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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Van Bommel the long ranger
Van Bommel is mobbed after scoring against England
Van Bommel is mobbed after scoring against England
By BBC Sport Online's Paul Fletcher

Mark van Bommel's awesome strike against England on Wednesday evening was greeted by a stunned silence inside White Hart Lane.

The band stopped, the chants ceased and even Van Bommel himself seemed unable to peel away in celebration.

It was as if everyone inside the ground took a split-second to absorb what they had just seen.

Quite simply, the midfielder's goal belongs to that category of goal which can only be termed 'screamer'.

To use a popular football cliche, the ball was destined to find the back of the net from the moment it left the player's boot.

Josimar (l) scored a brilliant goal against Northern Ireland
Josimar: A brilliant goal against Northern Ireland
Van Bommel's shot, unleashed from 36 yards and timed at 70 miles per hour, swerved around Jamie Carragher, flew past a hapless Nigel Martyn and nestled in the top corner.

The Dutchman may have taken inspiration from Brazil's Roberto Carlos, whose free-kick against France in 1997's Le Tournoi remains the abiding memory of a tournament that England actually won.

At one point, Carlos's left-foot free-kick seemed to be heading comfortably wide of Fabian Barthez's left-hand post.

In fact, a camera positioned wide of the goal seemed to be in danger of imminent destruction, but the ball swerved mesmerisingly towards goal and past a bemused Barthez.

The French goalkeeper had a similar look on his face when Liverpool's Steven Gerrard defeated him from a similar distance in a Premiership match against Manchester United last season.

Breathtaking

Carlos, who claims his shooting power comes from his huge thighs, peeled off to celebrate and children the world over had something new to practise in the play-ground.

The Brazilians have certainly contributed extensively to the history of long-range goals that have taken the breath away.

Josimar ensured that Pat Jennings joined the list of goalkeepers who had no chance when he scored from an impossible angle against Northern Ireland in the 1986 World Cup.

Carlos Roberto left Italian keeper Enrico Albertosi helpless in the final minutes of the 1970 World Cup final to seal victory for Brazil.

And eight years later Nelinho inflicted similar treatment upon Dino Zoff in the Italian goal to score an amazing goal in the 1978 World Cup.

Haan (l) prepares to take a free-kick
Haan prepares to take a free-kick
His shot from the right hand corner of the area bent outrageously before coming to rest in the top corner.

In fact the World Cup in Argentina was packed with sensational long range goals.

Dutch master Arie Haan scored with a 30-yard strike against Italy to put Holland in the final. The most remakable thing about the goal was that it bettered his strike earlier in the tournament against West Germany.

The technically-gifted Dutch have always excelled at shooting from long range, and Nottingham Forest were treated to numerous fine examples by Johnny Metgod.

Signed from Real Madrid in 1984, Metgod's free-kicks are held in even higher regard at the City Ground than Stuart Pearce's.

Arguably Metgod's best goal for Forest came in a match against West Ham in 1986.

Deadly

With the scores locked at 1-1 the midfielder smashed a free-kick from 30 yards that flew past the wall and into the top corner.

Preceding Metgod in the folically challenged but deadly from long range category was Bobby Charlton.

Still England's leading goalscorer, he notched countless times from distance both for Manchester United and his country.

Yeboah celebrating another goal
Yeboah celebrating another goal
It is difficult to isolate one example of the power Charlton generated from his right boot but his goal against Mexico in the 1966 World Cup is perhaps the most famous example.

Firing home a couple of screamers is the perfect way of establishing yourself at a new club, a tactic that work brilliantly for Tony Yeboah at Leeds Uniteds in 1995.

Playing against Liverpool, he volleyed a Tony Dorigo cross with such ferocious power that the ball bounced off the underside of the crossbar and smashed into the grass behind David James.

Just for good measure he scored a thunderbolt of similar quality on the half-volley against Wimbledon and followed that up with another 30 yarder against West Ham.

Paul Gascoigne scored one of the FA Cup's most memorable goals with his free-kick against Arsenal in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

The game was only five minutes old when Gascoigne tried his luck at defeating David Seaman from 35 yards.

Gazza celebrates his goal against Arsenal
Gazza celebrates his goal against Arsenal
So unlikely was a goal that the commentator remarked: "He's not going to have a shot. He is you know."

Gascoigne's shot was hit with such power that Seaman was still diving to stop the ball long after it had come to rest in the back of the net.

But when it comes to FA Cup screamers Ronnie Radford's goal for Hereford against Newcastle in 1972 is perhaps the most famous.

Non-league Hereford knocked their esteemed opponents out of the Cup and Radford's goal, from 35 yards, was eventually voted goal of the season by BBC Match of the Day viewers.

Justin Fashanu is another player for whom a long-range goal brought goal of the season glory.

Fashanu's career faltered after he left Carrow Road for Nottingham Forest a year later but his strike for Norwich against Liverpool in 1980 will live long in the memory.

Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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