There have been some truly spectacular strikes so far during the early stages of the 2013/14 season. But just what is the best way to score? Here, we classify five of the most attractive types of goals in football:
The team goal
Although not everyone’s cup of tea, the team-goal is the purest expression of teamwork in football. It demands an almost telepathic understanding between the eleven men on the field, not to mention absolute confidence in the ability of one’s teammates.
It’s often christened the ‘perfect goal’. Barcelona and Arsenal are the best exponents currently. Its frustrating when it doesn’t work but when it does, there is nothing better. Jack Wilshere’s gem against Norwich City this season was a delight to watch. Argentina’s twenty-five-pass move against Serbia and Montenegro - finished off emphatically by Esteban Cambiasso - in the 2006 World Cup was another superb example of team-play.
But the best example remains Carlos Alberto’s wonder-goal in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy.
The skilful slalom though the opposition’s defence beating three, four, five defenders, rounding off the keeper followed by the finish. A dazzling combination of feints, turns, pirouettes and dinks, this sort of goal has been mastered by supremely gifted footballers like Diego Maradona, George Best, Johann Cryuff and Lionel Messi.
While the long-range screamer is over in a blur, this type of goal offers a build up. We marvel at the audacity of the player as he beats the first defender with an outrageous piece of skill.
The ball remains glued to his feet. We gasp when he beats a second defender and then a third. As he approaches goal, the spectators and commentators are transfixed. At least someone will stop him, but no!
He dribbles past the whole defence, the 'keeper comes out, but he is also made to look like a mug. The ball is finished off into the empty net accompanied by a cacophonous reaction from the crowd.
Maradona’s goal against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup is the most famous example. Delirium is the general emotion brought about.
The overhead kick
A supreme display of athleticism, quick-thinking and individual brilliance, the overhead kick is arguably the most spectacular way of scoring in football. The athleticism to accomplish the physical act, the lighting-quick thinking to adjust the body and the sheer confidence to take on such an attempt make the overhead kick a rarity and an act of sheer brilliance.
The subtlest of goals, the chip is almost insulting to a 'keeper. To even attempt a chip requires a touch of arrogance, a sense of mischief and a great deal of impudence. We had two exceptional examples this weekend itself: Daniel Sturridge against West Brom and Alexis Sanchez in the ‘El Clasico’. Eric Cantona’s effort against Sunderland also springs to mind.
Philippe Albert’s sumptuous chip over Peter Schmeichel in Newcastle United’s 5-0 demolition of Manchester United at St. James’ Park in 1996 is another one that remains etched in the memory of football fans.
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