The football fans in western countries love Ronaldo and his swerving free kicks fly into the net, while the goalie watches helplessly. That’s not what we in Pakistan want to see. We like our wingers flying through to the 25 yards line dribbling past the defenses and setting up the perfect finish for strikers. This is our eastern style of play.
This world cup was mostly about set-piece matches, ball possession, drilled routines and free kicks from far off. Some teams did make it through without a significant share of ball possession, but overall the best-looking goals came from deliberate play and from far off.
This is my collection of the magical goals of football maestros’. It’s true, you can’t make a genuine football legend — they are born heroes.
Check out my top 5…
5: Takashi Inui, Japan Vs. Belgium
Kagua danced about on the 25 yards line and set up a kick for Takashi who stuck a lightning bolt into the goal at the far side. Considering the Japanese players are diminutive in comparison with the giants from the European and African continent, this kick proved every stereotype wrong.
4: Benjamin Pavard, France Vs. Argentina
The left winger sent in a cross curving away from the far post. The complete defense line of Argentina was caught off guard. There was no one protecting the left flank. For a moment it seemed that this golden opportunity would be wasted. Then suddenly Pavard appeared from nowhere to kick a thunderbolt across the goalkeepers outstretched hands into the opposite post — from 30 meters. The look of absolute joy on Pavard’s face says it all. In case you forget, Benjamin Pavard is pronounced ‘Bonxama Pavaa’ in French. Trust the French to twist seemingly simple words.
3: Angel Di Maria, Argentina Vs. France
Angel Di Maria bent the ball from 35 yards out into the top right corner of the goal. It was more of a clip than a power shot. It’s the late bend which fooled the goalie. Even Angel wasn’t sure he had this one till the last moment.
2: Edison Cavani, Uruguay Vs. Portugal
If there is one thing the Uruguayan’s do very well beside plastic surgery, its magical football. Ortenga’s cross from the left found Cavani right at the top of the goal. The subtlety of this combination is an indication of two genuine forwards, sure of their talent. There is nothing more pleasing to the eyes than seeing the natural grace of God gifted strikers. Cavani struck again later but this one tops the rest.
1: Ahmad Musa, Nigeria Vs. Iceland
Victor Moses ran-in like the devil possessed from the right flank to lob the ball towards Musa at top of the goal. Musa caught the ball with his left foot while it was flying past him and then managed to kick it in like a half-volley — using the other foot. Iceland’s defense had no chance. Musa was too quick and Moses’s lob was too accurate.
Which one you liked the most?