No. 19: Poetry In Motion From La Albiceleste (Germany, 2006)
One of the great things about soccer is the way in which supporters can appreciate different types of goals.
A player in the mould of Cristiano Ronaldo picking the ball up, beating a couple of men and then smashing a strike into the top corner is thrilling to watch. But a slick move, a goal constructed by a team with meticulous precision, just has something almost hypnotizing about it.
At the 2006 World Cup, Argentina were one of those sides that the world was excited to watch. With players like Juan Roman Riquelme, Esteban Cambiasso and Hernan Crespo at their peak—not to mention an exciting 18-year-old on the bench named Lionel Messi—the Albiceleste were one of the favorites for the title.
In a group containing the Netherlands, Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro, things were not going to be easy for this team, though But Jose Pekerman’s squad took everything in their stride, producing an excellent performance to defeat the Ivory Coast 2-1 in their tournament opener.
Next up it was Serbia, another potentially difficult opponent with a host of burgeoning talents. But an early strike from Maxi Rodriguez settled their nerves and allowed the Argentineans to pop the ball around with a swagger.
Their confidence grew throughout the half, with Riquelme’s mesmerizing playmaking leading the opposition a merry dance. Then, just after the half-hour mark, time seemingly halted as Argentina went about plotting one of the most magnificent team goals in the history of the game:
What happened next?
The immediate reaction was to count the passes; there were 26 in total leading up to the goal.
Argentina ran riot for the remainder of the game, with Rodriguez notching his second, before Crespo, Messi and Carlos Tevez scored to round off a 6-0 rout.
Pekerman’s team qualified top of their group and looked the team to beat in the knockout stages. They were given a scare in the last-16 by Mexico, but another moment of genius helped them through to the quarterfinals. This time it was some individual brilliance from Rodriguez:
Argentina eventually lost to hosts Germany in the last-eight, but the goal they scored against Serbia & Montenegro remains one of the greatest examples of passing football that the game has ever seen.
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