The best free-kick routine ever? Argentina vs England at the 1998 World Cup

Argentina beat England in the last-16 at the 1998 World Cup

Argentina and England‘s last-16 clash at the 1998 World Cup was an absolute classic.

The two giants of international football locked horns in Saint Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for a place in the quarter-finals and it was a thriller from start to finish.

Argentina struck first in the match, legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta beating David Seaman from the penalty spot in just the sixth-minute of play.

Glenn Hoddle’s England came roaring back into the contest, though, and found themselves 2-1 up after 16 minutes.

Alan Shearer equalised from the spot, before a teenage Michael Owen scored one of the greatest solo goals in football history to put the Three Lions ahead.

But England failed to keep their advantage intact for the half-time interval, with Argentina netting their second goal just before the break through Javier Zanetti.

Zanetti celebrates vs England

And the strike from the Inter Milan icon was the finishing touch to one of the greatest ever free-kick routines.

Batistuta charged towards the ball as if he was going to take a shot, but stepped over the ball at the very last second and allowed Juan Sebastian Veron to completely deceive the England wall with a clever pass to Zanetti.

The defender was then presented with acres of space inside the penalty area and he duly fired a shot past Seaman to level the scores at 2-2.

Zanetti's goal

Relive the snippet of set-piece ingenuity here…

Video: Argentina’s amazing free-kick routine vs England at 1998 World Cup

A free-kick routine that a FIFA 22 pro would be proud of. It may have happened close to 24 years ago, but footage of that goal simply never gets old!

Things all went a bit wrong for England after Zanetti’s famous strike.

David Beckham was shown a straight red card just two minutes after the restart for petulantly kicking out at Diego Simeone.

GMS Giveaway


Sol Campbell then had a goal controversially disallowed by the referee in the 81st-minute and the scoreline remained 2-2 throughout the course of extra-time to take the game to a penalty shootout.

Paul Ince and David Batty both missed from 12 yards, allowing Argentina to win the shootout 4-3 and progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

A match that no one – even heartbroken England fans – will ever forget.

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