Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tim Vickery in South America

A Brazilian journalist this week came up with the thoroughly sensible idea that 7 March henceforth be commemorated as world football's Day of the Goal. It was not only the date on which Lionel Messi chalked up his five for Barcelona in the Champions League; in the South American equivalent, the Copa Libertadores, Neymar of Santos also added a magnificent hat-trick of his own. The first was nothing to write home about - a penalty which was perhaps harshly awarded. But there can be no quibbles about the other two. Both times Neymar picked up possession in his own half, cut through the defence and ran some 70 metres before scoring. The goals showcased his extraordinary control over the ball while running at pace, his capacity to understand space and improvise with its possibilities inside a fraction of a second, and also his eerily cool finishing.

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