Top 20 sporting moments of 2022: Lionel Messi, Iga Swiatek, Aaron Judge, Rachael Blackmore and more

From Lionel Messi's World Cup triumph to Iga Swiatek's indomitable unbeaten run, there was certainly no shortage of great sporting stories in 2022.

Here, Planet Sport takes a closer look at the top 20 moments. 

20 - Italy beat Wales in the Six Nations

Italy ended their six-year winless run against Tier 1 nations with a dramatic 22-21 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium in the Six Nations.

Edoardo Padovani scored the winning try in the final minute of the game - a moment which has seemingly revitalised Italian rugby.

The Italian commentary of the winning moment will certainly give you goosebumps!

19 - Netherlands knock South Africa out of T20 World Cup

Arguably the biggest shock from the cricketing world came during the T20 World Cup as the Netherlands knocked out South Africa.

The Proteas needed a win to progress to the semi-finals, but they failed to break down a resilient Dutch attack and ended up slumping to a 13-run defeat.

18 - Matt Fitzpatrick wins US Open

Matt Fitzpatrick claimed his maiden Major title at the US Open after edging Will Zalatoris by a single stroke.

The Englishman won the event at the Country Club of Brookline - coincidentally the same venue as his US Amateur Championship in 2013.

Fitzpatrick became the second English winner of the US Open since 1970. His run included a remarkable shot on the 72nd hole as he found the green from a tricky fairway bunker.

17 - Samoa beat England in RL World Cup semi-final

Samoa made sporting history after picking up a thrilling 27-26 Golden Point victory over England in the Rugby League World Cup semi-final.

Streets in Samoa filled with joyous fans who celebrated the heroic efforts of their players.

The country, with a population of just over 200,000, ended up losing in the final against Australia. Nevertheless, their run to the final will be remembered for years to come.

16 - England whitewash Pakistan in historic tour

England's cricket team made history by embarking on their first tour of Pakistan since 2005.

Ben Stokes and his men certainly delivered an unforgettable performance as England powered to a 3-0 series victory.

Arguably the best moment of the series came in the final Test as 18-year-old debutant Rehan Ahmed produced an astounding five-wicket haul.

15 - Ronnie O'Sullivan wins seventh world title

Ronnie O'Sullivan, Snooker World Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan claimed an unprecedented seventh world title in 2022 after beating Judd Trump at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The 47-year-old equalled Steve Davis's record 30 appearances at the Crucible, reached a record 20th quarter-final and a record 13th semi-final. He also became the oldest world champion in the sport's history.

Most importantly, he equalled Stephen Hendry's modern-era record of seven-world titles.

14 - Jiri Prochazka defeats Glover Teixeira at UFC 275

UFC fans were treated to arguably one of the greatest fights in recent history as Jiri Prochazka defeated Glover Teixeira at UFC 275 in Singapore.

The Czech fighter only had two prior UFC outings under his belt, yet he was able to submit his veteran rival with just 28 seconds remaining in the final round.

Both men tore each other to shreds throughout the contest and provided one of the most thrilling bouts in years.

13 - England RL Wheelchair team win World Cup

One of the most incredible sporting moments of 2022 came in the final of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup final between England and France.

With three minutes remaining, the match was still on a knife-edge with the score locked at 24-24.

Tom Halliwell then stepped up to the mark and produced a sterling individual effort to send the capacity crowd into raptures.

The match ended in a 28-24 victory for England, but it's worth saying that the tournament as a whole marked a massive win for disability sport.

12 - Rachael Blackmore wins Cheltenham Gold Cup

Rachael Blackmore became the first ever female jockey to win the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

The 33-year-old was already the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle and Grand National, but added the Gold Cup triumph to her resume courtesy of A Plus Tard.

11 - Christian Eriksen's comeback

Christian Eriksen was left fighting for his life after collapsing on the pitch during a Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland.

Following his cardiac arrest, the player was fitted with a heart defibrillator and banned from playing in Italy.

While many clubs were hesitant to sign him, Brentford offered Eriksen a return to football in 2022. The Dane officially returned to the sport on February 26 as a second-half substitute against Newcastle.

Despite a 2-0 defeat, his return to the field was without doubt one of the moments of the year.

10 - England win T20 World Cup

England's Ben Stokes celebrates with the trophy after winning the T20 World Cup Final

England's 12-year wait for a T20 World Cup crown came to an end in Australia last November.

A rejuvenated side under the stewardship of Matthew Mott finished second in the Super 12 before beating India in the semi-final.

England then got the better of Pakistan in the final, with Ben Stokes producing his maiden T20I fifty to secure the title at the MCG.

9 - Gerwyn Price hits two nine darters in one night

Back in 1984, John Lowe hit the first ever televised nine-darter. Since then, the rare sporting feat has been captured by TV cameras 71 times.

Incredibly, Gerwyn Price was able to treat fans to two nine-darters in one night back in February.

The Welshman sent the Belfast crowd into pandemonium after romping to victory on night three of the Premier League.

8 - Saudi Arabia beat Argentina at FIFA World Cup

Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates scoring

There are many moments from the 2022 World Cup which could have made our list, but the single biggest upset has to go to Saudi Arabia.

Herve Renard's side were 1-0 down at half-time against Argentina in their group stage opener as the eventual World Cup winners appeared to be heading for victory.

However, following an inspiring speech from the French coach, the Middle East outfit was able to mount a historic comeback to claim a shock 2-1 win.

7 - Aaron Judge breaks home run record

If you could sum up the baseball season in two words it would be Aaron Judge.

The player dominated MLB headlines with his incredible performances and off-field matters.

However, Judge will go down in history after producing one of the greatest single-season performances in baseball, smashing Roger Maris's American League record with 62 home runs.

6 - Dmitry Bivol beats Canelo Alvarez

Few gave Dmitry Bivol a chance when he squared off in the ring with the legendary four-division world champion Canelo Alvarez.

Nevertheless, the undefeated Russian produced an outstanding performance to beat the Mexican by unanimous decision in Nevada, USA.

Bivol out-landed his opponent in every round, landing a total 152 punches compared to Alvarez's 84. The 31-year-old is now rightfully considered as one of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters.

5 - Rich Strike wins Kentucky Derby

Rich Strike not only won the 2022 Kentucky Derby but did so as the second-biggest longshot in the history of the 148-year old race.

The American thoroughbred was priced at 80/1 and had to take on a field which many regarded as the deepest in recent history.

Trainer Eric Reed is said to have collapsed in the paddock following the shock victory.

4 - Iga Swiatek's winning run

Iga Swiatek at the WTA Agel Open - Oct 2022

The greatest winning streak of the year goes to Iga Swiatek who went unbeaten for 37 games, 135 days and six tournaments.

The 21-year-old Pole was in rampant form from February to July and produced the longest undefeated run - in women's tennis - in a quarter of a century.

Alize Cornet ended that run at Wimbledon with a 6-4 6-2 win in the third round. Nevertheless, Swiatek's Undertaker-like effort will live long in the memory.

3 - Man City's comeback against Aston Villa

Manchester City are no strangers to dramatic title wins *enter Sergio Aguero's goal against QPR in 2012*.

Their 2021/22 Premier League title victory certainly followed that same path as the Citizens came back from two goals down to beat Aston Villa on the final day of the season.

Three goals in five minutes late in the match turned the title rice on its head. Ilkay Gundogan's brace and Rodri's goal closed out a thrilling final day and denied Liverpool the title. 

Just thinking about it brings back goosebumps.

2 - Lionesses win European Championships

The 2022 Euros became a historic tournament for women's football.

Over 570,000 fans attended matches while the event also received unprecedented media exposure.

Millions of viewers tuned in on television as England's Lionesses claimed a famous 2-1 home win over Germany.

Chloe Kelly's extra-time winner in front of 87,000 fans at Wembley ended England's 56-year wait for a major international title in senior football.

England Chloe Kelly scores Euro 2022 winner

1 - Lionel Messi lifts World Cup

This year's moment of the year could arguably go down as the greatest sporting moment of all-time.

Lionel Messi secured his place among football's immortal gods after claiming the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Argentina.

The South American side beat France on penalties in one of the most extraordinary finals ever witnessed.

The image of Messi finally lifting the elusive World Cup will go down as the culmination of football's greatest ever tales.

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