The Football Attic welcomes aboard Matthew Wassell to the guest-writing fraternity as he carefully picks out his favourite monumental football moments from two decades ago...
Last week my boss mentioned that he’d been telling his two young children about “that Colombian keeper who did the scorpion kick” and played them the YouTube footage on his iPhone. “Ah Rene Higuita! I remember that!” I exclaimed a bit too loudly. He went on unabashed. “Remember when Gazza scored that goal against Scotland in Euro '96? I was showing them that too.” I did, and of course since that day, I've been trying to think of my top five international “do you remember when…?” moments which will hopefully be of use to anyone intent on educating their own children!
1. Rene Higuita v Cameroon (of course), World Cup 1990
Higuita had come into the tournament with something of a reputation as a 'sweeper keeper.' Not content with simply kicking long upfield or an underarm throw to the full back, he wanted to be more, to play a greater role and to show off some fancy footwork at the same time. Extra time in the second round of the World Cup against opponents who had already beaten the current world champions may not have been the most judicious time to try this out however. Receiving the ball some 20 yards outside of his area, Higuita attempted to trick his way past the onrushing Roger Milla but was robbed by the forward who simply ran on and stuck the ball into the empty net. Colombia went on to lose 2-1 and once again failed to get as far in the tournament as many expected.
2. Martin Palermo v Columbia, Copa America 1999
To take one penalty in a match and miss is common. Two less so. Three? Unheard of! That is until Martin Palermo stepped up and saw his final effort saved to his left by the Colombian goalkeeper Miguel Calero (who was somewhat off his line it must be said). Palermo’s first had crashed into the crossbar and his second had gone into orbit over the top, so he was certainly improving as he managed to get the third on target. Nevertheless the damage had been done, a world record had been broken and now wherever you see the name 'Martin Palermo' on the internet, it is usually quickly followed by the words 'three penalty misses.'
3. Ronald Koeman v England, World Cup qualifier, 1993
Do I not like that?! Whether Koeman should even been on the pitch at the point when he floated a delightful free kick into Seaman’s top right hand corner is still a matter of debate. Although the professional foul hadn't been in existence long, if it was ever going to be applied it surely should have been a few moments earlier when Koeman brought down Platt just outside the area, but he was only booked. What happens next is ingrained in the memory forever… England lose 2-0, fail to qualify for USA '94 and Graham Taylor’s reign as manager comes to an inglorious end… almost…
4. David Gualtieri v England, World Cup qualifier, 1993
Can we have two moments from one qualifying campaign? Well it seems only right to mention this one! The match after Koeman effectively knocked England out in Rotterdam, they travelled to Bologna to face San Marino and expected an easy ride. San Marino kicked off and precisely 8.3 seconds later, had scored their first and indeed only goal of the group. Although England came back to win 7-1, it’s Gualtieri’s goal that sticks in the memory. Some intricate passing from the centre circle ends up with Stuart Pearce leaving a back pass hopelessly short and the forward nips in and slides the ball past Seaman. In all honesty, that one moment pretty much summed up England in this period between Italia '90 and Euro '96.
5. Dennis Bergkamp v Argentina, World Cup 1998
The 1980's had Van Basten’s legendary volley in the Euro ‘88 Final against the Soviet Union but the Dutch history-making moment of the 1990's belongs to Dennis Bergkamp. In the 90th minute of Holland’s quarter final against Argentina in France '98, Bergkamp magnificently brought down Frank de Boer’s 60-yard pass just outside the box, turned inside the defender and with the outside of his right foot, curved the ball into the roof of the net past the helpless Carlos Roa. Cue wild celebrations as Holland win 2-1 in Marseille! When watched live, it felt like history being written before your eyes and even now it is surely one of the World Cup’s most memorable moments: sublime skill and a perfect finish.
Our sincere thanks go to Matthew Wassell for writing this guest post, and if you'd like to write one too, do as he did - drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com - and who knows... maybe we'll be featuring your post soon!