The best soccer players have a broad skillset. In addition to their athletic prowess, footballers need to have a good sense of space, timing, situational awareness, and an ability to think on (and with!) their feet. They also need to have cunning and guile—traits which can be overlooked at best and frowned upon at worst. Some of the best people to play the game, from Garrincha to Maradona to Luis Suárez, were slippery bastards who beat opponents with wanton trickery.
Notts County Ladies know what’s up.
On Thursday Night, Notts County Ladies hosted Arsenal Ladies for their league fixture in the FA Women’s Super League. In the 28th minute, Notts County won a free kick just outside the penalty area. As defender Laura Bassett wound up to take the kick, fellow defender Alex Greenwood and forward Ellen White stood right in front of the ball, leading to some confusion as the ref blew the whistle. Bassett charged to the ball, hit the brakes, and then started arguing with Greenwood over who would actually take the FK.
Or so it seemed!
While Bassett and Greenwood were “arguing,” the latter gently nudged the ball to her left to restart play. White nonchalantly collected it, turned, and fired it past the wall and into the right-hand corner of the net.
When asked about it later by the press, White was almost surprised that it worked. “Thankfully it came off. But now we can never do it again, which is a little annoying.”
This, ladies and gentlemen. This is the best free kick goal you’ll see all year. Forget that Gareth Bale guy, or the inevitable Steven Gerrard gamewinner at the FA Cup final, or the bajillion SCUD missiles that Cristiano Ronaldo will fire between now and December 31. This is it. Pack it in, show’s over, the Oscar goes to…, etc.
Arsenal Ladies did manage to score late to rescue a point, which is a damn shame. A goal like this deserves all three points. And a Puskas. And a Nobel Peace Prize. And my wallet, probably.