Davor Suker v Denmark 1996
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Euro's Memory from Michael Gibbons.
I knew little about Croatia prior to Euro 96. The team were only a recent entrant into international football, with the harrowing backdrop of the Croatian War of Independence still resolving itself while they were playing in the qualifiers. They had a striking kit, a growing reputation and brilliant attacking players scattered across clubs all over Europe. The most enigmatic of these was Davor Šuker, their free-scoring striker who played at Sevilla.
What I love about this three-touch finish is how effortless it seems. The manner in which Šuker tames Aljoša Asanović’s raking long ball and drags it beyond the Danish defence borders on the contemptuous; to then round it off by stroking a dainty scoop over a leaping Peter Schmeichel, the best goalkeeper in the world, is jaw-dropping even now. Minutes earlier, Šuker had almost lobbed Schmeichel from near the halfway line. Executing this chip from close range had a much higher tariff of difficulty, yet Šuker made it look like a routine piece of admin.
It sent the BBC commentator Barry Davies into rapture, while Schmeichel glanced across at the celebrating Šuker in wide-eyed amazement. This was more than a great goal. In that moment it provided a feeling that, with the internet on the way, would soon begin to disappear from international football; the sheer joy of having your mind blown by a stranger.
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