Spain captured its first FIFA World Cup, 20-year-old Thomas Muller helped Germany fill up the nets in South Africa and won the Golden Boot and Jose Mourinho led Inter Milan to a historic treble, but most of the truly unforgettable moments from 2010 all took place in an instant.
Although there were certainly other moments, both unforgettable and incredible in the last year, the following are 10 memorable moments -- both good and bad -- in the sport from the last year (in chronological order):
Machine-gunned like dogs
Just a few days into the year, the most unforgettable and unfortunate moment -- although amazingly just two people were killed and eight wounded -- happened in Africa when Togo's national team bus was attacked. The bus was sprayed by bullets for 20 minutes in Angola as the team traveled to participate in the African Cup of Nations, an experience Togo's Thomas Dossevi described as "machine-gunned like dogs." Dossevi added, "There was blood pouring down the bus." A Togo coach and press official were killed and a goalie was left with career-ending injuries.
Messi... just being Messi
Lionel Messi could fill this top 10 list, but we'll limit him to just one spot and select his four-goal showing against Arsenal in April in the last eight of the Champions League. After tying the first game 2-2, Arsenal grabbed the lead with the opening goal in the second leg, before Messi scored four straight to send Barcelona into the semis with a 6-3 aggregate win via a 4-1 victory in the second leg. His third goal was a simple, but brilliant chip shot from 18 yards, easily the most memorable of the bunch. Luckily, we get to enjoy the 23-year-old for a few more years.
Robben's stunning volley
Arjen Robben had no shortage of great goals last season for Bayern Munich, but the most important and stunning came in a 3-2 loss at Manchester United in the Champions League quarterfinals one day after Messi's performance. Off a corner kick, Robben settled under the ball at the top of the 18 to line up his blast, and shot an incredible left-footed volley past a diving Edwin van der Sar and into the lower-left side. Robben's goal lifted Bayern back from a 3-0 deficit for a 3-2 loss in the second leg to put Munich into the semis on away goals.
Kamara's miss of the year
Kei Kamara cemented miss of the year in late April -- and also dropped his name in the hat for worst miss in history -- when he amazingly failed to convert the easiest chance of his life. With the ball bouncing across the goal line, the Kansas City Wizards striker -- under no pressure at all -- whiffed on the ball, slipped and knocked it across the line with his arm. He probably could not do it again if he tried a billion times. The funniest part of the non-goal was that Kamara argued the goal should have stood. Sorry, Kei, but even the ref saw this one.
Green's goalkeeping gaffe
England goalie Robert Green will never forget June 12, 2010, and his teammates and the country's fans will likely never forget the day either. The image of a helpless Green scrambling toward the line after a weak shot from Clint Dempsey trickled off his hands and into the net are unforgettable. The U.S. turned the goal into a 1-1 draw and the top spot in the group. England also advanced, but erase Green's gaffe and the British avoid Germany in the knockout stage of the World Cup -- and a 4-1 defeat -- and have a realistic chance at the semifinals.
Donovan's magical moment
Landon Donovan's stoppage-time winner against Algeria in the final group match of the World Cup in late June is a goal few U.S. fans will ever forget. He put the ball into the net in the closing seconds to provide the lone goal in a 1-0 win to vault the U.S. to the top of the group (ahead of England) and into the last 16. Although the U.S. lost to Ghana in its first knockout game, Donovan's goal captivated the nation -- even if for just a few seconds -- and cemented his spot as one of the top U.S. players ever. It's a goal every player dreams about.
Suarez saves Uruguay
Luis Suarez walked off the pitch with tears in his eyes at Soccer City stadium in South Africa in early July, when the clank of the crossbar sent the Uruguay striker into cheers and made him a national hero. Just moments earlier, Suarez -- a forward -- denied Ghana the winning goal late in stoppage time when he saved the ball off the goal line with his hands. Ghana's Asamoah Gyan hit the bar from the PK spot, sending the game to overtime and later penalty kicks. Gyan converted his second chance, but Uruguay won the shootout to advance to the semifinals.
Iniesta wins Cup in OT
Andres Iniesta scored in the 116th minute to snap a scoreless tie in the World Cup final, handing Spain its first World Cup. Although the goal itself sure doesn't deserve any great plaudits, there was not a more important goal scored in 2010. Iniesta converted a rare chance, taking a pass from Cesc Fabregas and slotting past Netherlands goalie Maarten Stekelenburg to hand Spain a 1-0 win. Although it certainly wasn't the most entertaining final ever, the ending will be hard to forget, as it was just the fourth final ever decided in overtime.
Mexico shocks U.S. women
In the moment, it was one of the biggest upsets in the sport's history when an underdog Mexico edged the top-ranked U.S. women, 2-1, in World Cup qualifying. Although the U.S. later advanced to the Cup by finishing third in CONCACAF and defeating Italy in a two-game playoff, the loss still ranks as one of the most unlikely ever. The U.S. was 24-0-1 all-time against Mexico, but allowed a pair of first-half goals and never really responded. The U.S. may win the World Cup next summer in Germany, but the Mexicans won theirs in November.
World Cup given to Qatar
Can anybody find Qatar on a map? Sure, just ask FIFA. The tiny desert nation -- about the size of Connecticut -- across the Persian Gulf from Iran was selected to host the 2022 World Cup in December in a shocking pick by FIFA. Being in a hostile part of the world and having just one major city sure didn't make FIFA sweat -- even if everyone else will (fans and players) with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Qatar. More upsetting than hosting? Qatar, which has never advanced to the Cup, gets an automatic berth as host. Nice call, FIFA.