The Benjamin Pavard Award for 2018's Best Goal
Right, sorry this is a bit late but we’ve run the numbers and we’re pretty sure there will be no more goals sored in 2018…
The Puskás Award is so 1950. 2018 is the age of the YouTube player, the Instagram goal and the “Twitter World Cup of Goals”. And while that’s convenient and keeps you from having to look at anyone else on the bus home, it’s also a problem. As you’ll glean from even a cursory glance at Twitter, removing things from their original context can be hugely damaging. So here at Foul Throw, we’re putting the context back into goals.
There are four factors that all the goals will be judged on, and at least two of them are the reason the award’s namesake won’t win:
1. How good was the goal? (Don’t mess with the classics. FIFA have nailed this one.)
2. How much of a dickhead is the scorer? (You get a score for this - running from 1 as most dickhead to 10 as least dickhead - but it’s also important to note that this category comes with a veto for anyone simply too much of a dickhead even to be considered. This veto swiftly rules out Ronaldo’s bicycle against Juventus, as well as any Luis Suarez might have scored.)
3. How crucial was it in the context of the game? (Here we’re looking for late goals, momentum changers, winners. The goals that precipitate a sharp intake of breath, a lean back on the couch, and a “well…” from the neutrals.)
4. How important was it to “the narrative”? (It’s two-thousand-and-eighteen, BT have subscriptions to sell, people - mostly men - have podcast airtime to fill, won’t somebody please think of the narrative?)
ENGLAND v Colombia
Or treat yourself to the whole shootout replete with celebrations (go on, it’s a brave New Year)
1. Penalty. A decent penalty. Not quite in the corner and certainly no Harry Kane but a decent pen. This penalty only really validates the Southgate-transformed-the-England-penalty-mentality-banished-the-hoodoo-etc narrative because it went in. But... it did go in and we’re feeling generous. So 4/10.
2. Not really sure about big Eric D. Bit of an enigma really. Looks like he might ask you to step outside after spilling his own pint on you, but you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Then again, he is famously mates with Dele Alli – a known wrong ‘un – so maybe we can judge an Eric Dier by its association. Hedge. 5/10.
3. Mate. 10/10.
4. I mean this is another one where we could just write the score. Dier has a shit game and can barely play a ten-yard pass. Then he steps up from fully 12 ( t w e l v e ) English yards and slots it home. England’s first penalty victory in 12 years, and first ever in a World Cup. It sets up a WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINAL with.... SWEDEN. Yes it’s incredibly parochial and a little bit Brexit, but it’s a 10. It just is.
27/40. It was a penalty when all’s said and done.
DULWICH HAMLET v Hendon
1. Another penalty. Beginning to see why FIFA have resisted this context based approach until now. Academic rigour does not necessarily equal good content. Not a great pen either if we’re honest. 3/10.
2. Good lad this bloke. Check his hat. 10/10.
3. Winning pen. 10/10. These are easy points and we’re sorry. We’ve been in touch with Cambridge Analytica and the rating algorithm will be reviewed. The person responsible has been sent to buy cigarettes in the cold as punishment.
4. 107 years. No, not in fact the amount of time Jose Mourinho believes it takes to have “his own team” on which he can be judged. It’s actually the number of years Dulwich Hamlet have spent in the eighth tier of English football before earning promotion with this goal. 10/10.
33/40. Let down by the format here. If he’d have been given the opportunity to score from further out, we’re sure he would have taken it.
LIVERPOOL v Everton (aka. The Winner)
1. This is a “good” goal, no question. It sums up much of what people love about Mo, dogged determination, a desire to stay on his feet, a strength that belies his wiry frame and some end product™️. But is it even Salah’s best goal of the season, let alone THE best? 7/10.
2. Mo is so lovely that even the Daily Mail (pretend to) love him.* 10/10.
3. Puts them 1-0 up after 42 minutes of a game they go on to draw 1-1. The neutrals wear a vacant expression at best. 4/10.
4. Ok, so it’s the Merseyside derby, but (and no I won’t be reading the Foul Throw inbox after this) that’s only the biggest game of the season for one of these two teams, however much Juergen might go on about “getting it”. This was the goal that took him above Kane in the race for the golden boot and firmly announced his rise as the Premier League’s best player though, so there’s that. 5/10.
*He is in fact a daily reminder of the falsity of their vile and pernicious narratives and I bet they fucking hate him for it. Good on you Mo.
26/40. “Winner”? Pah. We (and our superior ranking system) spit in your face FIFA. Popular votes are so XFactor 2008.
CRYSTAL PALACE v Manchester City
1. This is what a ten looks like. This is the strike that laughs in the face of “he’s almost hit it too well” commentary. This, in actual fact, is what it looks like when you hit it too well. Apparently the meteor that killed the dinosaurs started making a crater before it hit the earth, such was the pressure it exerted. This strike presumably had a similar impact on the net, which was bulging from the moment he hit it, and also piled the pressure on a certain Josep Guardiola. This was a thwack. A thunderbastard, A ten.
2. We can’t remember a huge amount about Andros Townsend to be honest. We may even have forgotten more than we ever knew. He was recently in the news for having a hair transplant though. As one-half of the foul throw team is rapidly approaching max-recession with all the haste of a Goldman-Sachs derivatives trader in 2007, we salute you Andros. Also admitted diving too much back in the day. Fair play. 8/10.
3. This goal put them 2-1 up against all-conquering City in a game they eventually win 3-2. On the face of it, 35 mins in and only leading by one goal probably doesn’t warrant too high a score here. Ultimately though, it clearly stuns City, literally and metaphorically, and the strike deserves some credit for the win. 7/10.
4. Hmmm. The narrative is difficult here. Is the narrative that Pep’s all conquering City aren’t what everyone thought they would be? Because that is a narrative, but it’s a narrative that’s really got fuck all to do with Townsend, Palace, or this goal? Is the narrative an inspiring Christmas story about Townsend trying, trying and trying again from 35 years until he finally succeeded? (like if Home Alone ended as it actually obviously would have done... with a thoroughly ransacked house.) Andros And then, two days before Christmas, finally, a miracle on 34th minute. (It was actually the 33rd but leave off, eh?) Tough one. 5/10.
30/40. Lacking a story.
UTAH ROYALS v North Carolina Courage
1. We’ve watched this goal ten times now while prepping to write about it. And every time we see it, we still haven’t had time to process the tackle before the ball is already nestling in the corner of that net (which is too angular for our tastes but that’s a story for a different day). Like, it’s a great challenge. The sort of challenge that would have the bloke with a season-ticket and a pie-addiction that sits two rows in front out of his seat yelling, “get stuck into ‘em” all on its own. But then she decides to top it off by casually lobbing one in the top corner for good measure. Vinnie Jones and David Silva. 10/10.
2. Fairly standard sportsperson’s social media. Sponsored content, congrats to the team, respect to the fans, thanks for the money Adidas. Seems nice enough. 7/10.
3. 94th minute winner this. If she hadn’t sprung straight back up like Newcastle United circa 2009 she might not have had time to win this game at all. 10/10.
4. Quite a few elements to the narrative here, but none that are entirely compelling – much like a weakly adapted Agatha Christie novel. The “Royals” (Ratcliffe’s side) are an expansion team (not going to explain this, click here or go and watch the NFL for a bit). Their opponents here, North Carolina, were by contrast reigning champions and have had the best regular-season records two seasons running and this loss punctured North Carolina’s 2018 unbeaten record. So it’s a bit David and Goliath. Throw in that this is only Ratcliffe’s second ever goal and you maybe get… a 5/10.
32/40. FWIW, this is our favourite pure goal on the list. It’s real 5-a-side all-action stuff. But we’re not interested in pretty pictures here. GIVE US THE NARRATIVE MEAT.
NEWCASTLE JETS v Melbourne City
1. Right. Let’s get one thing sorted out before we start. This isn’t a scorpion kick. That standing foot is just about off the ground, but it’s not fundamentally involved. It’s been getting a lot of traction on social as a scorpion, but it’s just not. Maybe we could call it an Olivier, in honour of Mr. Giroud who has a definite penchant for them? Anyway, don’t want to get too hung up on definitions. A goal “right out of the top drawer”. 10/10.
2. Seems like a top bloke. The day after the goal, Riley tweeted, “having watched the replay I’ve decided I meant it.” 10/10.
3. Equaliser in the 57th min of a game they went on to win 2-1. 7/10.
4. A goal by a teenager brought in on an emergency-loan at the last second in the play-off semi-finals. I’ll buy into that. It’s a good five minutes, three jokes and a razor ad worth of podcast air time. 7/10.
34/40. Good lad, good goal, wrong time, wrong place.
REAL MADRID v Liverpool
1. Right. First things first. All bicycle kicks come from bad crosses. Should Gareth be penalised for Marcelo’s lazy dinking? Should the actions of the assister affect the judgement of the final goal? Does society exist? It’s 2018 and these are the questions. More than that, there are problems with the technique here. His limbs aren’t as parallel as you’d like. It’s sort of slightly flailing. There’s a yearning to it, beautiful in its own way, but it lacks the clinical confidence of classic Klinsmann or the sun-drenched ease of Ronaldinho. He’s Gareth from Wales and he’s doing his bloody best.
Then again, he’s banged a bicycle kick top bins from 20 yards. 9/10.
2. Gareth’s always seemed like a decent bloke. Got a bit full of himself when he first went to Madrid as the world’s most expensive player, but you can probably forgive him that. 8/10
3. 65 mins in with the score at 1-1 and the opposition the last team to score. Probably an 8/10 this.
4. Champions League final innit? Biggest club competition in the world. For the famed threepeat. Bale forced to come on as a sub because Zidane doesn’t rate him. Scores this goal and the one to seal it. Best of all Ronaldo isn’t the centre of attention and looks like someone’s nicked his favourite Instagram caption. Three months later he decides to fuck off to Juve. This is narrative worthy of its own ten-part series on Amazon Prime. Premium stuff. 10/10.
35/10. He’s only gone and bloody won it. (Florentino Perez was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.) As his former manager and newly crowned Jungle king would say, “the boy done good. He’s a triffic player.”