Friday, November 29, 2013

101 Great Goals - Eder

Perhaps with 101 Great Goals in mind for the future, I posted the below on Eder in August 2012. Here it is in full again.

The Brazil side at the 1982 World Cup is historically viewed as the successor to the wonderful title-winning side of 1970, so it is fitting that, since our first Iconic Goal has come to represent Brazil at the first Mexico World Cup, so our second iconic goal has come to symbolise the side 12 years later at the World Cup in Spain.

Brazil netted 15 gems at the '82 finals, the Beau Sancy among them being Eder's winner versus the Soviet Union.

The beauty of the goal is in it's simplicity, from Falcao's outrageous school-yard dummy to Eder's keepy-up and sublime half volley. It looks more like a training routine than Brazil's opening World Cup game.

How do the goal nets contribute to this goal's place in the Pantheon of Iconic Goals?

The World Cup organisers had seemingly paid little heed to the goal nets at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Hanging green coloured nets that rendered them near invisible, and pulling them taut, the nets contributed all the aesthetic of kicking a ball against a wall in training.

Yet, while the nets soured Socrates' magnificent equaliser, scored 10 minutes earlier, the "training wall" nets amplify the ease, simplicity and Joga Bonito of Eder's winner, raising it to the status of the Iconic.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

101 Great Goals - Carlos Alberto

I've posted this goal in a previous context 18 months ago, but couldn't better the sentiment today.

So I post in full below, for the 101 Great Goals series.

Forget the melina and the elaborate build-up play against an Italy side exhausted and in disarray after the controversial late introduction of Gianni Rivera; the goal that symbolises the greatest team in history begins with Pele.

From there you'll see this famous goal described in terms of Pele's pass and Carlos Alberto's shot, as though this was a goal of two movements - pass / shot - when in fact, it has three movements - pass / shot / net.

Carlos Alberto's shot is often described as a thunderbolt or cannonball, where a firework might be a better metaphor:

Pele lights the fuse (first movement) - and stands well back - and the ball shoots from Carlos Alberto's boot like a rocket (second movement).

But rockets can be duds, can shoot into the night sky and fail to explode. At which times, two movements is insufficient and the sense of disappointment is palpable.

The last goal scored in the 1970 World Cup, the goal that came to symbolise the greatest team in history is no disappointment. Carlos Alberto's shot is no dud. It's aim is true.

But only when the ball hits the back of the net - and the net explodes (third movement) - does the celebration truly begin.

You'll have seen this goal hundreds of times - it's one of the most famous goals ever scored - but look at it now with fresh eyes and ask, two movements or three?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

101 Great Goals - Nelinho

I've often compared the aesthetics of scoring into the tightly sprung box nets of 2013 to kicking a ball against a wall in training. Goal nets are not meant to repel the ball. At their best - and the L-supports at Argentina 1978 are right up there with the best - they complement the shot they're receiving, so the goal event is shot + affect on net.

As can be seen in Nelinho's bending classic from the tournament's 3rd place play off. I've always loved this goal for the way the netting continues the bend of the shot, until the ball is traveling back in the direction it came from.

Monday, November 4, 2013

101 Great Goals - Teófilo Cubillas

spec·tac·u·lar  (spk-tky-lr)
Of the nature of a spectacle; impressive or sensational.
Something that is spectacular, as:
a. A single dramatic production of unusual length or lavishness.
b. An elaborate display.

Though watched at the time through the gaps in my fingers, no-one could argue Teofilo Cubillas' first goal against Scotland on 3 June 1978 wasn't impressive, sensational or an elaborate display.

But it's worth breaking the goal down to discover what exactly made this such a spectacular goal.

It wasn't the work Cubillas put in to carve out the opportunity; in the commentary, Arthur Montford accurately describes it as "almost a free shot."

And it certainly wasn't Alan Rough's feeble, if unsighted, attempt to make a save.

I've always thought what made Cubillas strike so spectacular and a Great Goal was the Hotshot Hamish-style performance by the wonderfully designed L-supported goal nets.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

101 Great Goals - Derek Johnstone

Our History of Goal Nets community has generally despaired at the ball retention properties of the nets of today, perhaps expecting little else from structures boxed, made of trampoline and stretched taut.

But stretched taut in itself need be no barrier to some decent ball retention. No nets were stretched tighter than those at old Hampden, yet they often transformed a simple goal into one that's memorable.

If scored into nets of today, Derek Johnstone's header in the 1978 Scottish Cup Final would likely rebound to the 18 yard line.

Yet the way the old Hampden nets stop it dead has always fascinated me.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

101 Great Goals - Gerd Muller

In the same way the Italian narrative of the 1970 World Cup final has been lost to the Brazilian fairytale, so has Gerd Muller's second goal in the Game of the Century played 4 days earlier, been lost to the story of Gianni Rivera.

Famously, Rivera - nicknamed Abatino for his clean and proper attacking style - couldn't be trusted by coach Valcareggi to track back, so played only 45 minutes in each game as part of a Staffeta, or relay, in tandem with Sandro Mazzola.

Valcareggi's worst fears were realised at the Muller goal, which was West Germany's equaliser for 3-3. Finding himself minding the near post at the set piece, Rivera let Muller's soft, if well directed, header pass between himself and the post, and into the net.  Rivera's reasoning to the screaming Italian goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi? He didn't know how to defend the post, so did nothing.

The narrative of this goal was quickly erased as Rivera scored Italy's 4-3 winner less than 60 seconds later, but I've always loved this goal, the way the ball rolls crazily up and round the seam of the Azteca net while Albertosi rolls his eyes in despair at the same Gianni Rivera.

Friday, November 1, 2013

101 Great Goals - Paul Breitner

Welcome to the launch of a new series of posts - 101 Great Goals - and I'd like to invite all readers of the blog to nominate their Great Goals on the Facebook page or, better still, post a link and your reasons for liking the goal so much.

What constitutes a Great Goal? As this is The History of Goal Nets, simply any goal can be considered Great if we enjoyed the aesthetics of ball striking net so much that we are moved to nominate that goal.

Your Great Goals can be nominated or posted in any order; Paul Breitner's isn't necessarily the greatest goal.  The point of 101 Great Goals is not to rank the goals, but enjoy them (as they hit the net).

So to my first choice - Paul Breitner v Chile at the 1974 World Cup.

He's scoring into the hated box nets, I hear you cry. That's certainly true, but in the mid 1970's - when everyone at home had stanchions or D's - the free-hanging nets at the 1974 finals were paradoxically the epitome of sophistication. And some - like those in the West Berlin Olimpiastadion above - actually had pretty good ball retention.

I always loved Paul Breitner's goal for the way the ball seemed to stop and hang in the air after it hit the very top corner of the net, before gently bouncing to the ground.