New Wembley at 10 years - the best and worst of its first decade

Charlie Eccleshare
Wembley at 10 years - the best and worst of the first decade at England's national stadium - PA

On March 24 2007, the new £757m national stadium finally opened its doors with a friendly match between the England and Italy under-21s. 

Ten years on, Telegraph Sport looks at the best and worst moments from the new Wembley. 

Best performance

Back in 2011, before he had been exposed as a fraud who couldn't cope with the hurly burly of the Premier League, Pep Guardiola was thought to be a rather good football manager. 

His Barcelona team had won the treble in his first season and the La Liga in each of his three years as manager when they arrived at Wembley for the Champions League final against Manchester United. 

Sir Alex Ferguson and his team hoped that playing at the national stadium would give them an advantage, but instead they were eviscerated by a Barca performance of sublime speed and quality. 

Lionel Messi scores for Barcelona against Manchester United in 2011

The match finished 3-1, but the scoreline flattered United, who managed one shot on target to Barcelona's 13. An unplayable Lionel Messi scored a wonderful goal, Xavi and Andres Iniesta were at their imperious best, while Pedro and David Villa tormented wreaked havoc down the flanks. 

The Telegraph reported at the time: "This was the sort of spellbinding performance from Barcelona, and particularly their wonderful Argentine magician, that makes even cynics fall back in love with football. Pass and move, move and score. Bewitching."

Best match

This will sounds as though I have a ridiculously short memory and am therefore choosing literally the most recent match at Wembley, but I'm going with Manchester United 3 Southampton 2 in February's League Cup final

The match gets the nod for two reasons: the first is that their haven't been that many great games at the new Wembley, the second is that it was a hugely enjoyable match, and that very rare thing of a truly memorable final. 

Southampton were unlucky to be denied a perfectly good goal and down 2-0 having started the better of the two teams, before they rallied and got it back to 2-2 thanks to a pair of Manolo Gabbiadini goals. 

The final half-hour was a thrilling end-to-end contest, but ultimately it was United who nicked it with an 87th minute winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring against Southampton in the EFL cup final

Best goal

Nick Powell for Crewe against Cheltenham in the 2012 League Two play-off.

A truly sensational goal as Powell received a pass about 25 yards out, left two defenders for dead with a drop of the shoulder and lashed a half-volley into the top corner with his supposedly weaker left foot.

Crewe ended up winning 2-0, and Powell was snapped up by Manchester United five weeks later. And let's end this uplifting story there shall we. 

Powell

Most Roy of the Rovers moment

Most children growing up dream of scoring the winner at Wembley in a cup final, and there have been some fine efforts in the past decade. Jesse Lingard and Aaron Ramsey both got to live out the fantasy in splendid style, but the winner has to be Dean Windass's thumping volley for Hull against Bristol City in the 2008 Championship play-off final. 

Dean Windass scores for Hull in the 2008 play-off final

Windass had all the hallmarks of a cult hero. He was a local lad who had come through the youth set-up, he was 39 years old, and he was not shall we say in peak condition. So it was fitting that it was Windass who scored the goal, and what a goal it was, to send the Tigers into the top flight for the first time in their 104-year history.  

Best sport other than football

Or arguably including football, given the paucity of really good matches at the national stadium. 

Rugby league, rugby union and boxing events have all been hosted at Wembley, but it is American Football that has really captured the public's imagination.

Sell-out crowds, a consistently brilliant atmosphere, and some superb matches. The NFL games have been so successful in fact that there is talk of a permanent franchise in London.   

And now onto the less impressive awards... 

Lowest moment

It doesn't get much lower than the 'wolly with the brolly' Steve McClaren looking on forlornly in the pouring rain as his England team were beaten 3-2 by Croatia to end their chances of qualifying for Euro 2008.  

Worst performance

Of the 10 FA Cup finals at Wembley, nine have been won by just a single goal. 

The one glaring exception was the 2015 final when Arsenal routed Tim Sherwood's Aston Villa 4-0. Sherwood demonstrated his well-known disdain for tactics by attempting to take the game to Arsenal and leaving his flimsy defence hopelessly exposed. 

Alexis Sanchez and co ran riot, and Sherwood lasted just 12 more matches at Villa Park. 

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Worst error

In the same game as the 'wolly with the brolly' fiasco, Scott Carson allowed Niko Kranjcar's speculative shot to squirm past him in a manner so incompetent that it was almost Massimo Taibi-esque.  The goal put Croatia 1-0 up and set in motion one of the worst nights in English football history. 

For balance sake, it's worth mentioning that Carson made a terrific save to deny Ivica Olic in the second half, but unfortunately the damage had already been done. 

Worst pitch

The Wembley playing surface has improved in recent years, but was initially a huge embarrassment for the FA. The nadir came in April 2009 when the pitch was savaged for its deterioration during the FA Cup semi-finals played on consecutive days. 

 Sir Alex Ferguson said: "When I saw the pitch what I didn't want was to go into extra-time with my strongest squad."

Arsene Wenger called the surface "a disaster" and "laughable", while the then Everton manager David Moyes said: "I thought it looked very spongy and a poor playing surface."

Worst crossover

Tottenham playing their home European fixtures at the national stadium this season has been little short of disastrous. Back to back defeats saw them eliminated from the Champions League group stage, before a 1-1 draw against Gent in the Europa League saw them knocked out there as well.

Spurs fans may be feeling a little anxious about moving from White Hart Lane, where they are unbeaten this season, to Wembley for next season. 

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