There's no doubt that the first part of 2012 was an exciting period in world soccer,and one of the things which made it more interesting was the fact that there were teams who managed to win major competitions for the first time in their history.These are 5 of the teams for which 2012 will definitely be considered a fabulous year:
5.ARSENAL DE SARANDI (ARGENTINIAN CLAUSURA)
Founded in 1957,Arsenal is much younger than the major Argentinian clubs,and until a few years ago it didn't have too many achievements,but it all changed in 2007 when they won their first international trophy,CopaSudamericana.Five years after they followed the footsteps of other surprising teams that won the title in Argentina in the past years,such as Lanus or Banfield,and won their first ever national title,a fantastic achievement for a rather small club.It's interesting to see whether they will manage to remain at high level in the next season,since giants like Boca Juniors,Estudiantes,Independiente or the newly promoted River Plate always start as favourites to win the Argentinian league.
4.MONTPELLIER HSC (FRENCH LIGUE 1)
Undoubtedly,at the beginning of the 2011-2012 French League nobody considered Montpellier to have any chance of becoming champions,but the club whose major successes so far had been 2 French Cups(1929 and 1990)exceeded all expectations.By mid-season,it was obvious that the battle for the title would be fought between strong and wealthy Paris Saint Germain and the underdogs Montpellier.Contrary to what many people thought,the outsiders trained by Rene Girard emerged victorious and produced one of the biggest surprises of the year in Europe,an achievement that will be hard to repeat next year,especially after the transfer of top goalscorer Olivier Giroud to Arsenal,but from now on one thing is certain:Montpellier HSC gained the respect of their tough opponents.
3.ZAMBIA NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM (AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS)
The 2012 edition of CAN was marked by another big surprise,the first ever continental title won by Zambia.It is true that the unexpected success of the team trained by charismatic French coach Herve Renard was somehow facilitated by the failure of major African nations,such as Egypt,Nigeria,Cameroon or Algeria to qualify for the final tournament,but nevertheless the Zambians proved that they fully deserved to become kings of Africa by defeating the two favorites of the competition:Ghana in the semifinals(1-0) and the star-studded Cote d'Ivoire in a final decided by penalty kicks after a goalless draw.Now Katongo,Mulenga and all the other Zambian heroes may dream of taking their nation to the FIFA World Cup for the first time,a very difficult,but not impossible mission for the African champions.
2.CORINTHIANS SAO PAULO (COPA LIBERTADORES)
One of the most prestigious and loved Brazilian clubs,Corinthians had a big problem until this year:they were oneof the few Brazilian giants who hadn't won South America's top competition.It is true that they had managed to win the first edition of the FIFA Club World Cup,but still the fact that the continental crown was missing made their fans unhappy.Luckily for them the breakthrough finally came in 2012.With a team which didn't have many superstars,with the exception of Liedson,Corinthians showed a fantastic team spirit which allowed it to win its group and then continue its march towards the final by getting rid of Emelec,Vasco da Gama and former champions Santos.They managed to obtain a draw in the first leg of their final away at six-time champions Boca Juniors,thanks to a goal scored by new star Romarinho,and then won the return leg at home,2-0 thanks to goal scored by Emerson Sheik.Now that the dream of winning Copa Libertadores came true,Corinthians fans are probably waiting to see a final against Chelsea in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
1.CHELSEA F.C. (UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE)
2012 was also a memorable year in the UEFA Champions League for the unexpected triumph of a team which seemed to have a failed season both in England and Europe until Andre Vilas Boas resigned and former legendary Chelsea player Roberto Di Matteo took the role of caretaker manager.It was a delicate moment for Chelsea,who had lost the first leg against Napoli in the first leg of the last 16(3-1) and was likely to be out of the competition at that stage,but what followed was truly fantastic for Chelsea fans;the 4-1 win after extra time in the return match allowed Chelsea to reach the quarter finals,and after eliminating Benfica and reaching the semifinals,they managed against all odds and after truly dramatic clashes to defeat two superpowers,FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich,and win the most precious trophy in the club's history.Thus Chesea became the first club since Borussia Dortmund in 1997 that managed to win the Champions League for the first time and achieve the status of a legendary club.