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In Pictures: A Look Back At Some Of The Biggest Football Moments Of 2016

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2016 saw one of the biggest surprises in football history as Leicester City won the Premier League title.

From starting odds of 5,000-1 Claudio Ranieri’s unfancied Foxes defied the bookmakers (and all logical thinking) through a combination of solid tactics from the manager, a hard-working defence and the brilliance of N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, lifting the title in May.

Portugal also caused something of a stir this year when they defeated favourites France at the Stade de France in July. Fernando Santos’ side lost talisman Cristiano Ronaldo early in the first half, but they held out and won in extra time thanks to a strike from Eder.

The tournament was also notable for Iceland’s march to the quarter-finals (at England’s expense) while Wales reached the semi-final stage – and from an Irish perspective, Robbie Brady’s late winner against Italy became this generation’s Giants Stadium 1994 moment.

Aside from Europe’s main leagues had an air of familiarity about them as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all claimed titles, Real Madrid won the Champions League for the second time in three years, while Dundalk continued their domination of the League of Ireland by winning their third league title in a row.

However, there was unexpected tragedy at the beginning of December when a plane carrying members of Brazilian football side Chapecoense crashed in Colombia, killing the vast majority of the club’s playing and coaching staff.

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England

Liverpool's Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (R) looks on as Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Liverpool at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on February 2, 2016. / AFP / Ben STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy scores a wonderful dipping half-volley in a 2-0 win against Liverpool at the King Power Stadium in February

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Vincent Kompany of Manchester City and team mates celebrate victory with the trophy after the Capital One Cup Final match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 28, 2016 in London, England. Manchester City win 3-1 on penalties.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Manchester City defeat Liverpool on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Wembley in February

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02:  A scuffle breaks out after Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur brings down Eden Hazard of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on May 02, 2016 in London, England.jd  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Tempers flare during a hotly contested battle between Chelsea and Totenham at Stamford Bridge. Spurs threw away a two-goal lead to hand Leicester the title

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Leicester City lift the Premier League title at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom.
Leicester City lift the Premier League title at The King Power Stadium in May after a 3-1 victory against Everton

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21:  (L-R) Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, David De Gea, Michael Carrick and Juan Mata of Manchester United celebrate with the trophy on the pitch after The Emirates FA Cup Final match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on May 21, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Manchester United lift the FA Cup in May after a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace after extra time, in what would be Louis van Gaal’s final match as manager

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United applauds the fans after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Paul Pogba makes his second Manchester United debut against Southampton, having signed from Juventus in a world-record £89m deal

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10:  Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho shakes hands with  Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on September 10, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Bitter rivals José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola meet as Premier League managers for the first time, as the latter’s Manchester City side claim a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in September

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LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17:  Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea (C) celebrates his sides win after the game during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on December 17, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Antonio Cpnte celebrates as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0 in December to clinch their 11th straight league win and go nine points clear at the top of the table

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Euro 2016

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 10:  Dimitri Payet of France scores his team's second goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Romania at Stade de France on June 10, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Dimitri Payet scores a late winner to give France a 2-1 victory against Romania in the first game of Euro 2016 in June

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Robbie Brady celebrates scoring an 85th minute header to give Republic of Ireland a 1-0 against Italy in Lille to send them into the last 16. (NPHO/Donall Farmer)

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LENS, FRANCE - JUNE 16:  Daniel Sturridge  of England celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team mate Marcus Rashford  during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between England and Wales at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on June 16, 2016 in Lens, France.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring a late goal to give England a 2-1 group stage victory against Wales in Lens.

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LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 26:  Antoine Griezmann of France reacts after scoring his second goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between France and the Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images )
Antoine Griezmann completes a 2-1 France turnaround to send Republic of Ireland out of the competition at the last 16 stage in Lyon

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NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27:  Aron Gunnarsson (C) and Iceland players celebrate their team's 2-1 win with supporters after the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Iceland players celebrate having pulled off a famous 2-1 victory to send England crashing out of the tournament in the last 16

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NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27:  Wayne Rooney of England (2nd R) walks toward Dele Alli (3rd L) to console after the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
England players react to the above humiliation. Manager Roy Hodgson would resign that very evening.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25:  Gareth McAuley (3rd R) of Northern Ireland scores an own goal past Michael McGovern (1st L) during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland’s Gareth McAuley scores a late own goal for Wales to send his side out at the last 16 after a 1-0 defeat in Paris.

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LILLE, FRANCE - JULY 01:  Hal Robson-Kanu of Wales scores his team's second goal past Thibaut Courtois of Belgium during the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Wales and Belgium at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on July 1, 2016 in Lille, France.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Hal Robson-Kanu scores a Puskas Award contender against Belgium to put Wales ahead 2-1 in Lille. They would go on to score a third and and progress to the semi-final.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
An injured Cristiano Ronaldo looks on as Portugal face hosts France in the Euro 2016 final in Paris. The forward was taken off after just 25 minutes.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (c) lifts the Henri Delaunay trophy after his side win 1-0 against France during the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Portugal would go on to win the final despite Ronaldo’s absence. A goal from Éder in extra time gave them a surprise 1-0 win.

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League of Ireland

Inpho Pictures of the Year 2016 13/12/2016 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, Oriel Park, Louth 28/10/2016 Dundalk vs Galway United Dundalk's Stephen O'Donnell celebrates winning the SSE Airtricity League trophy
Dundalk celebrate with the Premier Division trophy after a 5-2 win against Galway United in October seals their third consecutive title win. (INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

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UEFA Europa League Group Stage, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 29/9/2016 Dundalk vs Maccabi Tel Aviv Dundalk's Ciaran Kilduff celebrates scoring a goal with Robbie Benson
Dundalk also became the first League of Ireland side to win a Europa League group stage game with a 1-0 victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Tallaght Stadium (INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

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There would be no double for Dundalk this year, as a goal from Sean Maguie in the last seconds of extra time gave Cork City a 1-0 in the FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium in November
There would be no double for Dundalk this year, as a goal from Sean Maguire in the last seconds of extra time gave Cork City a 1-0 in the FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium in November (INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

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Chapecoense

Brazil's Chapecoense players pose for pictures during their 2016 Copa Sudamericana semifinal second leg football match against Argentina's San Lorenzo  held at Arena Conda stadium, in Chapeco, Brazil, on November 23, 2016. / AFP / NELSON ALMEIDA        (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Brazil’s Chapecoense players pose for pictures during their 2016 Copa Sudamericana semifinal second leg football match against Argentina’s San Lorenzo held at Arena Conda stadium, in Chapeco, Brazil, on November 23, 2016

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The wreckage of the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense Real football team is seen after it crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016. A charter plane carrying the Brazilian football team crashed in the mountains in Colombia late Monday, killing as many as 75 people, officials said.  / AFP / Raul ARBOLEDA        (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
The wreckage of the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense football team is seen after it crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016. 19 players and coaching staff were among the 71 fatalities. Three players survived, from a total of six.

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 Chapecoense Plinio David (L) holds the Copa Sudamericana trophy beside Atletico Nacional's representative Daniel Jimenez Ochoa, as the Brazilian side are awarded the Copa Sudamericana as a mark of respect for the dead
Chapecoense Plinio David (L) holds the Copa Sudamericana trophy beside Atletico Nacional’s representative Daniel Jimenez Ochoa, as the Brazilian side are awarded the Copa Sudamericana as a mark of respect for the dead,

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Other

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28:  Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid of Real Madrid lifts the Champions League trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Real Madrid won the Champions League for the second time in three years, beating Atlético Madrid on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the San Siro in May

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BASEL, SWITZERLAND - MAY 18:  Captian Jose Antonio Reyes (C) of Sevilla lifts the Europa League trophy as players celebrate at the award ceremoy after the UEFA Europa League Final match between Liverpool and Sevilla at St. Jakob-Park on May 18, 2016 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Liverpool’s second final under Jurgen Klopp ended the same way as Sevilla claimed the Europa League with a 3-1 win in Basel in May.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 26:  Chile celebrates after defeating Argentina to win the Copa America Centenario Championship match at MetLife Stadium on June 26, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Chile defeated Argentina 4-2 in penalty kicks.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Chile defeated Argentina in the Copa América final for the second year running, beating the number one ranked team in the world on penalties after a 0-0 draw in June.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.