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.

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