Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Guardian Joy of Six: Cracking Free-kicks

From Matt Le Tissier's insouciance to Gazza's 'Schoolboy's Own' screamer, we doff our titfers to the greatest ever free-kicks.

6. Paul Gascoigne (TOTTENHAM v Arsenal 1991)

If ever a free-kick defined a man's career at the very top level of the world game, this was the one. It's easy to forget how unlikely the chances of a Tottenham victory in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final were: George Graham had organised Arsenal's back line so efficiently they would lose only one league game all season, while Spurs, with tactical genius Terry Venables winging it at the helm, were a dog's dinner. They did have one ace in the pack, though - and up stepped Gazza, four minutes in, to put his foot through a set piece nearly 40(!) yards out. The ball screeched and swerved at ridiculous pace into David Seaman's top-left corner, and Arsenal never recovered from the seismic shock. "Is Gascoigne going to have a crack? He is, you know! That is Schoolboy's Own stuff!" commented Barry Davies as events unfolded, capturing the insane drama in a monkeys-and-typewriters moment of lyrical brilliance.

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