Gylfi. Sigurdsson’s. Goal.
I know it seems silly to write an entire piece on one goal, but I’ve been having dreams about this goal every night since the match about a month ago, so I just had to write this. Trust me, it was that good.
The Icelandic midfielder brought his pristine hair-do to Everton’s Europa League away match at Hajduk Split and delivered my FAVOURITE footballing moment EVER, of the 24th August 2017 anyway.
The goal couldn’t have been better timed, as the Croatian side had gone 1-0 up just before half-time with a 35-yard stunner from Radosevic. But our magic little Siggy Stardust took inspiration from the words of Irving Berlin and thought ‘anything you can do, I can do better’, and he did just that. And boy, did he do it in style! 13 DAMN SECONDS after the second half started!
So, it all started with a typical Croatian centre-kick. ‘What on earth is a typical Croatian centre-kick, James?’, I hear you ask. Well, a typical Croatian centre-kick is the most boring centre-kick of all time. One that screams ‘a match with more than 1 goal is forbidden in this country’. It is a centre-kick that does not go anywhere near the wingers looking for an attacking move, oh no, it goes all the way back to the centre-half who only has ‘ready, steady, HOOOOOOF’ running through his head, as that was the only instruction his manager gave him pre-match.
Well, all credit to him, the 6ft2″ wall of a defender, Borja Lopez, did just that! He booted the ball up field towards the middle of Everton’s half, with clearly no consideration of direction in mind, as the Spanish defender’s kick resulted in an aerial dual between 5ft9″ Said Ahmed Said and Everton’s towering defender, Michael Keane. There was only one clear winner of this one; ‘step aside, little one’, Keane said to Said… He then proceeded to run, very admirably, 10+ yards from his starting position at centre-half to where the ball was landing, with an Action Man-aura, and then he displayed the most elegant of leaps ever seen by a centre-back. Only then did the powerful defender do something I have never seen done before. Not only did he pull off a bullet-header to win the ball, but he actually managed to NOT touch, alter or check his hair afterwards. I know what you’re thinking, ‘this cannot be so!’, ‘this hasn’t happened since 1969!’. TRUST ME. CHECK THE REPLAY. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. A footballer actually resisted re-positioning his hair (AKA his pride and joy) after the ball touched it. He deserves the match ball just for that, surely.
Anyway, once the young, knight in shining armour, Michael Keane had won this battle, 7 seconds had already gone in the second half! Meaning just 6 seconds later, the best footballing moment(hat has ever happened on August 24th 2017) EVER took place.
Following this MBE-worthy header, the ball landed pretty much on the halfway line (more towards the wing) and fell right in the path of Split’s Hamza Barry, conveniently for him. Well, not convenient enough, it turned out. Hamza greeted his first piece of action of the second half, not with a respectful handshake, but with a slap in the face (with a knife) as if he’d bumped into the person who notoriously eats the last Malteser at every party. The touch of a donkey, to be polite. Seriously though, he’s tried to bring the ball down but it’s bounced again back above his head. Luckily, this allowed sneaky little Gylfi to pounce…
At this point, I was thinking that it’d be impossible to see a goal coming so soon. Actually, I wasn’t even thinking that, I didn’t even have the idea of the possibility of an equaliser in my head at this early stage in the second half. But that criminal offence of a touch by Hamza Barry was no longer in the picture, as he somehow managed to trump his own embarrassing mistake with a horrific decision to attempt to make a pass, on the spin, to a player behind him. I mean, am I missing something here? Are the Croatian clubs miles ahead of us in terms of technology and have somehow managed to create built-in eyes in the back of their players’ heads? Because that would explain this amateur attempt at a pass.
What’s that coming over the hill, is it a Gylfi?
Hamza’s poor touch gave Gylfi enough time to catch up with him. The Icelander read this pass like he reads Bjork’s autobiography every night before bed. You know, Bjork, the second most famous person from Iceland. Anyway, Sigurdsson managed to cut out this pass (to mystery man) with his golden left foot. UPDATE: 10 seconds gone now and the ball is very slightly into the Hajduk Split half. Tick. Tock.
Unfortunately, Gylfi’s ingenious interception didn’t fall too conveniently for him as it bobbled above his head, appearing difficult to bring down considering he had a defender a few yards in front of him which wouldn’t give him enough time to control it. Fortunately, Gylfi is magic. He made the fall of the ball convenient for himself.
It was his left foot which blocked the pass. But it was his right foot that made dreams come true. Nobody in the world saw it coming. Not Ronald Koeman. Not the commentators. Certainly not the goalkeeper. Not even those weirdos who predict things like 9/11. Only Gylfi knew what was going on. Only Gylfi knew that he was about to become the world’s most respected man, officially.
As he blocked the pass, he was not messing about. He didn’t stop for a minute, admiring his interception and reckon he’d done enough to earn his cash for the night, oh no. Gylfi was as determined as a dog with 2 tails. He stormed ahead. And within 3 steps, he became the Ballon D’or winner instantly, it’s not even up for discussion. In fact, I’ve heard that when Lionel Messi saw Gylfi’s goal, he immediately decided he wants a 15ft tall statue of Gylfi Sigurdsson outside his house.
After the interception, (still absolutely zero chance of a goal or even a shot at this point in the match), Gylfi took 3, maybe 4 more steps and as the ball fell back down from his block of Hamza Barry’s pass…
BANG. The cannon is fired.
The Icelandic Superman stretched to meet the ball perfectly as it was landing in front of him, he stretched so far it could’ve easily been mistaken as a yoga move. Then somehow, I don’t even know and God probably wouldn’t know either, Gylfi managed to generate missile-esque power on this slide tackle-looking shot. I mean, he literally ended up on his arse!
He unleashes his terrifyingly powerful right foot, 11 seconds after the restart. Even at this point, the commentators were still going on as normal, talking about Everton’s half-time substitute. The Croatian fans were still swinging their matching scarves around celebrating their goal, from 20 minutes ago… Bless them.
The ball seemed to be in the air for ages. I could already sense the ‘f**k off Gylfi, lad’ mumbles amongst the Everton fans, who understandably thought the ball was just going to fly over the bar (and probably be set on fire by the maniacal Croatians).
Time froze. Could this sneak in? Paul from Birkenhead in the away end dropped his half-time pie as he was intensely fixated on the ball. The birds flying over the stadium hovered around to watch in amazement. The anticipation was so intense that even Donald Trump stopped bringing in discriminatory policies for a couple of seconds.
Well, you can probably guess what happened next. Zombie apoc- nope, even more odds-defying. The ball fell beautifully over the scrambling goalkeeper, like the most elegant snowflake dropping onto your hand. The goalie was left shell-shocked, and turned around and looked back at Gylfi with a ‘you’ve just put me 6 feet under’ kind of glare. The ball and that net were made for each other, and Gylfi Sigurdsson was Cupid. Off they go to the Isle of Fernandos! Meanwhile, Gylfi’s off to the Europa League group stage.
Gylfi doesn’t do normal things, he just tends to fancy a cheeky 50-yarder on a Thursday night. I personally fancy a chippy with a pot of gravy on Thursday nights, but I guess that explains why I’m not a footballer.
Gylfi is magic, Hamza is tragic.
Up the Blues X