The 10 (Actually 12) Greatest “Almost Goals” of All TimeBy: Daryl | October 3rd, 2009
We had an excellent suggestion from Luka in the comments recently: “The top 10 greatest ALMOST goals of all time. Now that would be interesting.”
We agreed. Soccer’s great near misses and disallowed beauties can be just as exciting as those that counted. So, we tried.
Unfortunately, neither Chris nor myself have the required encyclopedic knowledge to come up with a definitive 10. But after a lot of Googling and a helping hand from this Guardian post, we’ve actually come up with 12.
The list is nowhere near conclusive of course, so welcome any suggestion for other “almost goals” in the comments and will add the best ones to the list.
Franck Ribery for Bayern Munich vs Juventus in 2009 (actually, yesterday)
The nearly goal that inspired Luka to ask us to write this post. In the words of Juve keeper Gigi Buffon: “He had a great move to get between the defenders, something that was worth the ticket price alone. He was one-on-one with me and instead of hitting it low, he tried to score the goal of the century, but I’m tall and so he had to chip it higher and went over the bar.”
Pelé for Brazil vs Uruguay at the 1970 World Cup
This list isn’t in any particular order. But this is easily my favourite. Pelé dummies the keeper by going the opposite way to the ball, but then shoots only just and agonizingly wide. This moment is already famous of course. But imagine if he’d actually scored?
Diego Maradona for Argentina vs England in 1980
This is actually a little spooky. It’s like El Diego was practicing the legendary goal that he actually would score against England at the 1986 World Cup.
Rivaldo for Barcelona vs Deportivo LaCoruna in 2002.
This one’s debatable because though Rivaldo was clearly attempting to score and his lob fell just short, little Argentine poacher Javier Saviola was there to head home and take credit. Rivaldo did make The Guardian’s list of six classic assists for this one though.
Davor Suker for Croatia vs Denmark at Euro ‘96. 0:50 in the video below.
Davor Suker’s attempt to lob Peter Schmeichel from 59 meters at Euro ‘96 drew a respectful wave from the Danish keeper. Nice mid-90s computer graphics on the replay too.
David Ginola for Spurs vs Leeds
Ginola dribbles right to left, almost the full width of the pitch, before unleahing a left footed shot that comes back off the inside of the post.
George Best for Northern Ireland vs England 1971
No sound on this one, so you’ll have to take my word for it. As England keeper Gordon Banks was about to kick the ball upfield, George Best intercepted, flicked the ball over Banks’ head, and then ran in to head home. The ref disallowed it for ungentlemanly conduct though. Robin van Persie tried the same thing 17 years later, with the same result.
Michel Platini for Juventus vs Argentinos Juniors. 0:50 in the video below.
In the 1985 Intercontinental Cup game between Juventus and Argentinos Juniors, future UEFA prez Michel Platini took the ball on his chest, lifted it over the AJ defender with his right foot and volleyed home with his left. Platini then did a weird fashion spread pose after being informed the goal had been disallowed because one of his teammates was offside. Interestingly this goal would stand today, thanks to the introduction of the active/passive offside rules. Can we award it to Platini retroactively?
Kevin Keegan for Southampton vs Man Utd in 1981
Similar to Platini’s above, this incredible overhead kick from Kevin Keegan didn’t count because one of his teammates was standing in an offside position.
Zinedine Zidane for Real Madrid vs Real Valladolid
Clever clever pass from the original Ronaldo followed by the famous Zidane 360°, but then the great man fires high and wide.
Matt Le Tissier for England vs Romania in 1994. 7:30 in the video below.
Matt Le Tissier scored all kinds of ridiculous goals for Southampton, but couldn’t repeat that trick in an England shirt. He came tantalizingly close against Romania in 1994 though, emerging from a scrappy midfield tacklethon to gracefully flick the ball up with his right and volley at goal with his left. If the ball had just dipped a little sooner, Le Tiss’s England career might have been very very different.
Antonio Cassano and Francesco Totti for Roma (in 2005?)
Cassano and Totti one-two it all the way up the field but can’t find the finish. Absolutely incredible.
Any more to add? Let us know in the comments…