Five times luck has played a part in sport

The outcome of most sporting event is decided by the level of skill or sheer determination, but there have been times when pure luck has influenced a sporting result.

On a daily basis in general life, you will often use the term "good luck" or "bad luck" in a conversation or when sending a friend or a colleague a message. On some occasions, it is simply used as a response to being informed of a situation or scenario that someone is in, while at other times, it will be used on reflection to an event. However, luck is not absent from any walks of life or any industry, and that includes sport. Some of the most famous moments in sport have been influenced by luck, while there have been more recent occasions when luck has led to the transformation of a career, as well as preventing excellence from being rewarded.

Like with how betting websites can offer help with lottery bonuses, Portugal striker Eder needed luck to go his way if he was to end up on the pitch in the final of Euro 2016. During the previous domestic campaign, Eder had made just two starts for Swansea City in the Premier League before being loaned out to Lille, where six goals were netted in 13 appearances. It led to the forward being given just 13 minutes of action during the European Championships and the expectation was that he would remain an unused substitute against France. However, after Cristiano Ronaldo's early injury and Portugal requiring another frontman, Eder was the final introduction to what was a goalless final. At this stage, France were favourites to win another Major tournament on home territory but with just 11 minutes left in extra time, Eder fired a low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards to not only net the winning goal, but make himself a national hero. It echoed the chapter of a fairytale, but only after Ronaldo had been denied the chance to lead his nation to glory.

Swansea player Eder in action during the Pre season friendly match between Swansea City and Deportivo La Coruna at Liberty Stadium on August 1, 2015© Getty Images

To a large degree, penalty shootouts in football are decided by a show of nerve but in some situations, luck can contribute to a match being won and lost. Take, for instance, when David Beckham stepped up to take a spot kick for England against Portugal at Euro 2004. The national team skipper ran up confidently enough but fired his effort high into the stands after appearing to lose his footing. It was Beckham's third miss from 12 yards in a row and the second which came from slipping when taking his kick. Chelsea captain John Terry also slipped when taking a penalty which if successful, would have won his beloved Chelsea the Champions League trophy for the first time in their history. Some will put it down to poor technique, but it is difficult to argue that luck did not play its part in such moments.

Staying on the theme of England and they were once again denied an opportunity to progress further in a Major tournament during the last-16 encounter with Germany at the 2010 World Cup. After going 2-0 behind, the Three Lions began to mount a comeback with Matthew Upson halving the deficit before Frank Lampard drilled a shot in off the crossbar from outside the penalty area. However, the assistant failed to spot that the ball had gone at least a yard over the line and instead of having the momentum at 2-2, England would proceed to lose 4-1 to their fierce rivals. After three poor displays during the group stages, England had finally started to show that they were capable of challenging for the Jules Rimet trophy, but that decision - or lack of one - from the assistant saw England bow out and Germany eventually reach the semi-finals before losing out to Spain.

Manuel Neuer of Germany watches the ball bounce over the line from a shot that hit the crossbar from Frank Lampard of England, but referee Jorge Larrionda judges the ball did not cross the line during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen © Getty Images

It is not just football where luck has played its part over the years, with the use of the lucky-loser system in tennis contributing to the emergence of Russian prospect Andrey Rublev. The 19-year-old has been tipped for greatness ever since making his professional debut but his form was not great after losing in qualifying for the Umag Open. However, a withdrawal led to Rublev earning a spot in the main draw, and he proceeded to make his way through the field to win the first ATP Tour title of his career. The set of circumstances have acted as a springboard for Rublev who a few weeks later, defeated both Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin on the way to reaching the US Open quarter-finals, where he was outclassed by Rafael Nadal. In one week, the current world number 53 had doubled his amount of wins at a Major in his career and is now on course to earn a place in the world's top 32 before the 2018 Australian Open.

Just last week, there was an element of luck in cricket which prevented Evin Lewis from earning a place towards the top of the record books for the fastest-ever century in a T20 match. Lewis was just a boundary away from claiming the second quickest ton when Kieran Pollard ran in to bowl with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots requiring just one run to secure victory over the Barbados Tridents when the seamer produced a no-ball for over-stepping. While Davis would have still needed to hit the rope to make it to three figures, Pollard had denied him his opportunity to produce the rightful end to an innings with had seen him knock up 97 runs from 32 deliveries. Pollard has come in for criticism for the blunder, but it will matter little to Lewis, who will now hope that he gets another chance to hit the headlines if and when he next represents West Indies in a one-day or T20 international.

Tammy Abraham represents England Under-19s against Japan Under-19s on November 15, 2015
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