Tuesday, 21 June 2011

My favourite team goals of the last decade

Speak of great goals and most people have different opinions as to what counts as a great goal. Some speak of great runs, some great strikes, volleys, overhead kicks etc. I mainly think of lovely intricate team moves with lovely passing and overlapping and interchanging. I would much rather see that than a 30 yard belter, no matter how impressive it may be. Though I wouldn't say no to a overhead kick from the edge of the area

There's something beautiful about a genuine team goal. When they pass it about, moving it from side to side, interchanging, varying the the pace of the passing. It's lovely to watch when it works. The famous Brazilian 4th goal against Italy in the 1970 final comes to mind when thinking of team goals. That goal has often been voted the one of the best World Cup goals ever and it's no wonder. To see such a great attacking side produce something like that was brilliant. Of course it was a lot slower than the play nowadays but it's still hard not to admire it.

Nowadays it could be described as a lot harder to score team goals. The organisation is generally better, the game is quicker so it's harder to keep hold of the ball, and teams have also tried to include specialist players in their team. This means some may well be good passers, some may be direct and physical, some may be good tacklers. But not many teams have 9 or 10 players who can all control and pass really well. Arrigo Sacchi famously dislikes the use of specialist players commenting that in his team "“the regista – the playmaker – is whoever had the ball. But if you have Makelele, he can’t do that. He doesn’t have the ideas to do it, although, of course, he’s great at winning the ball.”

These days Barcelona are possibly the biggest example of a team where everyone can play the ball. Ok they have different roles and tactical responsibilities but they if you chose their best line up, (http://this11.com/boards/1308582494181436.jpg) they can all control, pass and get involved with the possession of the ball, even Valdes the goalkeeper.

That's why you won't see lots of other teams following the Barcelona example. Barcelona have players that can all circulate the ball really well and keep control of possession yet they all have the ability to move, find space, work clever tactically, work hard, press well and be physical when they want to. Hence they don't need specialist players because they have ball players who have assets necessary to be able to play other sides of the game. To be able to find players that can do all of these things really well is very hard.
Hence to score a good team goal you have to have a number of players who can control, pass, move and get into space.

So on that here's my favourite three team goals of the last decade:

3. Manchester United 4 - 3 Real Madrid 2003 (Ronaldo 2nd goal)

A memorable game, between two European giants. The brazilian Ronaldo scored a hat trick that wasn't enough to stop Manchester United winning 4-3 though Madrid went through 6-5 on aggregate. However his second goal was mainly down to the brilliance of his team mates.

Unlike the other two that have come just above this, this goal wasn't just moving the opposition from side to side waiting for gaps. This was a team move designed to find a goal or a chance as quickly as possible but still finding the true essence of passing it in to the net. Man United give the ball away high up the pitch on the Madrid left and from there it is beautifully worked into Zidane in the middle of the pitch with some quick one touch passing and dinks. Zidane takes it over the half way line, just about keeping it away from Giggs while Figo and Ronaldo stretch the defence by peeling away out wide. Zidane plays it to Figo on his left hand side who comes into the area turns onto his right foot then left foot wrong footing two United players before playing a curling lob onto the cross bar.

Yet the move doesn't end there. McManaman takes over the ball on the right, allowing Salgado at right back to make a run inside, recieiving the ball, passing it off and continuing his run into the area. There is then some short passing between Figo, Zidane and Guti on the edge of the box, before Roberto Carlos makes an overlapping run playing it into Zidane then recieving a the return, a through ball that sliced the defence open. He then plays it across the goalkeeper into Ronaldo's path. A great goal all about quick circualtion of the ball from defence to attack and then playing it round on the edge of the box before slicing United open and scoring. A lovely goal.

2. Argentina 6 - 0 Serbia 2006 (Cambiasso)

World Cup of 2006 was a big chance for Argentina to do well in after their poor performance in the previous tournament. The team structured around playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme put in a whole host of good performances with a new up and coming player called Lionel Messi making a couple of substitute appearances. It was only when Riquelme, probably the outstanding player of the world cup that year, was substituted that Argentina let slip their chance and lead against Germany and went out on penalties.

However earlier on in the tournament they played brilliantly in a 6-0 thrashing over Serbia and produced a stunning 24 pass move that ended in Cambiasso firing it into the net.


At the centre of the move as he was with much of Argentina's play was Riquelme who passed it round from the centre with ease and got the other players around him involved.

The beauty of the goal is the way they move from left to right and then back again, waiting for the opportunity to strike and then when the moment came breaking through with terrific accuracy and speed of passing and movement. It's something you see all to little in the modern game; teams waiting and being patient with possession before striking when the gaps appear. Here was a great example of what you could do if you passed as a team, moved up as a team and ultimately dominated as a team. A terrific goal that was worthy of goal of the tournament.

1. Liverpool 1 - 3 Barcelona 2001 (Overmars)

It was around this time (2000-2002) that Gerard Houllier's time at Liverpool was peaking and their counter attacking style of football annoyed but got results. Though it was at this time that he was ill and out of the game, Phil Thompson was proving to be a good caretaker boss, playing roughly the same style of football that was frustrating oppositions and getting good results.

Barcelona were their first opponents in the second group stage and came to Anfield the year after going out to them 1-0 on aggregate in the Uefa Cup the previous year.

Barcelona however seemed a far better outfit than they previously had been and were 2-1 ahead at this stage, playing some wonderful passing football. 


You can see Barcelona toying with Liverpool, moving it from side to side, moving it forward then back, varying the pace before the Liverpool's defence seemed to get frustrated, pushed up and Xavi played a lovely ball over the top for Overmars who rounded Dudek and tucked it into the net.

It's such a beautiful goal because Liverpool couldn't get anywhere near them in the build up. Bear in mind that they were losing at this stage with 5-10 minutes left. They were trying to, they were closing down, they were keeping their shape but a team made to counter attack were being outclassed by a mesmerising spell of Barcelona possession, as most teams have become accustomed to since. Each player gets involved with the Barca move, varying the pace, mainly keeping it short, teasing Liverpool, moving them about, frustrating them and then hitting them behind. It's a wonderful move (around 30 passes) and killed Liverpool off on a night where they were completely dominated by Barcelona.

You can see the full 3 or 4 minutes leading up to the goal here (very Barca possession based) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuGk_X85WcI

Anyone got their favourite team goal of the last decade? Comment below.

1 comment:

  1. Abit biased cos i'm a red, but Torres' second against Wolves this season wasn't bad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL2lgP7XcLI&feature=related

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