How One Match Dissolved a Country

Much of the language of football is derived from warfare: an ‘aerial bombardment’ in the last few minutes, a quick burst of goals being described as a ‘blitz’, or bringing the ‘big guns’ or ‘cavalry’ on from the bench.

Very rarely though do the two worlds overlap. Football tries its best to steer clear of external politics, while war has more prevalent worries than a mere game.

Sometimes though it is impossible to keep the two separate: we all know about El Salvador and Honduras’s ‘Football War‘, or Uday Hussein‘s misuse of the Iraqi national side.

However, while these examples made some minor waves in the international arena, there is one recent example that led to revolution, and the dissolution of an entire country. And it’s much closer to home.

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The best goal ever scored?

This is a question that is trotted out on an all-too-regular basis.

The usual suspects are always brought up: Maradona’s scurrying embarrasment of England in 1986, van Basten’s physics-bending volley past the USSR in 1988 or Carlos Alberto’s ode to teamwork against Italy in 1970.

They’re all excellent goals, certainly showcasing some of the most talented players ever to play the game.

However, none of them can top the sheer ingenuity of what I think is often unfairly overlooked in these debates.

While all of the goals mentioned above are technically brilliant, or down to wonderful intricate football, they are all a bit…old-fashioned.

This is my problem: they’ve all been seen before.

Countless footballers have hammered in volleys like van Basten, been at the end of a multiple-pass team move or even slalomed round an entire team to score.

My personal favourite is a goal that absolutely nobody had ever seen before. And it won a major trophy for his country.

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