Šuker’s moment of genius

Steven Scragg writes,

Peter Schmeichel frantically back-peddled as Aljoša Asanović sent a wonderfully precise diagonal pass from his own half, a pass which Davor Šuker, situated on the far left, took effortlessly within his outrageous stride, dragging the ball across his body with the inside of his right foot, and sending it towards the left-hand angle of the Denmark penalty area. One further touch took Šuker and the ball into the penalty area. As Jes Høgh closed, and Schmeichel planted himself just outside the angle of his six-yard box, Šuker dug out the most beautiful left-footed chip.

This is not quite right, and it misses the mark in an important way. Asanović did not send a wonderfully precise diagonal pass. Šuker was making his run down the left flank and the ball was not hit far enough forward, not nearly. (Wonderful vision, wonderful idea, not the best execution.) So Šuker had to slow, slow, slow himself almost to a stop and then, when the ball arrived, indeed he did drag it “across his body with the inside of his right foot” — it’s one of the most beautiful first touches I have ever seen, but perhaps more to the point, one of the most effective, because the dragging movement sent the ball well ahead of him so he could then resume a full sprint towards it. One more touch goalwards and then the chip that left Schmeichel sprawled on the ground in disbelief.

I don’t have an embeddable version but here’s a good-quality video, with some bonus commentry from Šuker, if you’re into that kind of thing. One of my favorite goals ever.

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