the world's most popular sport had something for everyone in 2011.
Of course every fan has his or her own personal moment to treasure from the year gone by. Perhaps your favourite club avoided relegation or your idol netted a goal to remember. Maybe even you yourself saved a crucial penalty for your local side. Sometimes it's the little things which arouse the greatest enthusiasm.
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There were plenty of surprises in 2011 too. Who would have thought 12 months ago that Japan would overcome the powerhouses of Europe and America to triumph at Germany 2011, providing some welcome relief those affected by the devastating earthquakes in the country earlier in the year. Similarly, who would have tipped Russia to knock Brazil off their perch at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna?
Neither could many have predicted Uruguay's success at the Copa America, where La Celeste trumped their more illustrious neighbours Brazil and Argentina for the second time following their fourth-place finish at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. How about Barcelona's gala showings in the finals of both the UEFA Champions League (3-1 versus Manchester United) and the FIFA Club World Cup (4-0 versus Santos)? Even the reigning European champions themselves must have been taken aback by their own imperious form.
The euphoric scenes following Mexico's victory at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2011 on home turf and Brazil's first trophy in eight years at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia were further special moments in a year packed with highlights. So it's time to make your choice: what was your favourite footballing memory of 2011?
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