Top five ‘Did he mean it?’ goals
While OTP is quite convinced Danny Welbeck fully intended his back-heeled winner against Sweden, the exquisitely taken goal remains a touch marred by the accusation by some observers that it was a very fortunate outcome of a miss control.
The ‘Did he mean it?’ debate is a rather juicy one in football and always seems to arise when a strike is so visionary and so precise that it becomes almost inconceivable that it was a conscious design.
We’ve picked out five absolute beauties that have historically left fans, players and pundits alike arguing a player’s true intentions back and forth. Genius, fluke or a bit of both, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
1. Ronaldinho. England vs Brazil (2002)
The looping 40-yarder that broke a nation’s hearts, and left goalkeeper David Seamen permanently lampooned, still remains a real brain-tickler to watch. The inswinging arc of the free kick indicates a cross, but with the hindsight of knowing he became one of the best players of his generation, the strike has a strong edge of plausibility.
For what it’s worth, the once imperious midfielder said after the game: “I went for it and it came off. He (Cafu) told me I should try and go for it because Seaman was standing off his line.”
2. Maicon. North Korea v Brazil. (2010)
The roaming Inter Milan right-back gave physics a hell of a beating with this strike at the 2010 World Cup in Germany, scoring from the tightest angle possible. It was either a goal of sublime intelligence (knowing the keeper wouldn’t think to cover his near post) or a malformed cut-back.
Unsurprisingly Maicon went with the former, stating after the match: “I made a similar goal against Portugal in Brasilia. I got to the ball already tired, and already thinking about shooting the ball.”
3. Papiss Demba Cissé. Newcastle v Chelsea. (2012)
This simply beautiful goal – quite possibly the best from the Premier League last season – offers up another variant on the ‘Did he mean it?’ debate. We all know the Senegal striker was attempting a goal, but could he possibly have intended for the shot to swerve from the left post and dramatically loop in to the bottom right corner? Was Papiss or blind luck the main architect?
Speaking about the goal, the former Freiburg forward said: “It was the best goal of my career – I was so happy to score it. When the ball came to me, I was only thinking about scoring. It was an instinctive finish.”
4. Henri Lansbury. England U21 v Belgium U21. (2012)
Taken on its merit, this has to be one of the very best goals ever scored in an England shirt, let alone an England under 21 jersey. A good 40 yards out and pinned to the sideline, it is almost inconceivable that the young playmaker would attempt a shot and yet he does appear to look up in the direction of the keeper before taking the almighty swipe. Toughie.
Tweeting after the game – and popping in an ambiguous emoticon for good measure – Lansbury confirmed he had intended the wonder goal. The tweet read: “I meant it that is all good night yawn 🙂 x”
5. Dennis Bergkamp. Arsenal v Newcastle. (2002)
Now, picking this might be playing with fire. Dennis Bergkamp’s delightful flick-spin-strike combo goal for Arsenal is today heralded as one of the best ever scored in the Premier League. And yet, it’s quite common to hear people refuse to believe he meant it.
The accuracy, vision and skill involved is indeed unbelievable, perhaps simply too good to be true. For us, the speed and instinctive nature with which he executes the move has us totally convinced that the flying Dutchman knew he was painting a beautiful piece of art.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was equally convinced. The Frenchman said after the game in question: “You will not see many goals like that, it was an unbelievable goal.You are blessed to see that when you come to a stadium. I enjoyed it a lot.”