With some huge upsets and exciting games, the FIFA 2022 World Cup has already thrown out some great moments and images, but which images have been captured at the perfect moment throughout sporting history?

Betting America has revealed ten sporting images that capture ten iconic sporting events. The rankings below are made up of some of the most famous moments in sports and feature some of the greatest athletes of all time. 

1. The Hand of God – 1986

Before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, Betting America revealed the story of Joe O’Connell, a man from Sligo, Ireland, who found himself in the stands for England vs Argentina in 1986, and captured the iconic moment Diego Maradona scored one of the most infamous goals in football history.  

The photo below is the only fan captured image included in these rankings.

Maradona Hand Of God Photo

‘The Hand Of God’
© Joe O’Connell 2022 | Licensed by Betting America


2. Ali KO’s Liston – 1965

The next photo on this list is the moment Muhammad Ali knocked out the hard hitting Sonny Liston with ‘the phantom punch’ in their 1965 rematch.

The image highlights ‘The Greatest’ standing over the rocked Liston while snarling at him. The moment was captured by Neil Leifer, the photographer who also captured the spectacular ceiling shot of Ali’s KO of Cleveland Williams a year later.

© Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated


3. The Catch – 1981

In the 1981 NFC Championship Game, Joe Montana and Dwight Clark hooked up for arguably the most iconic play in NFL history in order to enable the 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl. 

The play would signal the end of the Cowboys dominance in the NFC which dated back to the 70’s and signaled the start of the 49ers dynasty, who won their first Super Bowl in the game after ‘The Catch’.

Walter Iooss Jr. caught the moment, however he wasn’t over the moon about the play. Iooss Jr had spent a lot of time covering the Cowboys that season which led to him becoming close with the team’s players and staff.

© Walter Iooss/Sports Illustrated


4. Kawhi sinks the Sixers – 2018

In 2018, Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors and in his first and only season in Toronto, Leonard led the team to their first ever NBA Championship. The biggest moment of the Raptors’ title run from that season was when Leonard hit the first game seven buzzer beater in NBA history, against the 76ers.

The ball bounced around the rim multiple times before dropping in and Mark Blinch’s perfectly-timed image captures the thrill and the agony of players on both sides. 

© Mark Blinch/NBAE

5. Bolt Cruises – 2016

As well as dominating the field, Usain Bolt was known for his larger than life personality and his ability as a showman. Few other moments capture this more than Cameron Spencer’s image of Bolt from the men’s 100 meter semi-final race during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

While a semi-final is nowhere near the most important race of his career, this photo in particular will go down in memory as the seemingly superhuman Bolt leaves his competition behind in the dust while giving a cheeky grin to the camera.

The moment and image was also the inspiration for millions of memes on social media in 2016.

© Cameron Spencer/Getty Images


6. Bron and DWade Dunk on the Bucks – 2010

Alongside Chris Bosh too, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade dominated in their time together at the Miami Heat. Few pictures encapsulate the dominance and team chemistry than Morry Gash’s perfectly timed image below.

The image shows the moment Wade already starts celebrating before James has even dunked it home, following Wade’s pass. 

LeBron, who is regarded by some as the greatest player of all time, even later tweeted that the picture was ‘By far one of the best sports pics I’ve seen taken!!’ 

© Morry Gash/AP

7. Air Jordan – 1988

While it may have made sense to include an image of ‘The Shot’ instead, the coolness of watching arguably the greatest of all time levitate through the air at the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest was too good to not include. 

Jordan ended up winning the dunk contest, beating competition such as Hall of Famers Dominique Wilkins and Clyde Drexler. The iconic image was captured by Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated, who made his second appearance in this rankings. 

© Walter Iooss/Sports Illustrated

8. Tyson Shows Fight Bite – 1997

Similar to Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ goal against England, the next image, captured by V.J. Lovero, highlights one of the most infamous moments in sporting history. 

Mike Tyson was looking to avenge his loss to Evander Holyfield in their 1997 rematch, however instead of hurting Holyfield with his punches, ‘Iron’ Mike bit a  one-inch piece of cartilage from the top of Holyfield’s ear and spat it out. 

Tyson later said the bite was in retaliation for Holyfield’s repeated headbutts over the two bouts, but he was still heavily sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

© V.J. Lovero

9. OBJ Announces Himself – 2014

Not many rookies have made an instant impact quite like Odell Beckham Jr. The receiver was picked in the first round by the New York Giants and went on to have one of the best rookie seasons of all time.

However the moment captured below was the most famous of OBJ’s career. Despite pass interference by Brandon Carr, Beckham Jr leapt in the air and hauled in Eli Manning’s throw with one hand. 

The moment was so iconic that few remember that the Giants actually ended up losing the game. 

© Julio Cortez/AP Photo

10. GOAT x2 – 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are widely regarded as the two greatest football players of all time. The two rivals have rarely spoken about each other up until recently, and the rivalry was only exacerbated by the fact that they spent many years playing against each other in the fiercely competitive ‘El Clasico’.

That’s why this moment below, captured by Reuters, of Ronaldo helping his great rival up in a show of respect during a match in 2017, is such a brilliant image.