Dubai: When Andriy Yarmolenko bent one into the top corner from 25-yards yesterday night against the Netherlands, I felt it would be the goal of the tournament.
It sure was deserving as the Ukrainian latched on to a loose ball, advanced with it a yard before unleashing a crisp left-foot effort past the hapless Marten Stekelenburg. Beautiful.
But, I spoke too soon because just 24 hours later, it has been surpassed by an even more spectacular strike. Take a bow, Patrik Schick.
The Czech Republic attacker has scored one of the most outrageous goals you are ever likely to see. It was the Bayer Leverkusen star’s second of the match against Scotland in their Group D clash at Hampden Park today and he fired it home from fully 49.7 yards making it the furthest distance from which a goal has been scored on record at the European Championships.
It left us all with our mouths gaping – just as the net was before he sent the ball flying towards it and although it was spectacular, I would be pointing fingers at Scotland’s goalkeeper David Marshall for his poor positioning which enabled Schick to attempt the outrageous. Just what was he doing so far out of goal in the first place? With Scotland on the attack, Marshall was standing on the semi-circle – no, not of the edge of the 18-yard box, but on the halfway line! And when the move broke down and the ball ricocheted favourably at the feet of Schick, he saw the keeper was well out of position and went for it.
The ball sailed through the air for what seemed an eternity before hitting the back of the net. It was an unbelievable strike that absolutely deserves praise - but, it wouldn’t have gone in, nor would Schick have even attempted it, had Marshall not been so far forward as he was.
It reminded me of other eye-widening goals from the past such as Brazil’s Ronaldinho. He scored an incredible free-kick in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final against England. But that one had people questioning whether he meant it. Almost 20 years later, I’m still not sure. But Schick sure meant his.
It about sums up poor Scotland. They have never had the best of luck. Returning to a major football tournament after almost 25 years, they have now conceded the goal of the competition. It’s the most Scottish thing that could have happened.
But, have I spoken too soon again? I sure hope so. Maybe there’ll be an even better goal tomorrow or the next day. With Euro 2020 just getting warmed up and many more games to come, we should be in for some more eye-catching strikes.