Saturday, March 29, 2014

101 Great Goals - Antonin Panenka

Can a penalty be a great goal? It can be, when it's the greatest penalty ever taken.

For all it's audacity and courage, it's worth considering the aesthetic effect the Belgrade Continental D's which smothered the shot, have played in making this penalty so memorable.

Compare and contrast with the following Panenka penalties:


Zidane's penalty, 5 minutes into the 2006 World Cup final is certainly audacious, but has the ball not striking net reduced it's impact on the collective memory?


Much of the commentary resulting from Pirlo's peerless kick focused on Joe Hart sprawled on his backside rather than the kick itself. Might this have something to do with the ball hitting the net like a ball against a wall in training?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

101 Great Goals - Gerry Francis

Though 101 Great Goals is primarily concerned with the aesthetic added to a great goal by the ball striking the net, it may also from time to time consider a great goal, the aesthetics of which have been soured by the on-field architecture.

Gerry Francis' superb goal on the opening day of the 1975/76 season against Liverpool heralded the arrival of an exciting QPR side and was as much a statement of intent as Roberto Bettega's similar goal at the 1978 World Cup. 

But the similarities of the goals ends when the ball hits the net.

The L-supports at el Monumental afforded Bettega's goal maximum ball retention and, with the ball dead in the net, the Argentine crowd and the watching audience at home are given time to reflect on a great goal, a great Italian performance and the host nation Argentina facing defeat.

When the stanchions at the old Loftus Road, notoriously planted mere inches behind the goal line, deflect Gerry Francis' shot immediately back into the field of play, they deny Gerry Francis and QPR (and Liverpool) that same moment of reflection. Yes, it was still a great goal, but could QPR maintain their challenge? Or would they, like the ball flashing in and out of the goal, be a flash in the pan?


Despite losing this opening game of the season Liverpool won the 1975/76 league title.

QPR finished second.

Friday, March 7, 2014

101 Great Goals - Roberto Bettega

Even after you set aside all the externals surrounding this game - with the Italians successfully facing down the Junta, the rabid River Plate crowd and an admittedly still misfiring Albiceleste - this is still an amazing goal.

It's all there...

The 1-2 with Paolo Rossi...

The drill of a shot into the bottom corner...

Maximum ball retention by the World Cup '78 L-supports TM